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EIGHT years ago the genealogy of my family first ar 
rested my attention, and I began its study. Gradually 
my researches took a wider range, and inspired the 
hope that I might do something more than simply make 
a catalogue of names. I found that members of the first 
four generations had occupied more than ordinary posi 
tions in the communities in which they lived, and had 
rendered important services in the early history of 
the colony and the State. In view of these facts, I re 
solved to attempt brief biographical sketches of the more 
prominent persons of the family, and of those connected 
with it. But in doing so it would be necessary to write 
portions of the history of their times, which would require 
time and patience for the examination of the early rec 
ords, and perhaps involve the necessity of an extended 
course of reading. At my age this seemed difficult of ac 
complishment,- but, as I was favorably situated for the 
examination of the records contained in the public offices 
of the State, and of the City and County of Albany, I re 
solved to employ my leisure in procuring all the informa 
tion possible, and, if need be, leave my notes to be di 
gested by another. 

After three years spent among the manuscript archives, 
I turned to the printed documents procured by the State 
from Holland, England, and France. After these were 



thoroughly studied, I read the publications of the New 
York Historical Society, the Massachusetts Historical Col 
lections, the early records of Connecticut, the archives 
of Pennsylvania, and of New Jersey, and the early stand 
ard histories of New York, New Jersey, and the New 
England States. I then arranged my notes, and, after 
putting aside a large mass of them, I began to write, with 
no expectation of doing more than enough for a thin 
octavo volume ; the present volumes are the outcome of 
my eight years work. Without any claim to be an his 
torian, I have written some fragments of the history of 
colonial times, which I have striven to make accurate and 
trustworthy. Portions of it differ from the accepted ver 
sions, but in all such instances the early records have 
been studiously followed as authority. Having no theories 
to establish, I have had no temptation to misinterpret facts. 
I have rejected traditions and " old mens fables " as un 
trustworthy and illusory, confining myself to the plain 
meaning of the "written word." After all, I am conscious 
that the work is far from perfect ; but it may be of ser 
vice to some one, who may be inspired to do what has 
not yet been done to write a full and faithful history of 
New York during the colonial period. 

Since I have drawn most of my material from the ar 
chives of the State, it may not be uninteresting to glance at 
their history. As the Dutch were always careful to record 
their transactions, it is fair to presume that the early direc 
tors of New Netherland kept records of their administra 
tions, written, as in succeeding administrations, on unbound 
sheets of paper, and filed in appropriate compartments 
of their office. But if so, they are lost, except a few land- 
patents. The records of the colony, as preserved by the 
State, begin with the year 1638, when Director Kieft as 
sumed control over the affairs of New Netherland. Dur- 


ing his government, and that of Director Stuyvesant, 
from 1638 to 1664, the records are apparently full and 
minute, all written in Dutch. After 1664, for more than a 
hundred years, the documents are voluminous, and full cf 
interest to the student of history. We miss, however, the 
letters of the English Government addressed to the colo 
nial governors. Unlike Director Stuyvesant, these Eng 
lish governors believed such communications to be their 
own property, and did not place them in the archives. 

In view of the danger of loss and destruction through 
which these records have passed, it is remarkable that so 
many of them have been preserved in sucli good con 
dition. When Director-General Stuyvesant surrendered 
to the English forces, in 1664, he made it one of the arti 
cles of capitulation, that " all public writings and records 
which concern inheritances of any people, or the regle- 
ment of the church, or poor, or orphans, shall be care 
fully kept." 

Nine years afterward the Dutch recaptured the city. 
Without doubt they were as careful to preserve the old 
records, as well the new, when in their own hands, as they 
were to provide for their safe-keeping when under the 
control of their enemies. But more than thirty years sub 
sequently Lieutenant-Governor Ingoldesby wrote, "When 
the Dutch took this place (New York) several books of 
patents and other things were lost." 

In 1688, New York, New Jersey, and all New England 
were consolidated into one government, with Boston as 
the capital, to which place Governor Sir Edmund Andros 
removed the provincial records of New York. The next 
year, however, the democracy of Massachusetts deposed 
and imprisoned him, and after a time shipped him off to 
England. The consolidated dominion fell to pieces, each 
colony resuming its former independent position. The 


records of New York were not promptly returned, as they 
should have been. Perhaps the Bostonians, being curi 
ous, were holding them for examination with reference 
to the vexed boundary questions. It is fair to presume 
that those in Dutch did not give them much satisfaction. 
Notwithstanding the repeated demands for the surrender 
of the archives, they were held for about three years ; 
nothing short of the king s command was effectual. 
Governor Bradstreet, of Massachusetts, reported to Lord 
Nottingham, in May, 1691 : "We have caused the records 
to be delivered, according to his majesty s command." 

In March, 1741, a fire occurred in the fort at New York, 
which consumed the governor s house, in which the rec 
ords were kept. A month afterward Lieutenant-Governor 
Clarke reported, " Most of the records were saved, and I 
hope very few were lost." 

At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, Governor 
Tryon, becoming nervous for his own personal safety, took 
refuge on board the ship Duchess of Gordon, lying in the 
harbor, and took the records with him. An effort was 
made by the city authorities to recover them, but Tryon 
refused to give them up, pledging his honor that " they 
should be kept in perfect security." How well he kept 
his word of honor we shall see presently. 

Tryon s fears mastered his judgment, and, lest the rebels 
should attack the Duchess of Gordon, a merchant-ship, he 
placed the archives on board the Asia, a man-of-war. When 
some months afterward she was about to sail for England, 
he ordered them to be put on another man-of-war, the 
Eagle. "Since which time," he wrote to Lord George 
Germaine, three years after, " I have never heard what 
was actually done with them." The truth is that they 
were carried to England, and it became the duty of Lord 
George Germaine to look them up. He succeeded in 


finding them, and sent them back. At the close of the 
war they were lodged with the secretary of State at Albany, 
and deposited without much order or care in temporary 
quarters. It was not until the present State House af 
forded them room that they were safe from the elements. 
It would not be singular, if, during these several removals, 
some of them should have been lost. 

For many years they were strangely neglected ; their 
value was not appreciated, and they were left without 
proper care. This, perhaps, was owing in part to the fre 
quent changes of the State officers, a thing that could not 
be avoided. It was not until the administration of Gov 
ernor DeWitt Clinton that they began to be valued as 
sources of history. By his appointment, Dr. Van der 
Kemp, a learned Hollander, translated the Dutch docu 
ments, which were bound into volumes and made acces 
sible to English readers. But the interest awakened at 
this time did not seem to be permanent. 

The late Dr. O Callaghan informed me, that, when he 
was appointed keeper of the document-room, he found 
the records in great confusion ; some of them packed in 
boxes and stored in inconvenient places, while others were 
in heaps on the floor. He said, "that some papers had 
been taken from the files and used by the clerks for pack 
ing books and kindling fires." Perhaps it was in this way 
that at some former time the records of Minuit s and Van 
Twiller s administrations were lost. Written in " Black 
Dutch," to use the words on the cover of a book of Dutch 
records in the county clerk s office, the text seemed like 
birds tracks to the learned clerks, and of no special use, 
except as waste paper. 

Dr. O Callaghan s learning enabled him to understand 
the value of his trust. He began his work methodically, 
assorting and arranging the documents by their dates. 


placing the bound volumes on shelves, and pasting the 
loose papers in books prepared for the purpose. Students 
of our early history are infinitely indebted to him for his 
appreciative care ; and to the various secretaries of state 
for keeping him so many years in that department. After 
his retirement, some others who had charge were riot so 
watchful, and suffered autograph-hunters to abstract many 
valuable papers. 

The present custodian, Mr. Berthold Fernow, is admi 
rably fitted by education and taste for his responsible of 
fice. Fond of history and antiquarian lore, he soon formed 
a high estimate of the records in his charge. Acquainted 
with several languages, including the Dutch, he is well 
fitted to render quick and sure assistance to those who visit 
his rooms for information. 

Two years ago the Legislature wisely transferred these 
records from the State department to the State library ; 
and the regents quite as wisely caused their keeper to 
follow them. In fire-proof rooms, and in charge of com 
petent men, there need be no fear hereafter of losses and 

The early records of Albany City and County are writ 
ten in Dutch, and contained in two distinct offices, the one 
public and the other private. Those in the county clerk s 
office are bound in volumes, and are in a fair state of pres 
ervation. Besides deeds, mortgages, contracts, wills, and 
notarial papers, there are the miscellaneous records of the 
village of Fort Orange under the Dutch regime, and after 
ward under the English. Although important in tracing 
land-titles, and for other purposes, they have never been 
translated by the city. The late Joel Munsell had many 
of them, as also records of the Dutch Church, rendered 
into English, and published them at his own expense. 
These translations are chiefly contained in Munsell s 


"Collections on the History of Albany," and Munsell s 
"Annals of Albany." Because the Dutch language was in 
common use for more than half a century after the Eng 
lish occupation, these books contain many papers of date 
subsequent to that period. Notwithstanding Mr. Mun 
sell s efforts, there is a large mass of matter remaining in 
a little known language. 

When Dr. O Callaghan wrote his " History of New 
Netherland," the papers and books belonging to the Manor 
of Rensselaerwyck were freely offered for his inspection. 
As these contained the earliest records of Albany, he found 
them very useful. His history contains a large amount 
of interesting matter found in those ancient archives. 

The genealogical tables in these volumes were prepared 
with care. Personal interviews, an extensive correspond 
ence, family records contained chiefly in old Dutch Bi 
bles, scores of old wills in % the public offices of Albany 
and New York, the records of the Dutch churches of Al 
bany and New York, the latter as published in the New 
York Genealogical and Biographical Record, and deeds re 
corded in the office of the secretary of state, are the chief 
sources of authority. Professor Pearson s " Genealogies 
of the First Settlers of Albany, and of Schenectady," 
although containing errors which were perhaps unavoid 
able on account of the frequent recurrence of the same 
names, have given much assistance ; as also Winfield s 
" History of Hudson County, N. J.," Bolton s " History of 
Westchester County, N. Y.," and Valentine s " Manual of 
the Common Council of New York City." There are 
doubtless some omissions and errors, but in the main the 
tables may be relied upon as accurate. 

The matter contained in the biographical and historical 
sketches was procured mainly from the records and docu 
ments in manuscript and print, retained in the office of 


the secretary of the State of New York, and in the county 
clerk s office of Albany, of which many original papers 
were translated for my use. Besides these sources, I have 
derived much valuable information from the publications 
of the New York Historical Society, Munsell s " Collec 
tions on the History of Albany," Munsell s " Annals of 
Albany," the " Massachusetts Historical Collections," 
" Colonial Records of Connecticut," " Pennsylvania Ar 
chives," Corwin s " Manual of the Reformed (Dutch) 
Church," O Callaghan s " History of New Netherland," 
Brodhead s " History of New York," and Smith s "His 
tory of New York." 

Mr. Fernow, keeper of the historical records and docu 
ments, rendered the most important assistance, without 
which it would have been difficult for me to proceed with 
my work. He procured and translated several sheets of 
transcripts from the church t records, a large number of 
legal papers from the county clerk s office, and many arti 
cles from the records in his own office. I am deeply in 
debted to him, not only for his helpfulness, but for his 
sympathy and encouragement. For the sake of other del- 
vers among the muniments of the olden time, it is to be 
hoped he will long be retained as chief of the manuscript 
department of the State library. 


ITHACA, N. Y., February 2, 1885. 


b. for born. d. y. died young. 

bp. baptized. d. s. p. died without posterity, or childless. 

m. married. g. grand, or great. 

m. 1. marriage license. dau. daughter. 

d. died. 







The New Village at Esopus, . . . . . 120 

The Half Moon, 152 

The Flatts, 154 

His Will, 162 







THE VERPLANCK FAMILY, . , . . . . . 292 

JOHN COLLINS, ......... 296 




AFTER the discovery of America by Columbus in 1492, 
England and France sent out exploring ships in charge of 
experienced navigators to make further discoveries, but 
for more than a hundred years neither country made any 
systematic efforts to colonize the newly found countries. 
Spain was left almost unmolested to pursue her conquests, 
and to continue the subjugation of the West India Islands, 
Mexico, and parts of South America. Near the middle of 
the sixteenth century, the French made some attempts at 
settlement in Canada and in Florida, but nothing effectual 
was accomplished, on account of the rigor of the climate 
on the one hand, and the interference of enemies on the 
other. In 1603 Champlain made his first voyage to the 
river St. Lawrence, and the next year, after his return to 
France, organized a company for the purpose of settling 
the countries he had explored. The adventurers were a 
motley crowd, made up of noblemen, merchants, priests, 
laborers, and good-for-nothings. They sailed in two ships, 
which touched on the eastern shore of Nova Scotia, 
rounded Cape Sable, penetrated the Bay of Fundy, and 
finally moored at an island in the mouth of the river St. 
Croix, where the emigrants landed and built their huts. 
The next spring they abandoned this spot and removed to 


Annapolis. The venture was not a great success, but it 
was the beginning of a system of colonization which was 
prosecuted under many adverse circumstances for a hun 
dred and fifty years. 

In 1497 England had sent an expedition in charge of the 
Cabots Venetians by birth to discover a northwest pas 
sage to the East Indies. Not succeeding in their search, 
the Cabots sailed down along the coast from Newfound 
land to Florida, and then returned to England. On this 
voyage the English founded their claim to all North 
America. It was held in abeyance for nearly a century. 
No effort was made to effect a settlement or to plant a 
colony until 1583, when Sir Humphrey Gilbert with a small 
fleet took possession of Newfoundland for the British 
crown ; but the colony he attempted to found was soon 
abandoned. Two years later Sir Walter Raleigh, under a 
patent of the queen, sent out some emigrants, who started 
a settlement on the coast of North Carolina, which, how 
ever, was broken up and dispersed the year after. 

Captain Bartholomew Gosnal, with a company of adven 
turers visited the coast of New England in 1602, and land 
ing on one of the Elizabeth Islands, made some arrange 
ments for permanent occupancy, which proved to be 
useless, for when the ship was about to sail on her home 
ward voyage, the embryo colonists were seized with home 
sickness, and re-embarked with their companions. 

In 1606 King James of England, like Pope Alexander 
VI., who divided the New World between Spain and Por 
tugal, gave the country which the Cabots had seen from 
the decks of their ships, to two great commercial com 
panies, the London and the Plymouth ; to the first, the 
country south of the Potomac ; to the second, the territory 
north of the Hudson, graciously leaving the lands betw r een 
in possession of their native owners. 


The next year the London Company commenced opera 
tions, and sent out a colony of one hundred and five souls, 
who established themselves on the James River in Vir 
ginia. They succeeded, after many trials and vicissitudes, 
in retaining their position, and laying the foundation of a 
great State. 

In the same year (1607) the Plymouth Company at 
tempted to establish a colony at the mouth of the Kenne- 
bec River in Maine. Owing to the seventy of the cli 
mate, the hostility of the savages, and their own want of 
pluck, the colonists returned home the next year. Other 
efforts were made in succeeding years with a similar result. 
It remained for a handful of religious enthusiasts, without 
money or patronage, to solve the problem of colonization 
in New England. Driven from England by persecution 
they had found a refuge in Holland. During their ten 
years residence in that free country they had learned 
many useful lessons, which were of infinite service to them 
in after years. They were, however, not contented with 
their situation there, and after mature deliberation re 
solved to remove to America. Detained longer than they 
had expected, having had to land in England to perfect 
their arrangements, after a long and tedious passage over 
the Atlantic they finally reached their destination, and 
erected their altars at Plymouth, in December, 1620. They 
had left their old homes for conscience sake in search of a 
place where they could worship God unawed by popes and 
bishops. They were the pioneers of thousands of their 
co-religionists, many of whom, like themselves, had sought 
refuge in Holland to escape the persecutions of their own 
countrymen, and thence followed them to the western 
wilderness. They were the fathers and mothers of New 

The United Provinces of the Netherlands had thrown 


off the Spanish yoke after a war of forty years, and had 
taken their place as one of the nations of Europe. Their 
territory was small, and their population did not exceed 
two and a half millions. The situation of their country, 
and the necessity of fighting their battles for freedom to a 
large degree on the ocean, made them a maritime people, 
fearless and enterprising. They had sailed on every sea, 
and had fought their enemies in all quarters of the globe. 
Their seamen had been in American waters, and had some 
knowledge of that country. Their merchants traded in 
China and other Eastern countries, and they desired a 
shorter route than that around the southern cape of 
Africa to transport their rich cargoes of spices and other 
Eastern products. They believed, as did others, that 
through or around the continent of North America such a 
route existed and could be found. 

Henry Hudson, an Englishman, who had made two 
voyages, under the patronage of English merchants, in 
search of the northwest passage, now offered his services 
to the Dutch East India Company, convinced some of its 
members that such a passage really existed, and persuaded 
them to make another trial to find it. 

Hudson in the ship Half-Moon arriving on the coast of 
America in northern latitudes, and finding his progress im 
peded by ice, turned to the south. When he reached the 
Chesapeake Bay, he again turned to the north. Sailing 
near the shore he discovered the Delaware Bay and 
sounded its waters. Not satisfied with its indications he 
again put to sea and entered the lower bay of New York, 
September, 1609. Here he lingered several days while 
his boats explored the inner bay and adjacent waters. He 
then passed the Narrows and entered the mouth of the 
great river which now bears his name. Hoping to find 
the northwest passage he proceeded up the river to the 


vicinity of Albany, when becoming convinced that the 
channel he had followed was only a river, and not a water 
course from ocean to ocean, he turned his prow to the 
Atlantic. He was not altogether fortunate in his inter 
course with the natives, which might have resulted in dis 
aster to those who came after him, had they practised 
less prudence and discretion. While lying in the lower 
bay on his first arrival, a sailor on one of his boats return 
ing from an exploring tour was shot in the throat with an 
arrow and died. On his return down the river near 
Manhattan Island, one of the natives was caught stealing 
from the ship, and was shot while making his escape. 
Others, who made hostile demonstrations, were shot on the 
shore. The Indians above the Highlands were friendly, 
visiting the ship, receiving visits in their cabins on the 
land, and showing in various ways their kindly feelings 
toward the strangers. 

Hudson on his homeward voyage landed in England, 
and sent the report of his discoveries to his principals in 
Holland. 1 

Holland was too much occupied with her own affairs to 
avail herself for the time being of this important dis 
covery. She had just secured an acknowledgment of her 
independence, but had not effected a permanent peace, 
merely a cessation of hostilities for the term of twelve years, 

1 There are few historical facts better authenticated than this, yet there 
are some writers, both English and American, who tell us, in an off-hand 
manner, that Hudson made this voyage under an English commission, and 
sold his discoveries to the Dutch. Their only authority is an anonymous 
writer, who published his essay forty years after Hudson s voyage. Sir 
Edward Ploeyden, an Englishman, having been refused a patent for land 
in America by the king, procured one from the Viceroy of Ireland, which 
was void on its face, as the Viceroy had no authority to grant lands in 
America. His claim under the document was not recognized by the Dutch, 
nor by his own government. He is supposed to be the author of this 
essay, which is not recognized by respectable historians as good authority. 


Spain reserving the right to renew the war at the expira 
tion of the truce. The Dutch knew quite well that they 
must be prepared for another struggle, unless it could be 
averted by a prudent administration and a wise conduct 
in regard to foreign affairs. As Spain claimed all North 
America by right of discovery and the gift of the Pope, 
she was sensitive to the interference of others, and above 
all to the encroachments on the part of the revolted prov 
inces. . The government of Holland, guided by the wise 
counsels of Olden Barneveldt, determined to give no 
cause of offence, and abstained from taking any steps that 
might provoke a collision. Besides this, Barneveldt saw 
the necessity in time of peace of making preparations to 
meet a possible and even a probable war. He thought it 
unwise to diminish their small population or their scanty 
revenues in schemes of colonizing a wild and barbarous 
country which would demand many men and a large 
amount of money. Again, the Dutch were attached to the 
country for which they had fought so many years, and 
beneath whose soil were buried their friends, the martyrs 
of liberty. They could go aboard their ships in thousands, 
and sail on long voyages to gather up the treasures of dis 
tant lands with which to enrich their own, hoping for a 
happy return. It was quite another thing to expatriate 
themselves for the purpose of making new homes in un 
known regions, among an uncivilized people, and far from 
kindred. Therefore it was that the government refused 
to incorporate any companies for trade and colonization in 
the newly discovered countries, but permitted the mer 
chants, who had been at the expense of Hudson s voyage, 
to send out ships to traffic with the natives. 

As other merchants wished to participate in the trade, 
and as their interference would materially diminish the 
profits, the States-General, in 1614, granted a charter to 


the former, giving to them, but for three years only, the 
exclusive right of sending ships to the newly discovered 
lands in America within certain limits, then first named 
New Netherland. The new company being secure from 
competition for a time, now took the first step in the di 
rection of a permanent occupation. They built a small 
fort on an island in the Hudson, not far below the pres 
ent city of Albany, and occupied it with their servants 
and agents who were trading with the Indians. As the 
number of ships visiting the waters of New York had 
greatly increased, it became necessary to keep men em 
ployed during the winter in gathering up the furs and 
skins and preparing them for shipment. In the fall of the 
preceding year, two ships, belonging to Amsterdam mer 
chants, were in New York harbor, and having procured 
their lading were making their final preparations for 
their return voyage, when one of them was unfortunately 
burned. Her captain, Adriaen Block, unable with his 
crew to return to Holland on the other ship, resolved to 
make the best of the situation, and to build another vessel 
during his enforced stay. Fie put up some cabins for his 
winter quarters, but whether on Manhattan or Long Island 
does not clearly appear, and began to collect materials for 
a new vessel, while the Indians, who were friendly, sup 
plied him with provisions. From want of timber the 
vessel he built was too small to attempt crossing the ocean, 
although it was well fitted for a coaster. Block therefore 
determined to use her for purposes of exploration, until 
the annual ships from Holland should arrive, and named 
her the Restless. With her he spent the summer and early 
autumn in exploring the waters of Long Island Sound 
and a long stretch of sea-coast. He visited the harbors on 
both sides of the Sound, determined the insular form of 
Long Island, ascended the Connecticut River to the head 


of navigation, explored the Narragansett and Buzzard 
Bays, rounded Cape Cod, and landed at several points in 
Massachusetts Bay. He was the first European to visit 
these parts of the New World, and, as was his privilege, 
he gave to the various islands, rivers, bays, and capes that 
he found on his voyage, names, some of which are still re 
tained. His own survives in Block Island. On his re 
turn to his winter quarters, he met at sea the ship which 
was with him when his own was burned the fall before. 
During his absence she had returned, taken in another 
cargo, and was now on her way again to Holland. Cap 
tain Block placed the Restless in charge of another com 
mander, and embarked on the homeward-bound ship, to 
report his new discoveries. The Restless, true to her 
name, was not idle. The new captain sailed to the south, 
and was the first to explore the country lying on the 
Delaware Bay and River, up to the Schuylkill. The re 
gions thus discovered by Hudson and the Dutch traders 
were named New Netherland, and recognized as the le 
gal dependency of Holland. 

Again an effort was made to secure from the govern 
ment a charter for a company, which should develop these 
territories by trade and colonization, but in vain. The ar 
guments against such a project in the first instance were 
still valid. The trade was tolerated so long as Spain 
made no protests or complaints, and the merchants of 
Amsterdam were allowed to traffic with the natives of the 
country discovered by their agents, but a company, such 
as was contemplated, with its own war-ships, and dele 
gated power, could not be tolerated. 

The little fort, or trading-house, near Albany, was swept 
away by a flood in the spring of 1617. Another was built 
on the west shore of the river, and in the summer a treaty 
was made with the Sachems of the Mohawk and kindred 


tribes, by which ah alliance was formed between the Dutch 
and the Five Nations, made powerful thereby, which lasted 
until the English took possession of the province, and 
which was continued with them. 

Meantime there was an unusual agitation in Holland, 
ostensibly on religious questions, but underlying which 
were grave questions of State. The people were divided 
into two great parties, the one with Olden Barneveldt, the 
great statesman, as their leader, the other with Maurice, 
the Prince of Nassau, at their head. The twelve years of 
truce were about to expire, and it was Barneveldt s policy 
to procure a permanent peace without again involving his 
country in war. He was now seventy years old, and had 
spent most of his life in the service of his country. He 
had been the trusted adviser of William the Silent, and 
after his death had directed the councils of the govern 
ment. He had controlled its policy, which had resulted in 
an acknowledgment of its independence. Prince Mau 
rice, after the death of his father, had become the military 
leader of its armies, and had acquired great renown as the 
greatest general of his age. War was his element, and he 
cared not how often he was called to lead his battalions 
against the enemy. More than this, he aspired to make 
the republic a kingdom, and himself a king. Barneveldt 
stood in the way of his ambition, and had to be removed. 
In religion Maurice was an Arminian. The Gomarists, 
or orthodox Protestants, were largely in the majority, and 
Maurice, although himself an Arminian, took up the Go- 
marist cause from motives of policy. Barneveldt was ac 
cused of heresy by the orthodox, and of treason to the 
State by Maurice. When the occasion was presented for 
seizing him with impunity, he was thrown into prison, 
and soon after tried by a court composed of his enemies. 
The charges were false and frivolous, but he was convicted 


and executed. The country was again involved in a long 
and bloody war, in which the Prince gathered fresh lau 
rels, but he was not permitted to sit on a throne. The 
public conscience was awakened, and a reaction took place. 
Barneveldt was mourned as a martyr, and the Prince was 
hooted by the boys at his heels. 

When it became evident that the war with Spain would 
be renewed, the way \vas opened for the charter of a com 
pany, so often asked and denied. Just before the expira 
tion of the twelve years truce, April, 1621, the great West 
India Company was formed, and incorporated by the 
States-General. It was clothed with extraordinary powers 
and privileges. It could make alliances and treaties, de 
clare war and make peace. Although its field of opera 
tions was limited to Africa, the West India Islands, and 
the continent of America, it could in case of war fight the 
Spaniards wherever found on land or sea. And finally, it 
was permitted to colonize unoccupied or subjugated coun 
tries. To it especially were committed the care and the 
colonization of New Netherland. 

The West India Company, after completing its organiza 
tion in 1623, began its work in New Netherland by erect 
ing a fort on Manhattan Island, and another on the Dela 
ware, and by reconstructing the one at Albany. It sent 
over to be distributed in these places thirty families, not 
strictly as colonists, to settle and cultivate the land, but 
rather as servants of the Company, in charge of their fac 
tories, engaged in the purchase and preparation of furs 
and peltries for shipment. Some of them returned home 
at the expiration of their term of service, and no other 
colonists were brought out for several years. The Com 
pany found more profitable employment for its capital in fit 
ting out fleets of ships of war, which captured the Spanish 
treasure-ships, and thus enabled the Company to pay large 


dividends to its stockholders. In 1626 its agents bought 
all Manhattan Island of the Indian owners for sixty guil 
ders in goods on which an enormous profit was made ; 
and about the same time they purchased other tracts of 
land in the vicinity, including Governor s and Staten 
Islands, on similar terms. The company was now pos 
sessed of lands enough for the accommodation of a large 
population. They were fertile, and only needed farmers 
to develop their richness. But these did not come. Here 
and there a patch of ground was improved, but the acre 
age under cultivation was exceedingly small. The coun 
try remained a wilderness. 

""The company, after years of dalliance, was at last con 
vinced that its colonization scheme \vould be an entire 
failure, unless some means were devised to promote immi 
gration, and consequently agriculture. Without a popu 
lation its province would soon become an expense, instead 
of a source of revenue, for the profitable fur trade could 
not be expected to last indefinitely. Accordingly, in 
1629, the managers took up a new line of action. They 
enacted a statute, termed " Freedoms and Exemptions," 
which authorized the establishment of colonies within 
their territory by individuals, who were to be known as 
Patroons, or Patrons. An individual might purchase of 
the Indian owners a tract of land, on which to plant a 
colony of fifty souls within four years from the date of 
purchase. He who established such a colony might asso 
ciate with himself other persons to assist him in his work, 
and share the profits, but he should be considered the 
Patroon, or chief, in whom were centred all the rights 

1 In 1646 the guilder was accepted in the colony of Massachusetts Bay 
as worth two shillings (Mass. Records, vol. ii., p. 29). As values have 
increased since then about tenfold, a guilder had then a purchasing power 
comparable nowadays to a pound sterling, or to five dollars. 


pertaining to the position, such as the administration of 
justice, the appointment of civil and military officers, the 
settlement of clergymen, and the like. He was a kind of 
feudal lord, owing allegiance to the West India Company, 
and to the States General, but independent of control with 
in the limits of his own territory. The system was a modi 
fied relic of feudalism. The colonists were not serfs, but 
tenants for a specified term of years, rendering service to 
the Patroon for a consideration. When their term of ser 
vice expired, they were free to renew the contract, make 
a new one, or leave the colony altogether. The privileges 
of a Patroon at first were restricted to the members of the 
company, but in about ten years were extended to others. 
The directors of the company were the first to improve 
the opportunity now offered of becoming princes and 
potentates " in the western hemisphere. Anticipating the 
enactment of the " Freedoms and Exemptions," directors 
Godyn and Bloemmaert sent an agent to the Delaware, 
who purchased from the Indians a tract of land on the 
southerly side of the bay, beginning at Cape Henlopen, 
and extending into the country along the bay thirty-two 
miles ; and the next year, 1630, they bought another tract, 
sixteen miles square, including Cape May on the oppo 
site side of the bay. In 1630, the agents of Director Kil- 
lian Van Rensselaer bought a large tract of land on the. 
west side of the Hudson River below Albany, and in July 
following other tracts on both sides of the river, includ 
ing the present site of Albany. In July, 1630, Director 
Michael Paauw bought lands on the west side of the 
Hudson opposite Manhattan Island, and named his ter 
ritory Pavonia. A few months later Staten Island was 
transferred to him, and became a part of his domain. 
For the speedy development of these lands capital was 
required, more than their owners possessed. Accordingly, 


copartnerships were formed with other wealthy directors, 
and thus means were secured to effect the first settlement. 

Godyn and Bloemmaert formed a company, consisting 
of themselves and five other directors, with whom they 
associated Captain David Pieterse De Vries as business 
manager, or resident director, of their colony, now named 
Zwaanendal. De Vries had refused the proffered employ 
ment, unless he was admitted a member of the company on 
an equal footing. His business capacity was recognized as 
equal to capital, and he was admitted. Two ships were 
engaged to convey the colonists, fully equipped with pro 
visions, all necessary agricultural implements, and cattle, 
together with a plant for whale fishing. The company was 
in haste to establish the colony, and, before their prepara 
tions were complete, a Captain Heyes was engaged to take 
charge of this expedition. It was an unfortunate choice. 
For want of experience, or tact, Captain Heyes lost one of 
his ships, taken by the " Dunkerkers," in December, 1630, 
within a week after he left port. Fortunately he saved the 
largest of the two vessels, and with it proceeded on his 
voyage. He arrived at his destination the following April. 

At a creek, called the Horekill, which emptied into the 
Delaware Bay, on the south side, a few miles above Cape 
Henlopen, Captain Heyes landed thirty-two colonists. A 
brick house, enclosed with palisades, was erected for their 
use and protection, when the ship set sail for Holland by 
way of Manhattan. 

The company was not discouraged by the losses of the 
first voyage, but immediately freighted a ship and a smaller 
vessel, of which De Vries took command. Before leaving 
the Texel, the news of another and more serious misfor 
tune than the loss of a ship reached his ears that the 
colonists of the preceding year had been killed by the 
Indians. Not deterred by this sad news, he continued his 


voyage, and arrived at Zwaanendal in December. The 
house and palisades were destroyed, and the bones of the 
murdered colonists were strewn over the ground. De 
Vries, instead of seeking vengeance, procured an inter 
view with the Indian chiefs, and reconciled them to the 
presence of white men. After peace had been effected, 
he built a log house for the men to be employed in the 
whale fishery, and made all needful preparations for their 
work. Being short of provisions, he sailed up the river in 
search of corn and beans, which he hoped to procure from 
the Indians. He was not successful ; and he then went 
to Virginia, hoping to secure a supply of food from that 
colony. On his return to the Delaware, he was met with 
the discouraging report that the whaling business was a 
failure. There were few whales on the coast, and his men 
had not captured enough to cover expenses. He took 
council with his officers and men in reference to the pros 
pect of a successful whale fishery at that point. It was 
decided that this was no suitable place for the business, 
and the sooner it was given up the better. He had 
brought no farmers with him, so that there was nothing 
else to do but to break up the establishment. On his re 
turn to Holland he found his company at variance, and 
this finally resulted in its dissolution. The work of col 
onizing Zwaanendal was abandoned, and the land titles 
were subsequently sold to the West India Company. 

Killian Van Rensselaer also formed a partnership with 
several of his brother directors, among whom was the his 
torian De Laet, for the purpose of planting a colony on 
his lands on the upper Hudson, to be known as the colony 
of Rensselaervvyck. He seems to have had a clearer per 
ception of what was required for such a work than the 
other Patroons. The colony was organized in accordance 
with the charter, and on business principles. Before the 


colonists left Holland they were assigned to specific places 
and duties. Civil and military officers were appointed, 
superintendents and overseers of the various departments 
were selected, and all were instructed in their duties. 
The number of the first colonists was respectable. 
They were chiefly farmers and mechanics, with their fami 
lies. On their arrival, May, 1630, farms situated on either 
side the river were allotted to them, utensils and stock dis 
tributed, houses built, and arrangements made for their 
safety in case the natives should become hostile. Order 
was maintained, and individual rights respected. They 
were not long in settling down, each to his allotted work. 
Year by year new colonists arrived, and more lands were 
bought for the proprietors. In 1646, when Killian Van 
Rensselaer, the first Patroon, died, over two hundred colo 
nists had been sent from Holland, and a territory forty- 
eight by twenty-four miles, besides another tract of sixty- 
two thousand acres, had been acquired. The West India 
Company had changed its policy under the direction of 
new men and no longer favored the Patroons. The Van 
Rensselaers were much annoyed, and even persecuted, but 
they held firmly to their rights under the charter. Their 
colony was prosperous, and their estate in time became 

Michael Paauw sent a few colonists to Pavonia, who 
commenced to till the soil, but, owing to their near vicinity 
to a large tribe of Indians, who were always troublesome, 
and sometimes hostile, the colony did not prosper. In 
less than eight years, Paauw was satisfied with his experi 
ment, sold his rights to the West India Company, and 
ceased his efforts to become a potentate. 

Notwithstanding the changed policy of the " Lords 
Majors/ as the directors of the West India Company in-re 
called, the efforts to plant colonies by private individuals 


were not abandoned. De Vries was one of those sanguine 
and enterprising men, who are not discouraged by mis 
fortune and disaster. After the failure of Zwaanendal, 
he formed a company to locate a colony in Guiana, a 
country then in possession of the West India Company. 
With thirty colonists, he sailed from the Texel, in July, 
1634, and reached his destination in September following. 
He selected his land, settled the emigrants, saw them fairly 
at work, and then started on a voyage of exploration. 
Touching at various points on the coast, he entered the 
harbor of New Amsterdam, June i, 1635. He had been 
there before, but now he devoted some months to a care 
ful examination of the country, and returned to Guiana in 
the winter of 1636. To his infinite chagrin, he found his 
colony broken up and dispersed. Through the intrigues 
of some Englishmen, the colonists had consented to leave 
the plantations and enter their service. The English 
men, with their Dutch servants, had sailed in a ship stolen 
from the Spaniards to some one of the West India islands, 
and there sold their dupes into slavery. Great was De 
Vries indignation. Years afterward, writing an account 
of his voyages, he exclaimed: "The English are a vil- 
lanous people. They would sell their own fathers for 

He returned to Manhattan to repair and refit his ships, 
and while there he requested Wouter Van Twiller, then 
the director-general of New Netherland, to purchase of 
the West India Company Staten Island for him. He ar 
rived in Holland, October, 1636, after an absence of two 
years, poorer than when he left. But his courage was not 
broken. He formed another company, for the purpose of 
establishing a colony on Staten Island. He seemed to 
have had the facility of inspiring others with confidence 
in himself and his projects. With a few emigrants, he 


again set sail for New Netherland, September, 1638, and 
after a tedious voyage of three months arrived safely, and 
settled his people on the Island to open up a plantation, 
while he himself was engaged visiting other parts of the 
province. The next year, his partners in Holland having 
failed to send out another company of emigrants, as had 
been agreed, he abandoned for the present the project of 
a colony, and located a modest farm on the west side of 
the Hudson, a short distance above Pavonia. Here he 
erected a fortified house, farm buildings, and a brewery. 
He now began to prosper. He was just in his dealings 
with the Indians, and they had great respect and affection 
for him. His prosperity, however, was not to last. New 
misfortunes came upon him. 

In the meanwhile, other Dutchmen of property and en 
terprise undertook to form settlements in New Nether- 
land. The Heer Nederhorst, in 1641, procured a title to a 
tract of land extending northward from the bay of Newark, 
including the valley of the Hackensack. His people erect 
ed a block-house not far from the cabins of the Indians, 
of whom the property had been purchased, in which were 
placed a few soldiers. Other buildings were constructed 
for the use of the colonists, who were fairly prosperous. 
In 1643, one of the men working on the roof of a new 
house was shot by a drunken Indian, who took this 
method to obtain satisfaction for a grievance. In the 
bloody war which ensued, the colony was swept away. 
No efforts were made afterward by the proprietor to re 
establish it. 

In 1641 Cornells Melyn, a gentleman of fair position 
and fine estate, arrived from Holland to establish a colony 
on Staten Island, which, he claimed, had been conveyed 
to him by the West India Company, and of which he was 
now the lawful Patroon. His claim was resisted by De 


Vrics, who had a prior title and had begun a settlement. 
During the controversy four of the settlers under De 
Vries were killed by the Indians, who were incited to the 
act, as De Vries alleges, by the intrigues of Director 

DC Vries now devoted his whole attention to his farm 
on the river, which he had brought under a fair state of 
cultivation. His prosperity was not of long duration. In 
the terrible Indian war which broke out in 1643, his 
barns, crops, brewery, and other buildings, except his for 
tified house, were destroyed by Indians who did not know 
him, or of the high regard in which lie was held by those 
living near him. He had opposed with all his ability and 
influence the measures of Director Kieft which occa 
sioned the war, without avail. Involved in the common 
ruin, he was discouraged, and lost all hope for better 
times. As long as the country was governed by the in 
capable men the West India Company chose as its ser 
vants, he believed that it could not prosper. He was now 
too old and too poor to make further efforts to plant colo 
nies, or to retrieve his fortunes, and he resolved to leave the 
province. Returning to Holland, he determined to secure 
a better government for New Netherland, if it could be 
done by truthful statements as to its present condition, or 
arguments that, under competent officers and more liberal 
laws, it would have brighter prospects in the future. He 
doubtless had much influence on the public mind. His 
criticisms penetrated the dull conscience of the Lords 
Majors, for Kieft. was recalled. 

Cornelis Melyn had visited New Netherland in 1639, on 
a tour of inspection. He was so well pleased with the 
country, and its probable future, that he resolved to emi 
grate and establish himself on some of the vacant lands 
near Manhattan. He returned to Holland, procured an 

MELYN. 19 

order from the Company to Director Kieft for a patent of 
Staten Island, and made all needful preparations to take 
possession of his property. He chartered a ship and 
filled it with colonists, implements, and stores. When he 
was thoroughly prepared for the work in hand, he took 
his departure, but had hardly left the coast when he fell 
into the hands of the " Dunkerkers," a band of sea rovers 
having their headquarters at Dunkirk. In due time he 
paid his "ransom money, "and was released. He returned 
to Holland, but having been robbed of all his property he 
could not fit out another ship ; he therefore took passage 
for himself and family in one of the Company s vessels for 
Manhattan, where he arrived in August, 1641. Kieft s in 
structions were imperative, and notwithstanding the pro 
test of De Vries, he issued to Melyn a patent for the whole 
of Staten Island, except one farm reserved for De Vries, 
constituting him Patroon of the island. 

Melyn was a merchant by profession, had a fair educa 
tion, was possessed of more than ordinary abilities, and 
was tenacious of his own opinions, especially when sup 
ported by facts. The loss of his ship and goods was not 
irreparable. His character and business habits gave him 
credit where he was known. Colonists were sent to him, 
as also large numbers of cattle, farming utensils, and other 
supplies. He hopefully began the work before him, and 
prosecuted it with skill and judgment. But Kieft s Indian 
war of 1643, begun without notice to the people in the 
outlying settlements, sadly interfered with his plans and 
prospects. It paralyzed all industrial pursuits, and de 
populated the country around Manhattan. Some settlers 
returned to Holland by the first ships, while others, un 
able to place the ocean between them and the savages, 
sought safety under the guns of New Amsterdam. The 
grain in the fields and granaries was destroyed. The 

20 MELYN. 

people were impoverished. Melyn was ruined with 

Kieft felt obliged by the criticisms of the people, so 
deeply injured by his blunders and incompetency, to con 
voke an assembly of eight men, chosen by popular suf 
frage, as his advisers in this alarming crisis, not because he 
was convinced that he had made mistakes which might be 
corrected, but rather as a means of putting down the out 
cries against him. They deliberated, and made various 
recommendations in the line of a better and more popular 
administration of affairs. Kieft, however, ignored their sug 
gestions, and pursued his own headstrong course. No new 
policy was adopted, no reforms were inaugurated. Melyn 
and his associates, giving up all hope of reform, now ap 
pealed to the Company and the States General. The let 
ters to the former were sent to Kieft for perusal, but he 
was recalled, and Petrus Stuyvesant appointed his suc 
cessor, with instructions to investigate the matters in dif 
ference between him and the colonists. Soon after the 
new director had arrived, the eight men presented their 
charges against the ex-director, with the proofs to sustain 
them. Contrary to all expectations, and in the face of the 
most positive evidence, Stuyvesant acquitted the culprit, 
and convicted his accusers of mutiny and sedition against 
constituted authority. It was a bad beginning for the new 
director, and a blot on his reputation. 

Melyn with some others was heavily fined, and ban 
ished. He returned to Holland. Despairing of obtaining 
justice at the hands of the Company, he appealed to the 
States General, who, after a patient hearing, reversed the 
finding and sentence of Stuyvesant. With their letter of 
protection, and a mandamus ordering the director general 
to allow him to prosecute his business unmolested, he re 
turned to New Netherland. Stuyvesant, having mean- 

MELYN. 21 

time received explicit instructions from the Company, 
treated the mandamus with contempt, and renewed his per 
secutions. Melyn was again forced to leave the country 
and return to Holland. Again the States General inter 
fered in his behalf, and gave him another letter of protec 

While attending, to this business, he induced his friend, 
Baron Van der Capellen, a member of the States General, 
and a man of influence, to take an interest in the colony 
of Staten Island. A ship was purchased and freighted by 
colonists with suitable stores, on which the persecuted 
Melyn again embarked for New Netherland. On arriv 
ing in port this ship was seized by Stuyvesant s orders, 
and with its cargo was confiscated, because on its way it 
had touched at Rhode Island for water. Melyn himself 
was prosecuted, as its owner, for infringement of the 
revenue laws, but was acquitted. His troubles, however, 
did not cease. He was obliged to withdraw to his colony 
to avoid other persecutions, and finally sought protection 
in New Haven. His affairs were in confusion, and he re 
turned to Holland with the hope of saving something 
from the wreck. Through the efforts of his influential 
friends a compromise with the Company was effected. 
He surrendered his title to Staten Island in consideration 
of fifteen hundred guilders with which, and a letter to 
Stuyvesant informing him that all differences and dis 
putes were ended, he again took his departure for New 
Netherland, 1659. 

Adriaen Van der Donck was employed by Killian Van 
Rensselaer as sheriff of his colony, and arrived in Rens- 
selaerwyck, 1641. He was well educated and possessed 
fine natural abilities, but his kind and sympathetic nature 
interfered with the discharge of the duties of aq office 
which required firmness and indifference to suffering. He 


chafed under his stringent instructions, and was reluctant 
to enforce the laws against tenants whose poverty made 
them objects of pity. Differences between himself and the 
other officers of the colony were of frequent occurrence, 
until he became disgusted with his position, and finally 
determined to form a colony of his own. He made ar 
rangements to buy a tract of land at Catskill, and to re 
turn to Holland to engage colonists. His proceedings 
were reported to Patroon Van Rensselaer, who remon 
strated against them as contrary to the oath he had taken. 
He was too conscientious to proceed, and abandoned the 
project. When his term of office expired in 1646, he 
moved to Manhattan, and purchased the land now known 
as Yonkers (i.e., de Jonkheers Landf], which in 1652 was 
created a patrooriship, by the name of Colen Donck. It 
was his intention to settle it with emigrants from the 
fatherland, but the questions which arose in the last years 
of Kieft s administration and the first of Stuyvesant s, so 
occupied his time and thoughts, that several years elapsed 
before he found the opportunity to make a beginning. 
He espoused the side of the colonists, who entrusted 
their cause in his hands as their leader and advocate. 
He drew up the bill of complaints to be presented to the 
Company and the States General, and was chosen one of 
the deputies to present it. 

On the arrival of the deputation in Holland, Van der 
Donck took a leading part in the controversies and dis 
cussions over the affairs of New Netherland, always advo 
cating such reform in the government as would make a 
residence there safe and agreeable. He was a good talker 
and held a facile pen. He so presented the cause of the 
people, that not only the States General, but the Company 
itself were convinced by his arguments that reforms were 
necessary. Several changes for the better were made in 


the administration of affairs. The Company, however, did 
not take it kindly of him ; indeed its managers were 
highly incensed, and took a peculiar revenge. When, at 
the end of two years he had finished his business, he took 
passage on one of the Company s ships for himself and 
family, with a few colonists. After all but himself had 
gone aboard, and the ship was ready to sail, he was de 
tained and not suffered to embark. Separated from his. 
wife and family, he remained a prisoner at large another 
year. The time was not lost. He now found new occa 
sion to strike some heavy blows at the Company, which 
made the Lords Majors regret that they had not let him 
go. But while doing this, he did not lose sight of other 
great interests. He wrote a " Description of New Nether- 
land," recommending it as one of the fairest regions in the 
world, well adapted to agriculture and other industrial 
pursuits. The little book obtained a large circulation, 
awakening among all classes a new interest in the affairs 
of the province. 1 

The Company found it more politic to suppress its pride 
when Van der Donck again applied for a passage. They 
let him go, and bade him God-speed. As to his colony of 
Colen Donck, he had lost precious time. Not much was 
accomplished in the next two years. He died in 1655, 
leaving Colen Donck to his widow. From her it passed 
through several hands, until at last it was purchased by 
Frederick Philipse and incorporated into his manor of 

In 1652, Cornells Van Werckhoven, of Utrecht, a mem 
ber of the government, proposed to plant two colonies in 
New Netherland. His agent bought a large parcel of 

1 A translation of this is published in the Collections of the New York 
Historical Society, Second Series, vol. i., pp. 125-242. 


land of the Indians in New Jersey, and two other tracts 
on Long Island. He himself then came to New Amster 
dam to prosecute the work of settlement. Questions 
arose as to the validity of his titles to land in New Jersey, 
and the larger Jract on Long Island, which were referred 
to the Company. It was decided that he could have only 
one, whichever he should choose. He determined to take 
.neither, but began work on the small parcel about which 
there was no question of title. His death soon after put 
a stop to the projected colony. Five years later, 1657, the 
land was divided into lots, and sold to individuals. In 
1660 there were twelve houses in the settlement, protected 
by a small fort or block-house surrounded with palisades. 
The next year the village was chartered as a township, 
and named New Utrecht. 

The United Provinces were a republic, but the nobility 
were allowed to retain their titles with their estates. In 
deed, the Dutch were rather fond of titles. It was the 
fashion of the day, when addressing a man holding an 
official position, or a nobleman, to give him all the titles 
belonging to him. As I am about to give an account of 
the last effort to establish a Patroon colony, I will name 
the projector with all his titles. 

" De Jonkheer Hendrich Van der Capellen toe Ryssel, 
Lord of Esselt and Hasselt, and Deputy to the States 
General from the principality of Gebre and county of 
Zutphen, province of Guelderland," became interested in 
colonization, as has been before stated, through the efforts 
of Cornelis Melyn. On board the ship which was confis 
cated were seventy of his colonists. Immediately on re 
ceiving the news of this outrageous proceeding (the con 
fiscation of his ship and cargo, before referred to), he 
appealed to the States General for redress. His appeal 
was sustained, and the West India Company was ordered 


to restore the property. Accordingly some arrangement 
was made by which the colonists were transferred to 
Staten Island, where they built their houses and com 
menced the work of planting. The ship, however, was 
not restored, and became the subject of a long and irritat 
ing controversy. 

The colony prospered, and in August, 1655, it numbered 
ninety souls, actively engaged in agriculture. There were 
eleven bouwerics under cultivation, with large quantities 
of grain in the fields and in the barns. The following 
month, buildings, grain, and live stock were swept away 
by the Indians in their famous raid, while the director- 
general was on his expedition against the Swedes in Dela 
ware. Fifteen of the colonists, including the superinten 
dent were killed, and the others fled to New Amsterdam. 
Notwithstanding these heavy losses, Patroon Van der Ca- 
pellen was not discouraged. He sent funds to his man 
ager, with directions to provide for the support of the 
destitute colonists, and to induce them by all means to 
rebuild their houses on the island, pledging himself to 
build a fort furnished with a suitable garrison for their 
protection. The Indians still claimed the island as theirs, 
not having been paid the promised price in full, and in 
1657 Van der Capellen settled their claims, taking a new 
deed, and concluded with them a permanent peace. The 
next year he sent over another party of emigrants, and in 
other ways he was prosecuting the enterprise with skill 
and judgment, when his death, in 1659, put an end to the 
work. His heirs sold their interest to the Company, and 
withdrew from the strife with the Indians and Stuyvesant. 
Their claim for the confiscated ship and cargo, not yc: 
settled after a litigation of ten years, was included in the 

With Van der Capellen terminated all efforts to plant 


colonies under Patroons. It was a vicious system at best, 
but had their projectors been properly encouraged, bad as 
the system was, they would have added largely to the 
population and resources of the province. They were men 
of wealth and good social position. Accustomed to con 
sideration at home, they were restive under the autocratic 
rule of the director-general, whose education and rank in 
society did not equal their own. Collisions were to be 
expected, and were of frequent occurrence. Appeals to 
the Company against the arbitrary and oppressive acts of 
the director were useless, for as a rule it sustained its 
officials right or wrong. It would not be just to lay all the 
blame on Stuyvesant. As a military disciplinarian he ex 
ecuted his orders with the precision of military law. So 
uniformly was he sustained, and so long had been his ten 
ure of office, that he began to regard himself as a sort of 
potentate, and the colonists as his subjects " my sub 
jects," as he puts it. 

Of all the Patroon colonies Rcnsselaerwyck alone sur 
vived. It owed its existence mainly to its management, 
but largely to its situation, remote from the seat of gov 
ernment, and convenient for the Indian trade. 

Colonization by the West India Company was a second 
ary consideration, the fur trade being of the first impor 
tance. Its choice of men to take charge of its affairs was 
not fortunate. All but the last were ship captains, or mer 
chants clerks, unacquainted with administrative affairs, 
and only fitted to superintend the purchase and shipment 
of furs and peltries. Stuyvesant, the last of their resident 
directors, was the best of the seven who served in that 
capacity. 1 The son of a clergyman, witli a fair education, 
he entered on a military career ; and, having lost a leg in 

1 Ach-iaen Jons, Cornells May, William Verhulst, Peter Minuit, Wouter 
Van Twiller, William Kieft, Petrus Stuyvesant. 


the service of the company, he was selected to govern New 
Netlierland, as the successor of the incompetent Kieft. 

It does not appear that, from 1623 to 1650, the Company 
made any serious efforts to promote immigration, and the 
settlement of its large territories by a producing popula 
tion, but relied for this on the Patroons, whom it ham 
pered in all possible ways. The managers becoming con 
vinced that their policy was not the true one to pursue, and 
that if continued the province must be abandoned, at last 
threw open the doors, and in 1650 invited the "inhabitants 
of the United Provinces, and other neighboring nations, to 
repair to New Netlierland," offering as an inducement, 
"free trade in furs ; free trade with other colonies ; free 
hunting, fishing, and fowling ; free lands." Megapolensis, 
De Vries, Van der Donck, and others, had made the 
Dutch public better acquainted with the climate and nat 
ural resources of the country, showing that it w r as a field 
from which the industrious and the prudent might 
gather untold riches, and where they might find pleasant 
homes for themselves and their children. Emigrants from 
Holland and " other countries " now began to come in 
greater numbers, and New Netherland began to assume a 
more promising appearance. 

There had been, however, a slow increase in the number 
of the inhabitants in and around New Amsterdam. Ever 
since the erection of the fort on Manhattan Island, in 1623, 
adventurers of various nationalities had been coming to 
secure a bit of the famous trade, which had been so rich 
in its results to the merchants who had first opened it 
with the natives. Indeed, the population was made up of 
people from various quarters of Europe, who, as early as 
1643, spoke eighteen different languages. It was not large, 
but gradually increasing. 

A few families of the Walloons, in 1624, built their cot- 


tages on Long Island, and began the cultivation of the lands 
they had secured, the women working in the fields, while 
the men were engaged in the service of the Company. 
These were the first settlers of Brooklyn. They were 
joined in time by a few others, until there were enough 
to be incorporated as a village. The numbers were not 
large, for Brooklyn, nearly forty years afterward, con 
tained only " thirty-one households, and one hundred and 
thirty-four souls." 

In 1636, Amersfoort, now Flatlands, L. I., began to be 
settled. Director Van Twiller and a few others cleared 
some farms, on which were settled their overseers and la 
borers. The name, Amersfoort, was taken from a town in 
Guilderland, where Olden Barneveldt was born, and from 
which many of the colonists had come. Its growth was 
very slow, for it was not incorporated until 1654. 

Permission was given to thirty-five families from New 
England, 1642, to settle at Vreedland, now Westchester. 
The celebrated Mrs. Ann Hutchinson and family were 
among the settlers. She and a few others were living 
there when the Indian war of 1643 commenced. Having 
received no hint of Kieft s intentions, they had made no 
preparations to protect themselves. They fell an easy 
prey to the tomahawk and scalping-knife. Mrs. Hutchin 
son and all her family, except a little granddaughter, were 

The same year that Mrs. Hutchinson removed from 
Massachusetts, and took up her residence at Vreedland, 
under Dutch protection, Lady Moody and other English 
families settled at Gravesend, L. I. They were attacked 
by the Indians the next year, but, having constructed some 
defences, they succeeded in repelling the assault. Graves- 
end had a healthy growth, and was chartered as a town 
ship in 1645. 


Rev. Francis Doughty was a preacher at Cohasset, in 
New England, but because of some doubtful expressions in 
a sermon he was rudely expelled. He came to Manhat 
tan " to secure a happy home." A patent was granted to 
him and his associates for a tract of land at Mispath, near 
Newtown, L. I. Doughty and others, to the number of 
eighty, occupied these lands in 1642. Had it not been for 
the war of 1643, this would have become a thriving colony. 
But it was broken up and dispersed. Differences between 
Mr. Doughty arid the director soon after arose. Doughty 
became tired of the controversy, and, abandoning the en 
terprise, removed to Maryland. 

Another English settlement was made at Heemstede in 
1644, the projectors having obtained a liberal patent from 
Director Kieft for a large tract of land extending from the 
sound to the ocean. The village attracted inhabitants 
and prospered. The people, however, were not contented 
with their broad acres, for twelve years afterward they 
secured a title to another large tract, and immediately 
commenced its improvement. The latter village was 
named by Stuyvesant Rust-Dorp (Quiet Village), now 

Some emigrants from New England began the settle 
ment of Flushing in 1645, and of Newtown in 1652. In 
the latter year the Dutch occupied Flatbush. The latter 
village did not flourish at first, because the Indians were 
troublesome, alleging that they had not been paid for their 

Some French Protestants first settled Bush wick in 1660. 
The village grew so rapidly that, in two years afterward, 
two block-houses or forts were erected to protect it from 
the Indians ; and there were forty men able to bear arms. 

There were now on the west end of Long Island ten 
towns or villages, five of which were Dutch, so called 


because their population was chiefly Dutch ; lying east of 
the Dutch towns were five townships occupied by people 
from New England, and hence called English towns. 

The English towns were mainly settled by persons who 
had been banished from New England because they held 
religious opinions at variance with the orthodox creed, or 
by others who had voluntarily come for the same reason. 
The government of New Netherland was more liberal, 
and tolerated all religious sects, as was the practice in 
Holland. Here they found a refuge from persecution, 
having liberty of worship according to their convictions 
and belief. In after years, when the solution approached 
of the question as to which nation should hold and oc 
cupy the country known as New Netherland, the Dutch 
or the English, their national pride proved stronger than 
their religious faith. They joined their old oppressors to 
conquer the people who had given them asylum and 
protection. Meanwhile, two other settlements within the 
Dutch jurisdiction had been made by orthodox New 
Englanders, one on Long Island at Oyster Bay, the other 
in Westchester. For a long while these were debatable 
ground, Connecticut claiming them to be within her 
territory, according to the division line made in 1652, Stuy- 
vesant claiming them by authority of the same agreement, 
and backing up his claim with the sword. He sent some 
troops, and enforced submission. 

The northern part of Manhattan Island, by its situation 
on the river and the fertility of the soil, offered induce 
ments to settlers. Individual farmers occupied the lands 
at an early day. It was settled as a village, named 
Haarlem, in 1658, and two years later contained twenty- 
five families. 

On the west side of the Hudson River, opposite New 
Amsterdam, after the Patroon, Michael Paauw, had sur- 


rendered Pavonia to the Company, efforts were made to 
keep up a settlement, but with little success, for as the 
Indians were always treacherous, the few farmers who 
were induced to settle there were always exposed to de 
struction. The settlement was wholly destroyed in the 
war of 1643 > an d again in the Indian raid of 1655. Those 
who escaped the massacres were induced to return after 
peace was established, and in 1658 formed a village near 
Communipaw, protected by a block-house and palisades. 
It was incorporated in 1661, with its own magistrates and 
other civil officers. It became a thriving place, and was 
the first permanent settlement in New Jersey north of the 

A few of the colonists of Van de Capellen returned to 
Staten Island after the destruction of their property in 
1655, and rebuilt their homes. They were re-enforced a 
few years later by a small company of Waldenses and 
Huguenots. They fortified themselves with a small 
wooden fort, occupied by a garrison of ten soldiers, and 
were now safe from further Indian surprises. 

North of New Amsterdam there were no villages or 
hamlets until you reached Esopus, or Kingston, on the 
west bank of the Hudson. The Company claimed that a 
fort had been erected there in 1614. It may have been a 
station for the collection of furs, as there was an easy 
path through the valleys to the Delaware River, thus 
communicating with the Indian tribes in that neighbor 
hood. Fort or trading-house, it was soon abandoned, and 
remained a solitude until 1652, when, because of its 
large extent of rich agricultural lands not in the hands 
of the Patroons, some independent farmers, who hitherto 
had been tenants, removed to that promising region, after 
purchasing their lands of the Indians, and began work as 
free men. Three years later they were panic-stricken by 


the fate of the farming settlements around New Amster 
dam, and, abandoning their all, fled with precipitation to- 
Fort Orange. When order was restored they returned and 
resumed their occupations. In 1658 the population con 
sisted of seventy persons, old and young. Living on their 
farms at considerable distances from each other, they 
were an easy prey to hostile savages, and, being threat 
ened with extermination, they sent for the director-gen 
eral, who obliged them to concentrate into a village forti 
fied by block-houses and palisades. The country was well 
adapted to agriculture, and had it not been for the Indians, 
there would have been very soon a large population. 

The colony of Rensselaerwyck had not suffered materially 
in the wars of 1643 and 1655, which had been so disastrous 
to the lower portions of the province. The alliance of 
"peace and good-will," which had been made with the 
Iroquois in 1617, had been kept in good faith by both par 
ties to the compact, and as the Mohawks held the river 
tribes in subjection, they stood as a wall of defence to the 
Dutch. None of the neighboring tribes dared molest them. 
Until the English came into possession, and awakened the 
jealousies of the French in Canada, the colonists pursued 
their usual occupations without fear of an enemy. They 
had occupied the lands along the river from Troy to Beth 
lehem, living as securely in their isolated houses as 
though they were in their native land. In 1661, a com 
pany of them purchased of the Indians, in the name of 
Arent Van Curler, the great plain of Schenectady, and 
commenced the settlement of that town. In 1664, the 
colony, including Fort Orange and Schenectady, had a 
large and prosperous population of tradesmen and farmers. 

The more liberal administration of New Netherland, 
begun by the Company in 1650, together with the diffusion 
of a better knowledge of the country, influenced a larger 


immigration of freemen, traders, artisans, and farmers. 
They came in order to better their condition in life ; some 
to return home after making a moderate fortune ; others 
to make the country their permanent home and lay the 
foundations of large estates. Men of this character con 
tinued to come, even after the province had become Eng 
lish. But the population at the best was not large, only 
about eight thousand in all New Netherland in 1664, 
nearly one-half of whom were in New Amsterdam, then a 
village of thirty-four hundred inhabitants. 



THE colonization of that part of New Netherland lying 
on the South, or Delaware Bay, forms an interesting chap 
ter of early history. Three years after the West India 
Company had built Fort Nassau, on the east side of the 
river, some four miles below the present city of Philadel 
phia, Director Minuit withdrew the soldiers who had been 
stationed there, together with the few colonists residing 
at that post. The country was left in its primitive condi 
tion, except that the traders of New Amsterdam continued 
to visit its waters to exchange their merchandise for furs. 
The Company did not renounce its claim of ownership, 
and commissioned some of the traders to look after its in 
terests, and warn off all intruders. 

About the time that Fort Nassau was built, William 
Usselincx, who had been largely instrumental in the or 
ganization of the West India Company, conceiving his 
services were not appreciated, visited Sweden, and suc 
ceeded in enlisting the sympathies and the active co-opcra- 


tion of the great Gustavus Adolphus in the project of 
forming a Swedish Company for establishing a colony in 
America. The charter of a Swedish West India Company 
was granted in 1626. But the king was so occupied with 
the war of Protestant emancipation that he had no leisure 
to give this matter his personal attention. It was left to 
his successor to carry out his designs. Twelve years after 
the prospectus of the Company had been issued Queen 
Christina renewed the charter, and appointed Peter Min- 
uit managing director. Minuit had not given satisfaction 
to the Dutch West India Company in his administration 
of New Netherland, and had been recalled. Knowing the 
deserted condition of the Delaware country, and the in 
ability of the Company to hold and occupy so large a ter 
ritory, he accepted the Swedish offer without hesitation. 
Indeed, it was probably through his representations after 
his recall that Queen Christina was induced to revive her 
father s project. 

With tw r o ships laden with provisions and other sup 
plies requisite for the settlement of emigrants in a new 
country, and with fifty colonists, Minuit sailed from Swe 
den late in 1637, and entered Delaware Bay in April, 1638. 
He found the country as he had left it, without white in 
habitants. Minqua Kill, now Wilmington, was selected 
as the place for the first settlement, where he bought a few 
acres of land of the natives, landed his colonists and stores, 
erected a fort, and began a small plantation. He had con 
ducted his enterprise with some secrecy, that he might 
avoid collision with the Dutch ; but the watchful eyes of 
their agents soon discovered him, and reported his pres 
ence to the director at New Amsterdam. Kieft had just 
arrived, and it became one of his first duties to notify a 
man who had preceded him in office, that he was a tres 
passer, and warn hLn off. Minuit, knowing that Kieft 


was powerless to enforce his protest, being without troops 
or money, paid no attention to his missive, and kept on 
with his work. 

Three years before this, George Holmes, of Virginia, 
with a few adventurers, had seized the vacant Fort Nas 
sau, and attempted a settlement. One of his company 
becoming dissatisfied with his treatment, deserted, and 
going to Manhattan gave notice of the intrusion. Direc 
tor Van T wilier acted promptly, and despatching an armed 
vessel arrested Holmes and his party without resistance, 
carrying them as prisoners to New Amsterdam. 

By force of circumstances a different policy had to be 
adopted in reference to the Swedes, who had a ship of 
war and trained soldiers to defend them, in which respect 
they were stronger than the Dutch. Director Kicft know 
ing his own weakness, could only fulminate a protest, and 
let the matter rest, until the Lords Majors supplied him 
with the means of pursuing a more vigorous policy. But 
the Company, now strangely indifferent to what was after 
ward considered of vital importance, simply instructed the 
director that if he could not persuade the new intruders to 
leave voluntarily, he should live with them on neighborly 
terms. Minuit had come to stay, and only laughed at the 
arguments of the Dutch. He erected a fort of consid 
erable strength, named Christina, for the Swedish queen, 
and garrisoned it with twenty-four soldiers. Understand 
ing the character of the Indians, he conciliated their sa 
chems by liberal presents, and secured the trade. In a 
few months he was enabled to load his ships with peltries 
and despatch them to his patrons, as an earnest of what 
might be expected in the future. Minuit did not return 
with the ships, but remained to prosecute the work he had 

The colony had to all appearance a promising future. 


The people were happy and contented. Within two years, 
.however, their prospects were clouded. The Company 
had failed to send out another ship with supplies and 
merchandise for the Indian trade. Provisions failed, trade 
fell oft", and sickness began to prevail. With starvation in 
the face, their pleasant excitement was subdued. Rather 
than perish with hunger, they began to turn their eyes to 
the Dutch, as the only available source of relief. They 
resolved to remove to Manhattan, where they could at 
least have "enough to eat." On the eve of " breaking 
up " to carry their resolution into effect, succor came from 
an unexpected quarter. The fame of New Sweden, as the 
colony was called, of its fertile lands and profitable trade, 
had reached other nations of Europe. In Holland itself 
a company was formed to establish a settlement under the 
patronage of the Swedish Company. The close corpo 
ration and the selfish regulations of the Dutch Company, 
shutting out, as they did, enterprising men not members 
of their corporation, alienated the sympathies of large num 
bers who sought to share in the profits of the commerce 
of the New World. The Swedish Company now opened 
the way for the gratification of their wishes. They were 
not slow to embrace the opportunity, and freighted a ship 
with colonists and supplies, which fortunately arrived 
when the Swedish colony was about to be broken up, and 
the country abandoned. The spirits of the Swedes were 
revived. The new-comers supplied them with food and 
the means to prosecute their trade. Their projected re 
moval was indefinitely deferred and they continued their 
work with fresh vigor. The Dutch colonists were located 
in a settlement by themselves, only a few miles from Fort 
Christina. They were loyal to the Swedes, rendering 
them material assistance in their traffic with the natives, 
so much bo that the trade of the New Amsterdam inei- 


chants with the Indians in that section of the country was 

In the autumn of the same year, 1640, Peter Hollaen- 
dare, who had been appointed deputy governor of the 
colony, and Moens Kling, arrived from Sweden with three 
ships laden with provisions and merchandise for the 
straitened colonists. They also brought out a consider 
able company of new emigrants. New Sweden was now 
well established and prosperous. More lands were 
bought, and new settlements were made. Peter Minuit 
died the following year. He had been the soul of the en 
terprise, and by his prudent management had conducted 
its affairs with eminent success. His death was felt to 
be a severe loss, but in the deputy governor they found a 
successor of equal prudence and skill in superintendence. 

This year (1641) the English again attempted to secure a 
foothold. Now it was a party from New Haven, who, by 
an agent, bought some lands on both sides the river. 
They erected trading-houses on the Schuylkill, and in New 
Jersey at Salem. Director Kieft, learning of their inten 
tions, had warned them not to settle within New Nether- 
land, and extracted a pledge that they would not occupy 
lands in his jurisdiction. But regardless of their pledges 
and the rights of their neighbors they prosecuted their 
undertaking. The Dutch had previously occupied Fort 
Nassau with a few soldiers, determined to protect as far 
as possible the interests of the West India Company 
against all intruders. Kieft finding that he had been de 
ceived by the smooth words and fair promises of his New 
Haven friends, determined to have redress by the expul 
sion of the adventurers from the places they had occupied 
with twenty families. The next summer he equipped two 
vessels, and sent them to commissary Janscn at Fort 
Nassau, with instructions to compel the English to depart 


in peace. They were not to be injured in person or prop 
erty, but go they must, taking their effects with them. 
Jansen obeyed his orders. He first visited the English set 
tlement on the Schuylkill, and placed the settlers, who 
made no resistance, on board his vessels. Thence he pro 
ceeded down the river to Salem, and by a gentle pressure 
persuaded the people to come aboard with their house 
hold goods and effects. He conveyed them all, first to 
New Amsterdam, and thence to their old homes. Jansen 
was heartily supported by the sympathy, if not by the 
active co-operation, of the Swedes. The rivals could 
strike hands and act together against the people of other 
nations, who thrust themselves into a country which they 
now, as by common consent, occupied together. 

In 1642 John Printz, a cavalry lieutenant, was appointed 
governor of New Sweden. He was instructed to protect 
with all possible care the varied interests of his jurisdic 
tion, which was defined as extending on the southerly side 
of the Delaware from the ocean to the falls of the river 
(Trenton), and inland several miles ; to be friendly with 
the Dutch at Fort Nassau, and on the Hudson River ; to 
the Dutch colony near Fort Christina he was to be es 
pecially kind and courteous ; to shut up the river by forts, 
to control the fur trade, and to promote religion. Printz, 
for a man who weighed four hundred pounds, was un 
usually active in the discharge of his duties. With two 
ships loaded with supplies for the colony, and with a few 
emigrants, he arrived at Fort Christina in February, 1643. 
Pie established his headquarters at Tinicum, where he 
built a fort and a government house, and named the 
place New Gottenbttrg. To the new capital were attracted 
the leading families of the colony, because there they 
found society and security. The next year he erected 
Fort Elsingburg at Salem Creek, in New Jersey, whence 


the English had been removed the year before. This fort 
was designed to shut up the river, but it was out of his 
territory, and gave offence to the Dutch, with whom he 
had been instructed to be on neighborly terms. They 
considered it a hardship and disgrace to be obliged to 
strike their flag in their own waters, and ask permission of 
a foreign power to pursue their voyage. 

Printz was master of the situation, and gave little heed 
to the remonstrances of his rivals. Elsingburg shut up 
the river to all-comers, and Printz w r as enabled without 
difficulty to load his ships with valuable cargoes, and de 
spatch them on their homeward voyage. With soldiers to 
occupy the forts, and a large stock of goods, he absorbed 
the Indian trade. If the Dutch sent a vessel up the 
Schuylkill with Indian goods, it was driven away. If 
they attempted to go above the falls in search of mines, 
or to establish new trading posts, the Indians were incited 
to oppose them. Commissary Jansen was not equal to 
the emergency, and was recalled. Andries Hudde, a land 
surveyor, and a man of known integrity, was appointed to 
command at Fort Nassau, but without soldiers to en 
force his orders. In his dealings with Printz he had his 
hands full, finding him more troublesome than he had ex 
pected. Some Dutchmen bought lands on the west side 
of the river for the purpose of planting, but were driven 
off by the Swedes. Hudde, acting under instructions, 
bought the site of Philadelphia, and took possession by 
erecting a pole with the Company s arms attached. It 
was promptly removed by the orders of Printz. Hudde 
remonstrated in a despatch sent by one of his servants. 
Printz treated it with contempt, throwing it to the ground. 
He threatened the messenger, who ran for his life. Other 
Dutchmen, who had occasion to visit New Gottenburg, 
were roughly treated, and returned home, "bloody and 


bruised." Printz finally declared non-intercourse with 
the Dutch, the people with whom he had been directed to 
preserve a good understanding. The West India Com 
pany did not furnish its director with the means to resent 
the insults effectually, and compel respect. For a time 
he waged a war of words, and finally left the controversy 
to be settled by his successor, who on his arrival began to 
protest. But his missives were treated with no more re 
spect than those of his predecessor. 

Printz built a fortified house on the Schuylkill, in order 
to control all the trade from the interior coining through 
that river. The Indians divined his policy, and wishing a 
competition in the market, resolved to thwart it. They 
accordingly visited commissary Hudde at Fort Nassau, 
and by offering terms for the land, induced him to build 
Fort Beversrede, not far from the Swedes fortified station. 
They protected him while the fort was in course of con 
struction, and gave notice to Printz to remove his build 
ing, because they had sold the land to the Dutch. With 
their own hands they planted the flag of the Prince of 
Orange, and ordered a salute to be fired in its honor. 
Printz sent an officer with twenty men to destroy the 
work. The Indian chiefs again interposed, accusing the 
Swedes of being interlopers on land they had never pur 
chased, and presenting so bold a front that the soldiers, 
after cutting down a few trees, retired completely discom 
fited. Printz, determined not to be foiled, shortly after 
ward embraced a favorable opportunity, and erected a 
large house directly in front of the Dutch fort, only a few 
feet from its main entrance, shutting out even a sight of 
the river. The Dutch commissary, from the want of men, 
was utterly unable to resist these aggressions. At last he 
was reduced to so low an estate that lie had only six men 
to occupy the two forts, Nassau and Beversrede. 


Since his arrival at New Amsterdam Director Stuyve- 
sant had had full employment for all his time and energies. 
He had been frequently urged to visit the South River, but 
had found no leisure to give its affairs any personal atten 
tion. The English to the east and on Long Island had 
absorbed nearly all his attention. After long negotiations 
with them he effected a provisional settlement, known as 
the treaty of Hartford. The pressure being lightened, he 
resolved the next year to visit the southern parts of his 
government. Early the next spring it seemed for a time 
that he would be disappointed in his contemplated visit. 
The New Haven people, seemingly determined to occupy 
some portion of the Delaware country, again set on foot 
an expedition to effect a settlement. A band of fifty per 
sons embarked on two vessels for the promised land. Sail 
ing through the Sound as the safest route, they were 
obliged to pass under the guns of the fort at New Amster 
dam, hoping by kind words and a plausible tale to secure 
permission to pursue their voyage. Stuyvesant was not 
deceived, but divining their purpose, he arrested their 
further progress and sent them back the way they came. 
The authorities of New Haven were annoyed, but for the 
time were content to submit. 

Director Stuyvesant had been instructed by the Company 
to effect some arrangement with the Swedes by which a part 
at least of the trade on the Delaware might be preserved. 
With the urgency of their affairs, and the frequent appeals 
of their servants in that country, he could defer his visit 
no longer. Having disposed of the New Haven adven 
turers so quickly, he had time to make suitable prepara 
tions for his interview with the Swedish governor. With 
an imposing suite, including the clergyman of his church, 
and with much display, he arrived at Fort Nassau, in July, 
1651. In the first diplomatic congress of the two govcr- 


nors, attended by their councillors and secretaries, Director 
Stuyvesant presented the claims of the Dutch to the terri 
tory in dispute, founded on first discovery and prior occu 
pancy, and then requested his opponent to produce the 
evidence on which the Swedish title was based. Printz re 
plied that he was not prepared to produce the documents, 
for they were among the archives at Stockholm, but said 
that their " limits were wide and broad enough." They 
were in fact at that time very narrow, consisting of only a 
few acres of land around Fort Christina. The Swedes 
had neglected to procure Indian titles to any extensive 
tracts of land, and Printz was then negotiating with some 
sachems for the purchase of the lands his colony occupied. 
Stuyvesant was not satisfied with the results of the con 
gress, and on being told by an Indian chief that the Swed 
ish governor was then trying to buy Indian lands, he in 
vited all the sachems to a grand council. Although the 
lands had been repeatedly bought and sold since 1630, 
these sachems claimed all the territory around the bay and 
on the river. Again the old farce was repeated. They 
now sold to the West India Company all the lands on both 
sides the river down to the bay, except the few acres 
around Fort Christina, which they confessed they had sold 
to Peter Minuit for the Swedes. Director Stuyvesant 
secured a solid advantage over his adversary by the pur 
chase of the lands, and the consequent friendship of their 
original owners. He saw that Fort Nassau was of no con 
sequence with the Swedish forts Christina and Elsinburg 
between it and the ocean. Accordingly without delay he 
erected another fort on the west side of the river on lands 
recently purchased, situate a few miles below Fort Chris 
tina, and named it Fort Casimir. Against its erection 
Printz mildly protested, but suffered the work to be com 
pleted without any interruption. In subsequent interviews 


with Stuyvesant he was conciliatory, promising to preserve 
the peace, and hereafter to live on friendly terms with his 
Dutch neighbors. How this " change of heart " was pro 
duced is left to conjecture. He may have been mortified 
at his ill success in the purchase of lands. It may have 
been that his treasury was running low, and that he no 
longer had the means to carry out his designs. It may 
have been, that the Dutch director whispered some con 
vincing arguments to his ear. Whatever the cause, he 
was thereafter inactive in discharging the duties of his 
office, keeping his promise to preserve the peace, and giv 
ing no occasion for complaints. After two years of inac 
tive life, he resigned his commission, and returned home 
by way of Holland, bearing a private letter from Stuyve 
sant to the West India Company. 

Director Stuyvesant, in his report of this visit to his super 
iors, was reticent, and did not make them fully acquainted 
with all that occurred. In their acknowledgment, they 
say, " Time will instruct us as to the design of the new 
Fort Casimir, and why it received this name." However, 
there is little doubt but that the visit and the fort seriously 
interfered with the progress of the Swedish colony. When 
Printz retired, he left his son-in-law, John Poppegaya, in 
charge of the government. The affairs of the colony had 
fallen, and. there was so much discontent among the colon 
ists, that they were again disposed to submit to the Dutch 
for their protection. Overtures were made to Stuyvesant 
to receive them into his jurisdiction, but they were de- 

1 Casimir is a Polish name, but it had also been naturalized in Sweden 
in the time of King Sigismund. The fort, however, was probably named 
after Ernst Casimir of Nassau-Dillenburg, the nephew of William the 
Silent, Prince of Orange, who died in 1632 as Stadtholder of Friesland 
and Groningen. Friesland was the native province of Stuyvesant, who 
probably owed to Prince Casimir the beginning of his military career. 


clined until the proposal had been laid before the Com 
pany for its instructions. 

It was now ten years or more since the Swedish colony 
had received any reinforcements. The apathy of the gov 
ernment as to its welfare and prosperity was unaccount 
able. Many of the colonists had died, and some had re 
moved to other sections of the country, seeking the means 
of living, or greater security for their families. Of the 
soldiers brought over by Printz there w r ere only sixteen 
left, giving four men to each of their four fortified places. 
If the mother country did not intend to abandon the 
colony altogether, it was time she took some steps to en 
large and strengthen it. Such was her determination. 
Johan Rysingh was appointed lieutenant-governor, with 
instructions to extend the limits of the colony on both 
sides the river, to build another fort below Christina, to 
induce the Dutch to vacate Fort Casimir ; but if this could 
not be done, to avoid hostilities and preserve their friend 
ship, lest the English seize a favorable opportunity of sub 
duing both parties, and taking possession of the territory. 
The new lieutenant-governor, with two hundred colonists, 
accompanied by a clergyman and a strong military de 
tachment, arrived in the Delaware, May, 1654. In disre 
gard of his explicit instructions, his first act was to seize 
Fort Casimir, and, changing its name to Fort Trinity, he 
occupied it with his own soldiers. By the absence of 
Printz, he became acting governor, and in July following 
reported to his government, that while at the time of his 
arrival there were only seventy persons in New Sweden, 
there were now three hundred and sixty-eight, including 
the Dutch. The immigrants and soldiers brought over by 
himself account for the large increase. 

When the report of Rysingh s transactions reached New 
Amsterdam, Director Stuyvesant was so much occupied in 


preparations to defend himself against an expected attack 
of the English, that he had no time to attend to affairs on 
the Delaware. Fortunately an accident placed him in a 
position to open negotiations with the Swedish authorities. 
By a mistake of the pilot, a ship, laden with stores and 
merchandise for the Swedes, entered the lower harbor of 
Manhattan, and before she was able to extricate herself, 
Stuyvesant seized her, and bringing her up to the city, 
transferred her cargo to the Company s storehouses. He 
then notified Governor Rysingh, and invited him to New 
Amsterdam, that they might try to settle their differences. 
Rysingh declined the invitation, and contenting himself 
with a protest in the name of the ship s husband suffered 
the inconvenience of the loss. 

The managers of the West India Company expressed 
themselves in indignant terms at the audacity of an officer 
of a friendly power, and instructed their director "to do 
his utmost to avenge this misfortune, not only by restor 
ing things to their former condition, but also by driving 
the Swedes at the same time from the river, as they did 
us." They also wrote that they were preparing a ship 
with munitions and men to aid him in the undertaking. 
They were urgent that Stuyvesant should at once begin 
the enterprise without waiting for the man-of-war, lest the 
Swedes should strengthen themselves with reinforcements. 
The director was not in a position to follow this sugges 
tion, but was obliged to defer his revenge to another season. 

The next summer the promised ship arrived from Hol 
land, bringing new instructions to the director. He was 
now advised, that after he had captured the forts and 
brought the Swedes under subjection, he might leave 
them in possession of Fort Christina, with some grounds 
for gardens and tobacco plantations, but that they must 
swear allegiance to the Company. 


Stuyvesant was ill when these orders were received, and 
unable to give personal attention to the business, but he 
directed all necessary preparations to be made, so that the 
expedition need not be delayed. A day of fasting and 
prayer was appointed, recruits were mustered, volunteers 
enrolled, ships were chartered and loaded with supplies, 
pilots engaged, money (wampum) borrowed. On Septem 
ber 5, 1655, he had so far recovered, that after the morn 
ing s sermon he went aboard, and the fleet hoisted sail for 
the Delaware. 

The expedition, for the time and circumstances, was not 
insignificant, consisting of a squadron of seven ships with 
seven hundred men, including the man-of-war De Waag, of 
thirty-six guns, and two hundred men furnished by the 
Company. The fleet, on September yth, anchored before 
Fort Elsingburg, which was found deserted. Here Direc 
tor Stuyvesant remained, organizing his forces and making 
his final arrangements for an attack on the upper forts. 

When everything was in perfect order he hoisted an 
chor and sailed up the bay. He passed Fort Trinity in 
silence, and landing a detachment of his soldiers above to 
cut off retreat, he summoned the garrison to surrender. 
No resistance was made, and the next morning the thirty 
men who kept the fort laid down their arms, and were 
sent prisoners of war to Manhattan. The colors of the 
West India Company were hoisted above the ramparts, 
and the old name of Casimir restored. 

Governor Rysingh, at Fort Christina, determined on re 
sistance and threw up new works of defence. Stuyvesant 
was prepared for this emergency, and, landing his troops, 
surrounded the Swedes, whom he again summoned to lay 
down their arms. The demand being refused, he erected 
batteries and placed his guns in position. On September 
24th he demanded a surrender within twenty-four hours. 


Rysingh, after consulting his officers, and becoming con 
vinced he must in the end be defeated, surrendered the 
fort on favorable terms. 

In this whole affair Stuyvesant showed himself to be 
possessed of more than ordinary military abilities. He 
organized the expedition so as to ensure success, and he 
accomplished his purpose without firing a shot, or the 
loss of a man. The Swedish colony was no more, and 
New Sweden passed into history. A few of the colonists, 
unwilling to take the oath of allegiance to the Dutch, re 
turned home or removed to other places. Rysingh re 
fused the tender of Fort Christina as a residence for him 
self, or for his countrymen, on condition of swearing 
fidelity to the Dutch. He returned home by way of New 
Amsterdam. The major part of the Swedes took the 
oath and remained in the homes they had won from the 
wilderness. In 1660 they numbered one hundred and 
thirty families. Nine years after their surrender to the 
Dutch, they not unwillingly submitted to the English, 
looking upon them as their avengers. 

Director Stuyvesant had little or no time to reorganize 
the government, being summoned back to New Am 
sterdam by the Indian raid, and the serious disasters it 
had occasioned. He left one of his officers in charge, but 
as soon as he had established order in New Amsterdam, 
he appointed Jean Paul Jacquet vice-director of the South 
River. Furnished with ample instructions the vice- 
director arrived at Fort Casimir in the following De 
cember, and entered upon duties which were anything but 
inviting and pleasant. The fort was in need of extensive 
repairs. The population was greatly diminished, and 
much dissatisfaction existed both among whites and 
Indians. Dirk Smith, whom Director Stuyvesant had left 
in charge, had not been prudent or fortunate in his ad- 


ministration. He was immediately sent to New Am 
sterdam, to give an account of his stewardship, and the 
Indians were appeased with presents. In the quarrels 
and litigations of the whites, Jacquet gave so little satis 
faction by his decisions, that almost every suit was ap 
pealed to the director-general. His perplexities were 
increased by the arrival of the ship Mercurius, with one 
hundred and thirty emigrants from Sweden. By conni 
vance of the resident Swedes she ran by Fort Casimir 
in the night to some place above, and landed some of her 
passengers and a part of her cargo. This was in contra 
diction of the articles of surrender, contrary to their oath 
of allegiance, and might lead to other serious complica 
tions. On receiving this intelligence Stuyvesant sought 
the advice of his council, who were unanimous in their 
opinion that the ship and her passengers should be sent 
back to Sweden. As this advice squared with Stuyvesant s 
own views, the ship was first brought to New Amsterdam, 
and thence sent back to Sweden. But Jacquet s troubles 
were not at an end. The merchants trading on the 
Delaware were dissatisfied, and besieged the Director 
with their complaints. Personally he had confidence in 
the vice-director, but was constrained to call him home, 
putting the affairs of the Company in charge of Andries 

The West India Company was now on the verge of 
bankruptcy. . There was peace with Spain, and its men-of- 
war could no longer prey upon her treasure-ships. Its hold 
on Brazil had been shaken off, its dividends had ceased, 
its shares without value in the market. To save its affairs 
from utter ruin, the directors had resorted to the expedient 
of expelling the Swedes from the Delaware, that the way 
might be opened for the disposal of a part of their posses 
sions for a money consideration. Immediately on hearing- 


the result of Director Stuyvesant s operations against the 
Swedes, they began negotiations with the city of Am 
sterdam for the sale of a portion of their territory on the 
Delaware River. The merchants of Amsterdam by their 
ventures in all parts of the known world had become rich 
as princes. Their enterprise and success were proverbial, 
and the admiration of all Europe. Now a new field 
seemed to be opened to their ambition for the acquisition 
of greater wealth. The burgomasters of the city, some of 
whom may have been shareholders of the Company, 
promptly accepted the offer of the directors, and bought 
the land on the west side of the Delaware River, extend 
ing from the bay to Fort Christina, including Fort 
Casirnir, at the cash price of seven hundred thousand 
guilders (equivalent then to about seventy thousand 
pounds sterling). 

The merchant princes of Amsterdam, rich as they were, 
were not insensible to the claims of humanity, especially 
when presented in behalf of their coreligionists. Holland 
was full of Protestant refugees from all parts of Europe. 
They were so numerous that it was difficult for them to 
find the means of support. Just now the Waldenses of 
Savoy sought refuge in Amsterdam, fleeing from the 
persecuting bigotry of their prince. They came in large 
numbers, as the English non-conformists had come some 
fifty years before, and as the French Huguenots came 
twenty years afterward. They were exceedingly poor, 
and were supported in part by charity, the city itself 
having contributed large sums from the public treasury. 

Perhaps the burgomasters were not wholly influenced 
by the spirit of gain, when they made their purchase of 
the Company, but may have thought it a fitting time to 
establish another republic on the shores of the New 
World, as a home for Protestant wanderers. Whatever 


the motive may have been, they now owned a large tract 
of fertile land, and proposed to settle and develop it. . The 
undertaking was not suffered to drag, but was promptly 
executed. They closed their business with the Company 
July 12, 1656, and on the 25th of December following 
they despatched three ships, containing one hundred and 
sixty-seven colonists, furnished with provisions and every 
thing essential to make a permanent settlement. 

Prudent and painstaking as these merchants were in all 
their enterprises, they sometimes overlooked points im 
portant to success. In this instance they had procured 
ships of sufficient capacity for the comfortable accommo 
dation of the emigrants ; they had provided tools, agri 
cultural implements, and cattle, with a full year supply 
of provisions ; they had selected a resident director of 
known ability ; they had carefully drawn up a form of 
government, and had furnished .instructions for all con 
tingencies ; but they had omitted to employ skilful navi 
gators, pilots acquainted with the coasts and harbors of 
the country to which they were going. This was a grave 
mistake, and the source of great disaster. Soon after 
leaving port, the ships were separated in a storm. Prince 
Maurice, the largest, having on board Director Alrichs 
and most of the colonists, was left to pursue the voyage 
without her consorts. On the night of March 8th, owing 
to the ignorance of the pilots, she was stranded on a shore 
to them unknown. After an anxious night the passengers 
were landed safely on a sand-bank without wood or water. 
From some Indians, who chanced to discover them, they 
learned that they were on Long Island, near what is now 
known as Fire Island Inlet. Alrichs employed one of the 
Indians to carry a message to Director Stuyvesant, asking 
for assistance. Several yachts and boats were at once en 
gaged, with which Stuyvesant himself proceeded to the 


scene of the wreck, and rescued the colonists, with some 
portion of the cargo. The ship broke up, and the heavy 
articles of her lading were a total loss. Meantime the 
other vessels had safely arrived in port. At New Am 
sterdam the colonists with their effects were transferred 
to another ship, which arrived at Fort Casimir, now 
named Fort Amstel, April 25, 1657.. 

The buildings and fort were not of sufficient capacity to 
accommodate the soldiers with their families, much less 
the colonists. It was the first duty of Director Alrichs to 
provide comfortable quarters for his people, but he was 
embarrassed in the work for want of the tools which had 
been lost in the shipwreck, and of skilled mechanics, who 
had not been sent. He managed, however, to build some 
log-houses covered with reeds, which were sufficient to 
protect their occupants from the elements. While thus 
engaged, there was little time for planting, and husbandry 
was neglected. With the exception of a few vegetables 
grown in the gardens, the emigrants depended for food 
on the city s storehouse, which was not at all times fully 
supplied. Provisions were scarce, and were procured 
with difficulty. Murmurings and disaffection were heard 
on every hand. In the midst of all his troubles Alrichs 
preserved a brave heart, and went on with his improve 
ments, building a hundred log-houses during the year. 
The next season a large amount of land was put under 
cultivation, but the weather was unfavorable, and the har 
vest was a failure. What with scanty food and exposure, 
the poor people began to fail a prey to an epidemic sick 
ness, which entered every household. The colony s phy 
sician and other leading citizens were among the first vic 
tims of the disorder. In all, there were over one hundred 
deaths in the little community. 

During the summer there had been a considerable acces- 


sion of colonists, who had not brought supplies sufficient 
even for themselves. In September, another ship with 
one hundred emigrants arrived, after a long and wearisome 
voyage, but brought no provisions. There were now 
"over six hundred souls " in New Amstel, as the colony 
was called. Every new arrival only added to the general 
distress. Winter was fast approaching. Rumors began 
to circulate, that the English of Maryland were preparing 
to assert their claim to the territory. With starvation at 
the door, and the title to their lands in doubt, a panic 
seized the people, and scores of them left for other places. 
Fifty fled to Maryland in search of food and safety. Be 
fore the winter fairly set in, the population of New Am 
stel was reduced from six hundred souls to scarce thirty 

Another cause of anxiety sprung up from an unexpected 
quarter to add to Director Alrichs perplexities. In the 
arrangement between the city of Amsterdam and the West 
India Company, the latter retained its jurisdiction over the 
new colony. The director-general and council were the 
supreme authority in all New Netherland. The Company 
changed the name of Fort Christina to Altona, where an 
agent, who reported to Director Stuyvesant, was stationed. 
The Company was also entitled to a revenue tax on all im 

It was now charged against Director Alrichs, that he 
had omitted an important part of the oath given to each 
of the colonists, that relating to the superior authority of 
Director Stuyvesant and his government ; and that he had 
connived at smuggling to the prejudice of the Company s 
revenue. Alrichs met these charges with another that 
Stuyvesant, envying the prosperity of the city s colony, 
held out inducements to its people to remove to New Am 
sterdam. The quarrel increased in bitterness, until, by 


advice of the council, Director Stuyvesant visited Altona, 
"to correct abuses." As the loyalty of the Swedes had 
been suspected, he made it his first business to call them 
together and administer the oath of allegiance anew, tak 
ing it for granted that they had forgotten the old one. 
After this ceremony, he inquired into matters relating to 
New Amstel, and "found many things there not as they 
ought to be." He extorted from Alrichs a promise that 
the irregularities complained of should be corrected. To 
the Swedes he granted some new privileges, among them 
the choice of their own civil officers. He appointed Wil 
liam Beekman vice-director and commissary to protect the 
interests of the Company, with residence at New Amstel. 
Among his instructions was one directing him, in concert 
with Alrichs, to purchase the lands on the southerly side of 
the bay from Cape Henlopcn to the river, that they might 
be conveyed to the city s colony. Although these lands 
had been purchased twice before, it was cheaper to buy 
them again than to create discontent among the new 
claimants by occupying them without their consent. 

The rumors with reference to the intentions of Mary 
land were not without foundation. Governor Kendall 
wrote to Alrichs, claiming that the country on the 
southerly side of the Delaware was included in Lord Bal 
timore s patent, and that he had sent Colonel Utie, one of 
his council, to warn him to depart. It transpired that Col 
onel Utie had been instructed, before he delivered the 
message, to visit some of the leading men of the colony, 
and " insinuate that if they submitted to Fendall they 
would find easy conditions." 

Colonel Utie arrived in New Amstel in September. 
After spending several days among the people, "insinuat 
ing the easy conditions," he asked for an interview with 
Alrichs. An audience was granted, when he delivered his 


credentials and demanded that the Dutch should leave the 
country, which was clearly within the patent of Maryland. 
True, if they submitted quietly to Lord Baltimore s juris 
diction, they might remain, otherwise they must depart. 
The choice must be made without delay, for it was Gov 
ernor Kendall s intention to take advantage of their pres 
ent weakness, and to drive them aw r ay by force of 
arms, unless they consented to become his quiet subjects. 
Beekman, as representative of the Company, was pres 
ent, and was not a little surprised at the haughty tone and 
manner with which Utie delivered the ultimatum of Lord 
Baltimore s governor. The next day Alrichs and Beek 
man made a written reply in the form of a protest against 
the presumption of Kendall in claiming what did not be 
long to him. Utie simply repeated his former demands, 
and left their presence. Beekman was indignant at the 
course pursued by Kendall s ambassador, and advised that 
he and all his suite should be arrested and sent prisoners 
to Stuyvesant. Alrichs objected to the proposition, fear 
ing serious results even among his own people ; and Utie 
was allowed to depart. 

Beekman could not believe the story put in circulation 
by Colonel Utie, that Kendall was about to march against 
them with an army of five hundred men, but Alrichs gave 
it credence, and despatched a messenger to the director- 
general informing him of the situation. Stuyvesant res 
ponded by sending sixty soldiers in command of Martin 
Crieger, an experienced officer, believing this small force 
of regulars would inspire the inhabitants with courage to 
make an effective defence in case they were attacked. 
Professing not to be satisfied with the negotiations as con 
ducted by Alrichs and Beekman with Colonel Utie, and 
that in consequence the affairs of the colony might be 
suffering, he commissioned his secretary Van Ruyvan and 


Captain Criegcr, to make a thorough investigation, and 
suitable arrangements for the " protection and mainten 
ance " of the rights of the city s colony and of the Com 

Director Alrichs was sick with a fever when the com 
missioners called upon him in the latter part of Septem 
ber, 1659, and was unable to render them assistance in 
their work. They spent a few days among the people, 
inquiring into the causes of the decay of the settlement, 
recently so flourishing, and then addressed a sharp com 
munication to Director Alrichs and his council, to which 
an answer equally sharp was returned a few days after. 
The only result of this investigation was increased bitter 
ness and alienation. Stuyvesant s motives in sending the 
commissioners were commendable, but his selection of the 
men was not fortunate. They possessed but little tact or 
discretion, and put on all the airs of superior authority, 
much to the disgust of the city s colonial officials. In 
stead of healing divisions they widened the breach. 

As the West India Company had guaranteed the title to 
the lands they had sold to the city, it now became the 
duty of the director-general to investigate the pretensions 
of Maryland, and vindicate the Dutch possession. He ac 
cordingly despatched an embassy to Governor Fendall, 
ostensibly to reclaim the fugitives from New Amstcl, and 
to protest against the interference of Colonel Utie, but in 
truth to quiet the claims of Lord Baltimore to the country 
of the Delaware. In his choice of an ambassador he was 
more fortunate than in his late appointment of commis 
sioners. He selected a very able man for the delicate 
business now in hand, Augustien Heermans, with whom 
was associated as secretary and interpreter another quick 
witted man, Resolved Waldron. 

The embassy crossed from the Delaware to the Elk 


River, and thence, in a leaky skiff with an Indian guide, 
down the Chesapeake to the Patuxent, where, at St. 
Mary s, was the seat of government. The negotiations 
with the governor were conducted with some formality, 
but in a friendly spirit. Heermans gave him points relat 
ing to their respective claims which were new and sur 
prising. Fendall produced a copy of Lord Baltimore s 
patent, in which it was clearly expressed that, although 
the boundaries therein described might include the Dela 
ware, they only were intended to cover such territory as 
was occupied by savages, and not that in possession of Chris 
tians. Kendall s confidence in the validity of his patron s 
claim was shaken, and declaring that he was only vindi 
cating his rights, he tacitly acceded to the proposal of 
Heermans, that the question of boundaries should be re 
ferred to their respective governments. It was so referred, 
and Delaware was not included within the limits of Mary 
land, but in time became one of the free and independent 
States of the Union. The papers submitted by Heermans 
to Fendall, and the journal of his journey and negotiations, 
mark him as a man of superior intelligence and ability. 1 

1 Augustine Heermans was a native of Bohemia. After his mission to 
St. Mary s, he proceeded to Virginia, "to try his hand," he says, "at 
stirring up dissension between that province and Maryland." After his 
return he wrote to Lord Baltimore, and offered to make a map of Mary 
land in consideration of the grant of a manor. In this way Heermans 
took up five thousand acres between the Elk River and the Delaware, 
which he subsequently increased to twenty thousand or more, and named 
his grant Bohemia Manor. He received free letters of denization so that 
he could hold land, and in 1666 he and his family were naturalized by the 
first act of the kind passed in the province. The Labadists Bankers and 
Sluyter acquired such an influence over Ephraim Heermans, the son of 
Augustine, that they obtained a conveyance of a large part of the manor. 
The property was subsequently partitioned among the members of the sect. 
See Maryland, by William Hand Browne, pp. 98, IOO, 134, and Journal of 
Dankers and Sluyter, in Memoirs of the Long Island Historical Society, 
vol. i., pp. xxxi-xlvi. 


The city s colony had proved a greater expense to Am 
sterdam than the burgomasters had provided for. They 
had not anticipated the severe epidemic, the threatened 
famine by the loss of crops, the desertion of so many of 
the colonists. There was a growing distrust of the ability 
and integrity of their chief officer, whose administration 
was secretly misrepresented by some who had sworn to 
aid him in his responsible duties. They began to despair 
of the ultimate success of the undertaking, and finally 
made overtures to the Company to take the colony off 
their hands. The offer was declined. 

It was now a question with the burgomasters whether the 
colony should be abandoned to its fate, and the city lose the 
large amount expended, or whether the work should be pro 
secuted with renewed vigor. If the first alternative should 
be adopted, the promoters would be ruined in public esti 
mation, and their political advancement jeoparded ; if the 
latter, there would be need of more money, which could be 
raised only with great difficulty. At this juncture, letters 
from Hinoyossa and Van Sweringen, two of the colonial 
officers, were received. They questioned the wisdom of 
Vice-Director Alrichs, and even expressed doubts of his 
integrity, and suggested various improvements in the 
government At the close of the year, Dominie Willius, a 
pastor beloved by his people, their sympathizing adviser 
in trouble, their consoler in sickness, " went to his rest," 
followed a few days later by the worn-out and secretly 
maligned director. 

Ilinoyossa, by the death of Alrichs promoted to the 
head of the government, sent his friend, Van Sweringen, 
to Holland, that he might more perfectly explain to the 
burgomasters their present condition, and his views in 
reference to the changes lie had suggested. On the 
strength of Van Sweringen s re pro sen tat ions, the West 


India Company modified its former contract greatly to the 
advantage of the city. Encouraged by these concessions, 
the managers renewed their work with more hopefulness. 
New plans of colonization were proposed, and public at 
tention was again called to the advantages of New Amstel 
as a home for the industrious and enterprising. 

After Director Alrichs and Mr. Beekman, by the ad 
vice of Stuyvesant, had purchased for the third time the 
territory on the southerly side of Delaware Bay, and an 
nexed it to the colony, a small fort with a garrison was 
established at the Horekill, the place where Godyn s colo 
nists were murdered in 1630, more as a precaution against 
the designs of the English than for any other purpose. 
The land so purchased and occupied it was now proposed 
to utilize for the settlement of a peculiar religious sect 
which had recently sprung into existence. A company of 
Mennonites had sought a temporary asylum in Holland, 
and now proposed to remove to New Amstel. The city 
granted them a tract of land at the Horekill, and with it 
gave a large amount of money and provisions. They 
formed themselves into an association with a curious con 
stitution, and removed to the promised land. 

Van Sweringen brought back with him a few emigrants, 
and the Mennonites quietly settled on the Horekill. Other 
wise there was little improvement over the old state of 
things. The newly awakened zeal of the burgomasters 
was short-lived, and their colony was allowed to float as 
best it could. Hinoyossa s recommendations had been 
adopted only in part. The colony was yet a fief of New 
Netherland, subject to its jurisdiction. Hinoyossa wished 
it to be independent, and himself the equal of Stuyvesant. 
He was restive in his present position, railing at the di 
rector-general, and at last refused to submit to his advice 
or authority. He quarrelled with Beekman, a man of 


gentle disposition, simply because he represented the gov 
ernment at New Amsterdam, which, as to revenue and 
cases of appeal, was superior to his own. At last the sit 
uation became so intolerable to his imperious temper, that 
he resolved to go to Holland, and personally solicit the 
burgomasters either to obtain control of the whole of the 
Delaware country, becoming independent of the West 
India Company and its director-general or else oblige 
the Company to take back the territory it had sold, and 
assume the direction of the city s colony ; "for," said he, 
" it cannot prosper under the dual government. " This had 
been the burden of his correspondence ; this had sent Van 
Sweringen to Holland ; for this negotiations had begun ; 
for this he determined to work in person. He had asked 
the burgomasters for a permit to leave, but had received 
no reply. He became impatient, and uttered many un 
seemly threats. Without waiting longer for permission, 
toward the close of September, 1662, he announced his 
determination to depart for the fatherland. He went by 
way of Virginia, fearing to take passage at New Amster 
dam, lest the stern old director should arrest him. 

In March, 1663, the directors of Jihe Company wrote to 
Stuyvesant that the negotiations for the transfer of all 
South River to the city were still continued, but that there 
was little doubt that the transfer would soon be made. 
The burgomasters hesitated to close the contract, until 
they had had a personal interview with Hinoyossa, for 
which purpose they had sent a despatch granting him 
leave of absence. Meantime they were preparing to send 
out another company of emigrants. The new colonists, 
numbering one hundred, arrived in July following, and 
were distributed to different points in the colony. 

Hinoyossa, whose impatience had overcome his pru 
dence, had sailed without a permit, and arrived at Amstcr- 


dam in the latter part of June. His glowing report of the 
country, and what advantages to the city might be ex 
pected in the future, in case its connection with the gov 
ernment of the West India Company was dissolved, settled 
the question in favor of an independent colony. " The 
Swedes and Finns," he said, ."with some others, had one 
hundred and ten plantations under cultivation. Besides 
these they had thousands of cattle, horses, sheep, and 
swine. The city s breweries furnished the Marylanders 
with beer in exchange for tobacco at a large profit, which 
trade might be greatly enlarged. Large quantities of furs 
and peltries were annually procured from the Indians for 
duffels and other manufactured articles, paying a hand 
some percentage. The lands were rich, and only needed 
a population to cultivate them to secure abundant crops." 
The eloquent arguments of Hinoyossa convinced the 
thrifty burgomasters. They decided to close the negotia 
tions, and become the patroons of an independent colony, 
owing allegiance only to the States-General. 

On September n, 1663, the managers of the West India 
Company wrote to Director Stuyvesant, " We have con 
cluded to surrender te South River to the city of Am 
sterdam." They gave as reasons for this business transac 
tion, the greater ability of the city to send out emigrants 
to promote population, and thus become a barrier to the 
encroachments of the English on New Netherland from 
that direction. 

The burgomasters seem to have been well pleased with 
Ilinoyossa, and made him vice-director of the colony. 
They had little trouble in procuring colonists. As had 
been the case for over half a century, there were in Hol 
land great numbers of religious refugees from various 
countries, willing to find a home almost anywhere, pro 
vided they were under the protection of a nation which 


would not persecute them for their opinions and belief. 
A ship was chartered, on which Hinoyossa, his council, 
and one hundred and fifty emigrants embarked for the 
Delaware. The colonists were a mixture of different na 
tionalities Dutch, Waldenses, French Huguenots, Ger 
man Protestants, Norwegians, Swedes. The latter had 
not ceased to emigrate because New Sweden had been 
conquered, for they were still desirous of joining their 
friends in a country so inviting because of its sunny days 
and genial climate. They had a prosperous voyage, ar 
riving at New Amstel on December 3, 1663. 

As soon as he learned of Hinoyossa s arrival, Director- 
General Stuyvesant, under instructions, sent him a deed 
of "the said South River from the sea upward as far as 
the river reaches ; on the east side, inland, three leagues 
from the bank of said river ; on the west side as far as the 
territory reaches to the English colony." 

William Beekman was now out of employment. He 
had been a faithful servant to the Company, and the 
burgomasters, appreciating his value, directed their vice- 
director to offer him inducements to remain in the 
colony. Hinoyossa, having quarrelled with him without 
cause, was ashamed to meet him, but employed two mem 
bers of his council to carry out his instructions. It was 
proposed to Beekman, that he could occupy his present 
quarters at Altona, and that he should take some vacant 
lands for cultivation, for which purpose he should be 
furnished with six laborers. Beekman had not grown 
rich in office. He was still a poor man with a growing 
family to provide for, yet knowing the man now in au 
thority, he declined the offer. In a letter to his old chief, 
he said he saw no advantage in becoming simply a 
planter, without any advantages of trade. Besides, " I 
desire to live elsewhere, for I cannot trust Ilinoyossa, 


even though I be . a freeman. I remember the proverb, 

* When one wants to beat the dog, a stick is easily found. " 
Beekman remained in his quarters through the winter, and 
the next summer was appointed commissary of Esopus. 

Director D Hinojossa (thus he now wrote his name) 
went promptly to work reorganizing his government, and 
promulgating new laws and regulations. He prohibited 
private distilling and brewing. These, with the fur and 
tobacco trade, were reserved to the patroons. He made 
arrangements for the removal of the seat of government 
to a place on the river more conveniently situated for the 
overland trade with Maryland, and for the distribution of 
the large number of immigrants now expected from 
Holland. It was the intention of the managers to send 
another company of colonists immediately after the 
director left Holland ; and they had engaged with the 
West India Company to send out annually at least four 
hundred, and thus in the quickest time possible form a 
strong barrier to the English pretensions. What would 
have been the result of their schemes, had time been al 
lowed, it is impossible to tell. It is probable, however, 
that their plans would not have been carried out, nor their 
expectations realized. D Hinojossa had been taken into 
partnership, and the enterprise was to have been prose 
cuted more as a commercial venture than as a systematic 
effort to people the waste places. Farmers and mechanics 
were only wanted to develop the country, and provide 
cargoes for their returning ships. On all commodities 
imported in their own ships for the use of the colonists, 
duties were to be levied to swell the receipts, and add to 
the revenues of Amsterdam. Individual enterprise had 
no encouragement. 

Before this new experiment at colonization could be 
tried, a heavy hand was laid upon the colony, and its 


further progress arrested. We do not learn that any more 
immigrants arrived, or any more ships came into port 
for cargoes of tobacco and furs. D Hinojossa may have 
laid the foundations of his new metropolis, but the super 
structures were never reared. English designs against 
New Netherland could not be kept entirely secret, and 
floating rumors interfered with the active prosecution of 
the work which had been undertaken. All too soon these 
rumors became a reality. After the capture of New York, 
in 1664, a part of the English fleet and the land forces 
were detached, under command of Sir Robert Carr, to re 
duce the forts on the Delaware. The work was soon ac 

Carr passed Fort Amstcl, and first sought out the 
Swedes, with whom he was soon on friendly terms. They 
welcomed him as their avenger against the Dutch. He 
then sent his agents among the settlers of New Amstel, 
pursuing the tactics which had been so successful in the 
capture of the fort at New Amsterdam. He promised 
them protection for persons and property, with liberty of 
worship and no interference with their present laws and 
usages. Those who took the oath of allegiance to the 
British crown should have all the privileges of English 
citizenship. The conditions were reduced to writing, and 
signed by several civil officers, after taking the oath pre 
scribed, on behalf of themselves and all the inhabitants, 
whether Dutch or those of other nationalities. When this 
was done, and the colony virtually surrendered, Carr sum 
moned Fort Amstel, occupied by D Hinojossa and a few 
soldiers. The vice-director refused to strike his colors, 
and defied the enemy to do his worst. Without further 
parley the troops were landed, and immediately took the 
fort by storm. The public stores and merchandise found 
therein were the legitimate spoils of the victors. But in 

64 THE END. 

violation of his promises and written stipulations, Carr 
confiscated the property, real and personal, of the people, 
bestowing it on his friends, or holding it for himself. 
Even the non-combatant Mennonites at the Horekiliwere 
not spared, but were stripped to the " last naile." 

The friendship of the Swedes and Finns for their Eng 
lish avengers was not lasting. They soon found the new 
government and laws more oppressive than the old. In 
1669, Maurice Jacobs, alias John Binckson, commonly 
called the Long Finn, claiming to be the son of the 
Swedish Count Konigsmark, set up the standard of revolt. 
He succeeded in winning the sympathies, if not the active 
co-operation, of large numbers of his countrymen. The 
rebellion was soon suppressed. The Long Finn was ar 
rested and brought to trial on the charge of treason. He 
was convicted, and though considered worthy of death, he 
was sentenced to be branded in the face, to be transported 
to Barbadoes, and sold into slavery for the term of four 
years. Thirty-eight of his confederates were fined in va 
rious sums, aggregating, with costs, to nearly seventeen 
thousand guilders. 

When the Dutch squadron recaptured New York, in 
1673, and the old government was re-established, the colony 
on the Delaware voluntarily offered its adhesion, and again 
became a part of New Netherland. At the treaty of peace 
between Holland and England, in the next year, all of New 
Netherland was finally surrendered to the English, and the 
mixed nationalities on the Delaware once more became 
the subjects of the British crown. But the territory on the 
west side of the bay was not included in the patent to the 
Duke of York, and the people were without a legal gov 
ernment. After William Penn had secured his patent for 
Pennsylvania, he attempted to gain control of the country, 
and for a time it was under his jurisdiction, but was not 


consolidated with his province. Finally, the people were 
allowed to set up a government of their own, as a distinct 
colony, which, after seventy years, joined its twelve sister 
colonies in the Declaration of Independence. 



IN less than twenty years after Captain Block had ex 
plored Long Island Sound and the adjacent waters, the 
West India Company voluntarily contracted the eastern 
bounds of New Netherland from Cape Cod to the Connec 
ticut River. From the first discovery the Dutch recog 
nized in the natives a kind of title to the lands, and always 
procured the consent of the owners, by purchase or other 
wise, before occupying them. Acting upon this policy, 
Director Van Twiller bought a parcel of land named Kic- 
vet s Hoeck, at the mouth of the Connecticut River, on 
which he raised a pole bearing the national arms, thus 
giving notice to the world that the country was under the 
jurisdiction of Holland. 

The next year, 1633, by an arrangement with the Pequod 
nation, who had recently conquered the Mohegans living 
on the west side of the Connecticut, and with the chief of 
the subjugated tribe, he bought a tract of land now the site 
of the city of Hartford, on which he built the Fort of Good 
Hope, and garrisoned it with soldiers, farmers, and traders. 
It was a condition of the sale and purchase, that this one 
spot should be neutral ground, where Indians of different 
tribes might meet for traffic, without fear of annoyance. 
The prospects of the new settlement for trade and agri 
culture were at first promising, but were soon clouded by 


ii party of Englishmen from New Plymouth, who proposed 
to build a trading-house higher up the river. Sailing by 
the Dutch fort, the Plymouthers landed at Windsor, and 
erected a house prepared in advance, surrounding it with 
palisades. The protests of the Dutch commander were 
in vain. 

In the winter following an exploring party from Water- 
town, built a few cabins at Wethersfield. They were the 
pioneers of a large emigration from Massachusetts, con 
sisting of three churches, with their pastors and teachers, 
who formed settlements at Windsor, Wethersfield, and 

About the same time a company formed under a charter 
to the Earl of Warwick for the territory lying between the 
Narragansett and Connecticut Rivers sent out Lion Gar 
diner, an engineer in the service of the Dutch Government, 
to build a fort and lay out a city at the mouth of the Con 
necticut River. His patrons had agreed to furnish three 
hundred men to assist him. Great was his disappointment 
when he arrived, to find that he with his family and one 
helper were alone in a strange land, surrounded by a sav 
age population. But with a stout heart he set about his 
work, and, having secured some assistance, ere long com 
pleted a fortified house, calling the place, after two noble 
lords of the company, Say-Brook. 

In the spring of 1638, another company, including the 
Rev. John Davenport, a prominent non-conformist of Lon 
don, and Theophilus Eaton, a rich merchant, arrived from 
England. After landing at Boston, where they were so 
licited to remain, they set sail for some part of the conti 
nent not yet occupied. They entered Long Island Sound, 
and came to anchor in one of its beautiful bays. The 
country seemed inviting, and without inhabitants. They 
concluded to go no farther, but landed and laid out a town, 


which they called New Haven. They established a form 
of government, made laws, elected officers, and were an 
independent colony. They too, as their brethren of the 
Connecticut colony, were within the bounds of New Nctli- 
erland, and without any title, Indian or Dutch, to the lands 
they occupied. 

When the Rev. Mr. Hooker and his church settled at 
Hartford, they had no valid title to the lands of Which they 
took possession. They claimed to have an Indian deed 
given by the tribe which had been subdued by the Pe- 
quods, which, by an arrangement with their conquerors, 
had already divested themselves of their rights to Director 
Van Twiller. They found the Dutch in peaceable posses 
sion, pursuing their usual affairs. Regardless of the facts 
in the case, and against the remonstrances of the legal 
owners, they seized the lands, replying to all objections 
that the land was good, and ought not to lie waste ; they 
would stay and cultivate it. When the Dutch attempted 
to improve their fields, they were beaten, their implements 
thrown into the river, their cattle driven to the pound and 
afterward sold for costs. To these outrages the saintly 
Hooker added unkind words, such as he alone could utter. 
Saint though he may have been, he could scold like a sin 
ner. By the strength of numbers, the English prevailed ; 
and leaving only a few acres around the Fort Good Hope 
they fenced it in. The Dutch felt the wrongs and insults 
to which they were exposed all the more keenly, because 
the Rev. Mr. Hooker and others of his company had been 
refugees in Holland, where they had received the kindest 
treatment ; and because, moreover, they themselves were 
powerless to maintain their rights. 

The new comers did not take extraordinary pains to 
cultivate the friendship of their savage neighbors, more 
especially those on the east side of the river. The 


Pequods were a powerful tribe, and, having recently sub 
dued the Mohegans, they were proud, and sensitive to 
neglect. They were from the first disposed to resent the 
intrusion of the English, the more particularly as they 
had taken under their protection the tribe with whom 
they had been so recently engaged in war. They felt 
themselves aggrieved, and soon began to show their 
dislike by acts of hostility, and by killing some of the 
settlers. The colony accepted the challenge and pre 
pared for war. Captain John Mason, who had served in 
Holland, was appointed commanding officer ; the able- 
bodied men were drilled in arms, and, when ready for the 
field, prayers were said for their success. In May, 1637, 
Captain Mason led his little army directly into the heart 
of the enemy s country, and made a night attack on their 
fortified village. It was a surprise, for, as was the custom 
of American Indians, they had no sentinels to give the 
alarm. Mason tore down the frail walls, and commenced 
the attack. The Indian warriors, aroused from sleep, 
made a more sturdy resistance than was expected, when 
the invaders applied the torch to the combustible cabins, 
which, with their six hundred occupants, men, women, and 
children, were consumed in an hour. The Pequods living 
elsewhere were hunted from place to place, and in a short 
time the nation was utterly destroyed. The conquerors 
claimed their country as the spoils of victory. But there 
was a party, stronger than the Dutch, more powerful than 
the Pequods, which had a prior claim one derived from 
the King of England. 

The title of the Saybrook colony was regarded as valid, 
and until it was extinguished, or transferred, the Con 
necticut colony could not come into possession of the con 
quered territory. Lion Gardiner, after his contract with 
Lord Say and Sele and Lord Brook had expired, re- 


moved to the island he had purchased from the natives, 
and George Fenwick now represented the noble patrons. 
Their colony had not prospered through neglect, arid 
there was a growing conviction that it was intended to 
abandon the enterprise. Fenwick was lonely in his 
isolated position, and longed for a more intimate inter 
course with the colony on the river above, now rapidly in 
creasing in numbers and prestige. This state of affairs 
was not unknown to the leading men of Hartford. The 
time had come when they could approach him with an 
offer to purchase the franchises of the Saybrook company 
on terms advantageous to himself, pecuniarily and politi 
cally, and with perfect safety to themselves. 

The price offered, the mode of payment and the terms 
were arranged to his satisfaction, but before closing the 
bargain he was obliged to consult the company in 
England. It required time to settle all the preliminaries, 
but this business was at last completed, and in 1644 the 
Saybrook Colony, with the lands on the river, was trans 
ferred to Connecticut, Fenwick also engaging to use all 
reasonable efforts to procure an assignment of the War 
wick patent of the entire tract up to the Narragansctt 
River. The payment of the money consideration was 
extended over a term of several years, but there was no 
delay in the liquidation of the political part of the con 
tract. As soon as the opportunity was presented Fen 
wick was made a magistrate of Connecticut, and took his 
place among the magnates of the colony. 1 

1 It is interesting to note some of the after developments in reference to 
this bargain and sale, as they appear in the records. Fenwick s new 
position did not prove satisfactory. He resigned, and returned to England. 
After his death the colony claimed to have paid more than the stipulated 
price, because of an error in bookkeeping, and, to recover the excess, they 
attached the property of Fenwick s heirs, some of whom were leading men 
and office-holders. As a further ground for this proceeding, it was alleged 


The Dutch were yet troublesome ; not because of their 
number, for they were few ; nor because of their inter 
ference in their affairs ; but because of their frequent 
protests against their usurpations, and the steady assertion 
of their own rights. 

The Connecticut colonists sought to have the Dutch 
removed by all possible means short of force. Not con 
tent with their lands, they wished to take away their good 
name, accusing them of " manifold insolences, of trans 
gressions of various kinds," adding thereunto sundry 
threats and haughty arguments. " Moreover, they live in 
a godless manner; while we," they add, "have not used 
any violence toward them, and have treated them with all 
kindness." Instructions were given to some gentlemen of 
Boston about to visit England, to make some arrangement 
with the West India Company for defining the boundaries, 
so that they might not longer be molested. These gentle 
men did not visit Holland, but wrote an energetic letter to 
the English minister at the Hague, urging him to have the 
controversy amicably settled. The minister replied that 
there were insuperable obstacles to a speedy settlement, 
and advised that, in the meantime, the English should ex 
tend their plantations, " and crowd on, crowding the Dutch 
from the places they occupy." 

The advice was followed. The New Haven colonists 
were quite as aggressive as their rivals at Hartford. They 
pushed their settlements along the north shore of the 
Sound, and took possession of the eastern half of Long 
Island, besides making several attempts on the Delaware. 
The Dutch officials, wearied with the constant strife, ur- 

that Femvick had not procured an assignment of the Warwick patent, as he 
had promised. The litigation which followed extended over many years 
before it was settled. Meantime some of the heirs had died and others 
had removed to Boston in c igsust. 


gently entreated the Company and the States-General to 
come to some agreement with England, and have the co 
lonial boundaries determined. In reply the director-gen 
eral was advised to compromise, and make the best ar 
rangements he could, so that he might live in peace, and 
trade be promoted. 

In 1643, the New England colonies formed a confeder 
acy, or union, somewhat on the plan of the United Prov 
inces of the Netherlands. As soon as Director Kieft 
learned of this union, he addressed a letter to the com 
missioners of the union, complaining of the people in 
Connecticut, and enquiring whether they would take part 
in the quarrel, or interfere in behalf of a settlement of the 
controversy. The commissioners of New Haven joined 
those of Connecticut in bitter complaints against the 
Dutch. Gov. Winthrop of Massachusetts, president of the 
commission, was directed to communicate to the Dutch 
director the charges which had been made ; and also the 
judgment of the board, that Hartford had a just title to the 
lands in dispute. This of course was not satisfactory to 
Kieft, while Connecticut and New Haven extended their 
borders, and kept " crowding on." 

Director Stuyvesant, not long after his arrival, again at 
tempted to open negotiations for the settlement of the 
vexed question. He addressed a courteous letter to the 
Governor of the New England colonies, in which, how 
ever, he asserted that New Netherland was justly entitled 
to all the territory from the Connecticut River to the 
Delaware. He spoke of the conflicting claims, and sug 
gested that a meeting be arranged of the commissioners 
and himself for the purpose of settling the dispute. This 
letter was sent to the commissioners, some of whom re 
ceived the suggestion in a kindly spirit. The representa 
tives of Connecticut on the board were not disposed to 


accept the invitation to a conference, but thought it would 
be more to " their advantage to stand upon terms of dis 
tance." Winthrop of Massachusetts wrote in reply a letter 
couched in friendly words, but the commissioners of the 
other colonies complained of the Dutch in several par 

Stuyvesant was disappointed that his friendly overtures 
had met with such a rude rebuff, and resolved to protect 
the interests of the Company with all the means in his 
power, whatever might be the result. His resolution was 
soon put to the test. Although New Haven was in his ju 
risdiction, or rather within the boundaries of New Nether- 
land as claimed by him, Dutch ships, according to the 
revenue laws, must first report at New Amsterdam when 
arriving from a foreign port. In defiance of law a Dutch 
ship put into -the port of New Haven. He did not hesi 
tate, but sent an armed vessel, which took possession of 
the ship, and brought it under the guns of the fort of New 
Amsterdam. New Haven retaliated by reprisals. Thus 
the unhappy differences continued. New England lost 
much of its fur trade because of the sharp competition of 
the Dutch merchants, who knew more of Indian taste, and 
were better supplied with articles they wanted ; but the 
traders of New England alleged that it was because the 
Dutch furnished them with guns and ammunition. To 
remedy the evil, New Haven proposed non-intercourse, 
and the prohibition of all trade. Stuyvesant emphatical 
ly denied the charge, and again proposed a conference. 
The proposition was declined. 

The next year (1649) negotiations were resumed, and it 
was proposed to hold a meeting at Boston. In the pre 
liminary correspondence, Stuyvesant, having been in 
structed "to live with his neighbors on the best terms pos 
sible," yielded some matters in dispute, but, being firm 


on others, the conference was not held. Thereupon the 
United Colonies adopted some severe measures, which 
produced no good results ; but, on the other hand, widened 
the breach, and added to the exasperation of the Dutch. 

As both parties were involving themselves in much 
trouble to the prejudice of various important interests, it 
was finally agreed to hold a convention at Hartford, and 
make an effort to settle the boundaries, which done, it was 
believed that all other questions in dispute would find an 
easy solution. Meantime the Company had instructed the 
director "to agree on a provisional boundary," if nothing 
more. The way was open to him for a compromise short 
of the Connecticut River, without yielding all that his 
opponents claimed. 

Director Stuyvesant, accompanied by Baxter, his Eng 
lish secretary, and a considerable number of other officials, 
left New Amsterdam, on September 17, 1650, and arrived 
in Hartford on the fourth day afterward. The New Eng 
land delegates were in session, and gave the Dutch gov 
ernor a courteous reception. The negotiations were con 
ducted in writing ; and, after several days spent in the 
exchange of arguments, Stuyvesant proposed to refer the 
boundary question to arbitrators, whose award should be 
final as a provisional settlement. The offer was accepted, 
and four men were selected, one each from Massachusetts 
and Plymouth two for New Netherland, Secretary Baxter 
and Thomas Willet, both Englishmen, but having large 
interests in the Dutch colony. 

The referees did not haggle over their work, but finished 
it in four and twenty hours, presenting their report on 
September 29th. On Long Island the division line began 
at Oyster Bay, and ran in a straight course to the ocean. 
On the main-land, the line starting at Greenwich Bay ran 
northerly twenty miles into the country, "and after as it 


shall be agreed by the two governments ; provided such 
line come not within ten miles of Hudson River ;" the 
Dutch to hold and enjoy the lands in Hartford now in 
their possession. 

Director Stuyvesant lingered a few days longer in Hart 
ford, partaking of the generous hospitality of the Colo 
nists and returned home early in September. For reasons 
known only to himself he was reticent as to the result of 
the treaty, and did not make it known to his council, much 
less to the public. In his letter to the Company, he only 
referred to it in general terms, and did not send them a 
copy. He probably recognized the fact, that his adver 
saries had gained a great advantage, and that his English 
arbitrators had not been true to his interests. The effort 
to keep the treaty a secret was in vain. Its leading pro 
visions were revealed by an anonymous letter written in 
English and thrown into a Dutchman s house. It was a 
disappointment to the good people of New Amsterdam, 
who accused the director of giving away the rights of 
New Netherland, and of having been tricked into unfair 
concessions, both by his arbitrators and the people of 
Hartford, who, perceiving his fondness for display and 
adulation, had ministered to his foibles. 

New Haven, relying on the weakness of the Dutch and 
on Stuyvesant s solicitude to be on friendly terms with his 
neighbors, in less than six months after the treaty pro 
posed another colonizing party for the Delaware. The 
criticisms on his conduct had aroused his pride, and the 
director was not now deceived wiih compliments, but re 
pulsed the expedition. 

The commercial rivalries between Holland and England 
at last resulted in a rupture of friendly relations. War 
seemed inevitable. New England thought it a favorable 
time to take possession of New- Netherland, and drive the 


Dutch from the continent. Stuyvesant, aware of their in 
tentions, strove the more to keep the peace. He had been 
warned by the Company of the near approach of war, and 
that he must strengthen himself and be prepared to meet 
it. As one means of strength, he should draw to his side 
the aid of friendly Indians. Acting on the advice, lie 
made overtures to certain Indian chiefs, who, not fully un 
derstanding the situation, caused a report to get into cir 
culation, that Stuyvesant had solicited them to " kill the 
English." The report awakened grave apprehensions in 
the New England mind. The Commissioners of the United 
Colonies immediately convened, in order to make an in 
vestigation. A Narragansett Sachem, who was before 
them for examination, denied any knowledge of the plot, 
and incidentally gave information which proved the re 
port to be entirely false. The Massachusetts delegates at 
once advised moderation, and not to act precipitately on 
a report against a Christian neighbor put into circulation 
by the heathen. The delegates from the other colonies 
were not satisfied, and accordingly a committee was ap 
pointed to make further inquiries, and examine Stuyvesant 
himself. In the meantime, the latter, having heard of the 
slander, wrote his vindication, denying the charges, offer 
ing to attend the commission in person to make further 
explanations if required, and despatched his letter before 
they had adjourned. Their Committee, pretending not to 
be convinced of his innocence, visited him, and proposed 
that he should appear before the commissioners some 
where in New England, bring his witnesses and stand a 
trial. Of course such a proposition was indignantly re 

War had been declared between Holland and England, 
and was being waged with varying success. The Com 
missioners of the United Colonies believed the present to 


be a favorable opportunity to get rid of the Dutch, and re 
commenced the invasion of New Netherland by an army of 
five hundred men. But the General Court of Massachusetts 
intervened in behalf of peace, and the proposed invasion 
was deferred. Connecticut and New Haven, however, per 
sisted, believing themselves strong enough to "remove 
the Dutch," although they asked leave to enlist volun 
teers in Massachusetts. The " crowding out " process had 
worked very well, but was too slow for their impatience. 
Unable to secure the consent of the other members of 
their confederacy, and fearing the result if they undertook 
the work alone, they appealed to the English Government, 
and wrote to influential persons in London urging them to 
<l remove the Dutch." Lying publications were put into 
circulation to arouse the passions of the populace and to 
influence their rulers. But the two Protestant nations of 
Europe had come to see the folly and wickedness of their 
strife, and had begun negotiations to settle their differ 
ences. When these letters and appeals were received, 
Protector Cromwell immediately resolved to send a fleet 
to New England to assist in the conquest of New Nether- 
land, and so advised the colonial governors, requiring them 
to use all other means to secure a favorable result. Hart 
ford and New Haven w r ere jubilant. The commissioners 
of the confederacy were assembled, for the purpose of 
raising an army to accompany the fleet. Connecticut 
offered to furnish five hundred men if necessary. Ply 
mouth promised fifty men for the service, under command 
of Captain Miles Standish not so much " against their 
ancient Dutch neighbors, as in reference to the national 
quarrel." Massachusetts, more cautious and less enthu 
siastic, consented only that certain captains might raise 
some five hundred volunteers within her borders. 

The promised fleet did not arrive, and, before the land 


forces were ready to march, news was received that peace 
had been made between the belligerents, and with it the 
order, " to commit no further hostilities against the 
Dutch." The disappointment of Connecticut and New 
Haven only equalled the satisfaction of New Netherland. 
The removal of the Dutch was deferred, not abandoned. 
The only advantage gained by Connecticut at this time 
was the seizure of Fort Gpod Hope and its dependencies, 
which were confiscated, although the treaty of 1650 was 
still in force. 

For a few years after the peace, the rival colonies were 
comparatively quiet. The States-General ratified the 
boundaries as arranged by the treaty of 1650, and in 
structed their minister at London to procure its ratification 
by the English Government. Stuyvesant also made efforts 
to have the New England confederacy accept it as a final 
settlement. But neither the crown nor the colonies lis 
tened to the overtures. The commissioners were far from 
courteous in their reply to Stuyvesant s letter, making no 
allusion to the important question about which he had 
written. They were awaiting an opportunity to settle the 
boundaries according to their own wishes, without refer 
ence to the provisional treaty. Some of the English vil 
lages on Long Island, instigated by uneasy spirits, for a 
time were unsettled and troublesome, but on the whole 
the confederates were quiet, and did not "disturb the 
Dutch." After the death of the Protector, troubles arose 
from a quarter least expected. In all the previous contro 
versies with Hartford and New Haven, Massachusetts had 
been friendly to the Dutch, and had acted as a mediator. 
Now (1659) she began to assert her own claims to Dutch 
territory. She had assented to the Hartford treaty, but 
now maintained that it did not affect her rights, but those 
only of Connecticut and New Haven. By her charter her 


limits east and west were the Atlantic and the Pacific, and 
her southern boundary the forty-second degree of latitude, 
which crossed the Hudson River fifty miles below Albany. 
To show that she was in earnest, she granted a patent for 
a tract of land opposite Fort Orange to some of her citi 
zens, who demanded free navigation of the river to their 
possessions. Stuyvesant was deaf to their appeals, but 
wrote to the Company for instructions, and was promptly 
advised not to permit any English settlements on the 

For the next four or five years Director Stuyvesant s 
position was not an enviable one. He had full employ 
ment for all his faculties. Until the Delaware country 
was transferred to the City of Amsterdam, its affairs were 
a constant source of anxiety. The hostility of the Esopus 
savages was a heavy tax on his time and on the resources of 
the province. But the dangers which threatened him on 
the east gave him more solicitude than all his other cares. 
Connecticut was ambitious to secure more territory, and 
to become a commonwealth at least as large as Massachu 
setts. When it was known that Charles II. had ascended 
the throne, its leading men began their preparations to 
procure a charter, which should extend their limits beyond 
their then narrow bounds, and give them possession of the 
lands they had so long coveted. They carefully looked 
over the field and laid their plans in secret. They were 
well aware that should their intentions become public the 
opposition would be so strong and influential, that they 
would fail of accomplishment. There were many difficul 
ties to be encountered, which could be overcome more 
easily by proceeding quietly, without arousing the suspi 
cions of their neighbors. Plymouth was not desirable, and, 
being the mother of New England, should be left to the 
peaceable enjoyment of her possessions. Massachusetts 


on the north was not to be disturbed, except by the recti 
fication of her southern line. Rhode Island, New Haven, 
and the greater portion of New Netherland, were to be 
absorbed ; Rhode Island, because she was within the old 
Warwick patent ; New Haven, because she was small, and 
in the way ; New Netherland, because she belonged to a 
foreign nation, and enjoyed the finest position on the con 
tinent for trade and commerce. 

John Winthrop, son of the first governor of Massachu 
setts, settled at New London in 1640, having received a 
grant of land from Massachusetts ; and a few years later 
was the foremost man in Connecticut, occupying the high 
est offices in her gift. He had a good education, and was 
possessed of fine natural abilities. He had seen much of 
the world, and was better skilled in diplomacy than any 
other man in the colony. Ambitious to make the colony 
of his adoption strong and powerful, he was not troubled 
with a fine sense of honor as to the means to be employed 
for the accomplishment of the desired result. He was se 
lected as the agent of Connecticut to visit England and 
procure a charter. The General Court instructed him to 
obtain a patent, bounded east by Plymouth, north by 
Massachusetts, south by the sea, and west by Delaware 
Bay, or " at least to Hudson River, otherwise no money to 
be spent." 

Winthrop was also the bearer of a letter from the Gen 
eral Court to the Earl of Manchester, complaining that 
they had not secured from Mr. Fen wick all that he had 
promised, to wit : " jurisdiction over the lands eastward." 
It is a curious document, and, when read in connection 
with their contract with Fenwick, it will be seen that the 
men of two hundred years ago were not unskilled in that 
kind of argument which glosses the truth and withholds 
the facts. The most important paper entrusted to the care 


of the agent was the address to King Charles. It had 
been prepared with the greatest care, and its wiiter showed; 
wonderful facility in the choice of words and terms most 
grateful to the ears of royalty. It would not be a stretch 
of the imagination to suppose Winthrop himself to have 
been the author. He was a courtier in the broadest mean 
ing of the word. 

Without notice to Roger Williams, who had risked his 
life among hostile savages to save the infant Connecticut 
colony, or a whisper to his friends of New Haven, among 
whom was the Rev. Mr. Davenport, his correspondent, 
Winthrop sailed for England in 1661. He was eminently 
successful in his mission, and procured a charter for a 
larger extent of territory than had been expected by the 
managers of the colony bounded north by Massachu 
setts, east by the Narragansett River, south by the sea, 
and west by the Pacific Ocean. It included Rhode Island, 
New Haven, large portions of New York and New Jersey, 
and a broad area of land three thousand miles in length. 
There was joy at Hartford when the document was 
received and read to the assembled people. Not so at 
New Haven. They were astounded at the news, and re 
solved that their city and villages should not be absorbed, 
without their consent, by a community holding the same 
religious doctrines as themselves. They firmly resisted 
all attempts on the part of Connecticut to extend its 
jurisdiction over them. The latter was equally firm, and 
required them to " submit." After years of argument and 
discussion, a compromise was effected, and New Haven 
became a part of Connecticut. 

Rhode Island was more justly incensed. Nearly twenty 
years before, Roger Williams had secured a patent from 
Charles I., which was still in force. It was clear that 
Charles II. had been badly advised, or he would not have 


ignored the act of his father, whose memory was dear 
to all the members of the royal family. That the error 
might be corrected, the government deputed John Clark 
to proceed immediately to England, and lay the matter be 
fore the king s ministers. Winthrop was yet in England 
when Clark arrived. Of course he was called upon to ex 
plain. Fie could not have been ignorant of the patent to 
Roger Williams, and must have been familiar with the 
country claimed by Rhode Island. It is probable that, in 
his zeal to secure his charter, he had not made the facts 
known, but had left the king and his advisers to act in 
ignorance of them. When confronted with Clark and the 
old patent, he resorted to the pitiful expedient of call 
ing the Paucatuck River the Narragansett, and entered 
into a written agreement, that the Paucatuck should be 
called alias the Narragansett River, and form the eastern 
boundary of Connecticut. He must have known he had 
not the authority to change the provisions of a royal 
charter, and hence. such an agreement would not be bind 
ing on Connecticut. It would have been more manly to 
have had the charter recalled, and a new one, with proper 
corrections, take its place. On the strength of this agree 
ment, however, Clark secured a new charter for Rhode 
Island, with the "Paucatuck, alias the Narragansett, 
River" for its western boundary. 

As might have been expected, Connecticut repudiated 
Winthrop s agreement with Clark, saying that he was 
their agent to procure the charter, and not their agent to 
surrender any of the territory included within its limits. 
Rhode Island, fortified by her charter and agreement, 
would not yield to the demands of her sister colony, and 
bravely insisted on her rights. A long controversy, ac 
companied with great bitterness, was the consequence. 
There were lawsuits innumerable, imprisonments for tres- 


pass, crimination and recrimination, proclamations and 
counter proclamations, extending over a term of eighty 
years. In 1742, the dispute was settled. Connecticut 
yielded the point, and the boundary as named in the 
Rhode Island charter was adopted. 

Connecticut was bounded on the north by Massachu 
setts, whose south line had not been accurately surveyed. 
To get it adjusted, and the various complications growing 
out of it finally settled, required a century and a half. 
Meantime the relations between the two colonies were not 
always cordial. The disputes and differences were finally 
settled in 1826. 

As to New Netherland, the good people of Connecticut 
believed that their long-cherished purpose was near its 
accomplishment when the lands of the Dutch should be 
theirs. As soon as the charter was received, they claimed 
jurisdiction over Greenwich, West Chester, and the 
English towns on Long Island. Against this assumption, 
Director Stuyvesant remonstrated in an energetic letter, 
which he despatched by a messenger. The only answer 
given was the exhibition of the charter to the wondering 
eyes of a Dutchman who could not read English. 

The director, not yet despairing of the safety of his 
province, repaired to Boston, in September, 1663, to have 
an interview with the Commissioners of the United 
Colonies. He stated that, inasmuch as the covenants of 
the treaty of 1650 had not been kept, he now demanded 
whether they considered them still in force ? The Con 
necticut delegates preferred that the question should not 
be answered at present, but at their session a year hence. 
To this the other delegates assented, and, unable to ef 
fect any change in their decision, Director Stuyvesant re 
turned home, a disappointed but wiser man. It was his 
last conference with the union. But he was game to the 


last. While he was absent, a Connecticut agent had been 
going among the western towns on Long Island creating 
some excitement. Stuyvesant had him promptly arrested. 

The director, having failed to accomplish anything with 
the commissioners at Boston, now determined to try what 
could be done with Connecticut alone. He appointed a 
committee of three, one of whom was an Englishman, to 
confer with the General Court, then in session at Hart 
ford. Immediately on their arrival, October, 1663, they 
entered upon their duties. After several days spent in 
efforts to negotiate they accomplished nothing. They 
were given to understand very plainly, that Connecticut 
no longer recognized a New Netherland, and considered 
Stuyvesant simply the chief magistrate of the Dutch 
settlement on Manhattan Island. Early the next year, 
Governor Winthrop, having returned from England, vis 
ited Long Island, and appointed officers in the English 
towns west of the treaty line. Stuyvesant learning of his 
presence, went to the Island, and sought an interview. 
The two governors were well acquainted, and it was hoped 
they could come to some amicable arrangement, especially 
as Winthrop on various occasions had manifested some 
consideration for the Dutch, and quite recently had been 
heard to say that the Connecticut charter did not include 
New Netherland, but only territory in New England. 
Now, however, he took high ground, and assured his old 
friend that the whole country belonged to them. 

The affairs of New Netherland were rapidly approaching 
their crisis. Questions of rights and boundaries so long 
in agitation would soon have their solution. English 
jealousy of Dutch commerce, and of Dutch successes on 
the ocean and in foreign countries, urged the government 
to make an effort to cripple, if not to destroy, their rival. 
Incited by the demonstrations of London merchants, and 


encouraged by the advice of the Duke of York, England 
determined on war. But before announcing her resolu 
tion, she sought to gain some advantage by quietly seizing, 
in times of peace, a portion of Holland s foreign posses 
sions. One expedition sailed to Africa, with the intention 
of capturing the Dutch forts on the gold-coast ; another 
to New England, with instructions to the governors to 
render it assistance in the reduction of New Netherland. 
Secret despatches, by a quick-sailing ship, that the squad 
ron had left port for its destination, put the colonial gov 
ernments in the best of spirits. Connecticut particularly 
was full of enthusiasm. The squadron, with nearly four 
hundred soldiers aboard, touched at Boston, and after 
communicating with the governor, pursued its course, and 
anchored in the lower bay of New Amsterdam the lat 
ter part of August, 1664. Governor Winthrop, when he 
learned that the ships were on the coast, hastened to meet 
them. Passing through Long Island, he ordered the mi 
litia captains to muster their companys and march to 
Brooklyn, and then went aboard the flagship of the fleet. 
When all the preparations were complete, Richard Nic- 
olls, the commander, sent an officer to Director Stuyvesant 
with a message, demanding the surrender of Fort Amster 
dam and the city. With only two hundred and fifty men 
in the city able to bear arms, and one hundred and fifty 
soldiers, with a scarcity of powder and an untenable fort, 
Stuyvesant and his advisers reluctantly came to the con 
clusion, that they could not effectually resist the English 
forces, which consisted of four men-of-war, well equipped, 
four hundred regular soldiers, and a large body of Con 
necticut and Long Island militia. 

The terms offered by General Nicolls were unusually 
fair. The Dutch were to be undisturbed in their property, 
real and personal, and could dispose of it by will or other- 


wise according to their ancient usages ; they were to enjoy 
absolute freedom of religious worship ; they could con 
tinue their trade with the fatherland as usual ; immigration 
from Holland was not prohibited. The citizens under 
stood at a glance, when these conditions were made public, 
that there would be little, if any, change, except in their 
allegiance, and they were substantially unanimous in favor 
of surrendering rather than of running the risk of losing 
all by resistance. The director, influenced by military 
pride, was disposed at first to give the enemy a taste of 
his metal, but was finally induced to submit to the inevi 
table, and to sign the articles of surrender without firing a 
gun. It was not agreeable to his ideas of honor to sub 
mit on the first summons, but rather to negotiate. All the 
forms of military etiquette were observed, all the prelimi 
naries were arranged, and on September 8, 1664, the city 
and fort were handed over to the English commander. 
New Amsterdam became New York. 

Governor Winthrop was present, an active participator 
in all the transactions, and witnessed the humiliation of 
the Dutch governor, whose revenge was near at hand. The 
joy of Connecticut on this occasion was only equalled by 
her disappointment shortly afterward, when she learned 
that after all New Netherland could not be hers. Her dis 
appointed hopes were soon absorbed by anxiety. In a few 
days it became known, that, before the expedition had left 
England, the king had granted by letters patent to his 
brother, the Duke of York, all New Netherland, from the 
Delaware to the Connecticut River, including Long Island, 
and all the islands of the Sound. All her struggles to ex 
tend her jurisdiction over New Netherland, it now became 
apparent, had been in vain. In granting her charter the 
king had passed over the previous one to Rhode Island, 
and now her own charter, only two years old, was set aside. 


The bitter chalice she had held to the lips of others was 
returned to her own. Should Rhode Island succeed in 
becoming an independent colony, with the Paucatuck 
River as the western boundary, her territory would be con 
fined to very narrow limits, unless she could effect some 
compromise with the duke, and induce him to surrender 
a portion of the land on the west side of the Connecticut. 
The dreams of her statesmen, her Hookers and Winthrops, 
her Allyns and Treats, of a splendid theocratic empire were 
fast vanishing. The Dutch looked on amused, and, greatly 
enjoying the discomfiture of their old antagonists, quietly 
settled down under the new government, leaving the ques 
tions so long in agitation to be settled by the new rulers. 

Governor Winthrop, in his discussion with Nicolls as to 
boundaries, found it convenient to refer to the provisions 
of the treaty made with Stuyvesant in 1650, so emphati 
cally repudiated by his colony and himself. His efforts to 
have them recognized were only partially successful. All 
Long Island and the islands of the Sound, Nicolls insisted, 
must remain attached to New York, but he consented that 
the line on the mainland might stand provisionally, if it 
did not come within twenty miles of the Hudson River. 

When the Dutch recaptured New York, in 1673, Connec 
ticut resumed control over the settlements on eastern Long 
Island, and after some sharp passages of words with the 
Dutch governor, threatened to drive him from the country. 
Had the war continued, she might have attempted to carry 
her threat into execution. On the return of peace New 
Netherland again became an English province, for which 
the Duke of York received a second patent. Edmund 
Andros, his governor, revived his claim to the Connecti 
cut River as the eastern boundary. The friends of Con 
necticut were enabled to reach the duke s ear, and Gov 
ernor Andros was instructed to let the question rest. 


In 1682, the governor and General Court of Connecti 
cut wrote to the governor of New York, complaining that 
Frederick Philipse, one of his citizens, was erecting mills 
and other buildings in the township of Rye, near the Hud 
son River ; and that others had purchased large tracts of 
land, all of which were within their limits. The next year, 
Governor Dongan having arrived, they wrote to him in 
a similar strain. He bluntly replied that the line was 
twenty miles east of the Hudson. If they were unwilling 
to settle on that, then he would insist on the duke s right 
as far east as the Connecticut River. This was enough. 
The governor and the secretary of Connecticut hastened to 
New York, and agreed upon a boundary line twenty miles 
east of the Hudson, November 28, 1683. The controver 
sies, however, did not cease in reference to the line until 
1880, when it is believed that they were forever settled. 

It may be pertinent to the subject now to inquire what 
influence, if any, the Dutch nation, and the Dutch ele 
ment, had in this country, in forming and settling the in 
stitutions of our republic ? 

It is a fashion with writers of American history to treat 
the Dutch with little consideration, or to ignore them alto 
gether. To New England, they say, we are indebted for 
our civilization, our free government and institutions, for 
our free schools and colleges. 

A careful reader of the early records will not easily 
come to the conclusion that New England is entitled to 
all the credit claimed for her, or that the influence of the 
Dutch should be overlooked. Both before and for a long 
time after colonies began to be planted on the northern 
portion of the American continent, Holland was the freest, 
and one of the most enlightened, nations of the world. 
The intolerance of her old masters had taught her to be 
liberal in her laws, and benevolent in their execution. 


She sympathized with the oppressed of other nations, and 
gave them asylum when forced to flee from the wrath of 
their rulers. She laid no restrictions on freedom of con 
science and worship. She had a national church, but did 
not compel conformity, tolerating other creeds and sects. 
The adherents of the Roman church, by whose princes 
and institutions she had so cruelly suffered, were protected 
alike with those of other churches. 

England, although Protestant, had a national church, to 
which she required conformity. Among her princes and 
bishops toleration was a hated word. The government, 
determined to enforce its edicts, became the oppressors of 
those who sought more liberal laws and were unwilling 
to have their consciences shackled. To escape the penal 
ties of non-conformity, they were forced to dissemble, or 
flee from their country. But whither could they go? To 
no place but Holland. There English-speaking men and 
women were formed into churches, before Rev. John Rob 
inson and his congregation removed from the north of 
England to Leyden. Large numbers of Englishmen, 
ministers and laymen, fled to Holland, and there abode, 
waiting for the storm of persecution to subside. Some 
engaged in business, others entered the military service. 
Besides the Pilgrims, large numbers of the fathers of New 
England first sought refuge in Holland before emigrating 
to America. There they learned many things which were 
of service, when, in after years, they laid the foundations 
of new communities and states. Military men, who there 
learned the " art of war," were of infinite value to the first 
American colonies. 

Sir Thomas Gates and Sir Thomas Dale, officers in the 
Dutch army, were granted leave of absence to be employed 
in Virginia. The latter was absent seven years, and was al 
lowed full pay for the entire time. Captain Miles Standish 


left the service in Holland to become the sword-bearer of 
the Pilgrims. He accompanied that heroic band on their 
pilgrimage, and in their new home, although not a mem 
ber of their communion, performed important service for 
them against the Indians. Captain John Mason, another 
Dutch soldier, followed the fortunes of Mr. Hookey and 
his congregation, when they emigrated to the valley of the 
Connecticut. Two years afterward, by the subjugation of 
the Pequods, he proved himself the right man for the place 
to which he was chosen. Argal, for a time governor of 
Virginia, " was a soldier bred in that university of war, 
the Low Countries." Lion Gardiner, an engineer em 
ployed by the Prince of Orange, at the solicitation of Rev. 
John Davenport, came over with his Dutch wife in a 
vessel of twenty tons, and built the fort at Saybrook. 

The confederacy of the New England colonies, 1643, has 
received the credit of being the germ whence sprung the 
United States. But what gave birth to the confederacy, 
if not the seven United Provinces of the Netherlands ? 

Whence came our free public schools ? Not from Eng 
land. " Holland was a land where every child went to 
school, where almost every one could read and write, 
where the middle classes were proficient in mathematics 
and the classics, and could -speak two or more lan 
guages besides their own. In cities and rural districts 
there were common schools, as well as classical, the 
property of the people, supported at the public expense." 
Did not the Pilgrims and Puritans, during their residence 
in Holland, learn these facts ? They were apt scholars ; 
all honor to them ! 

Whence came the political maxim, " No taxation without 
representation ? " The Netherland provinces were repre 
sented in the assembly of the States-General, who deter 
mined the amount of money to be raised by tax for war 


and other general purposes by each of the provinces, who 
by their own local assemblies levied and collected the 
tax. These local governments were elected by the people. 
Thus no taxes were arbitrarily imposed by the government 
without the consent of the governed. It was for this prin 
ciple that the people of New Netherland at an early day 
commenced a contest with their rulers. It was the custom 
of the fatherland, why not make it a law of the colony ? 
It was for this the Dutch two hundred years before had 
contended, and finally wrested from an unwilling prince ; 
why not now grant it to their children in the wilderness ? 

The fathers of New England were well acquainted with 
this doctrine as taught and practised in Holland, but they 
only adopted it in part when they organized their govern 
ments. Church members only could hold office, and to 
church members only was the elective franchise conceded. 
Hence, their lawmakers really represented only a portion 
of the people, while the taxes they imposed were assessed 
alike on saint and sinner. In process of time, however, 
they learned to be more like the Dutch, to be more liberal 
in the franchise, and consequently more just to the people. 

Whence came the doctrine of toleration in religious 
creeds and worship ? Not from England, nor from New 
England. In the former subscription to the Thirty-nine 
Articles was required, and entire obedience to bishops ; in 
the latter, conformity to the creed and form of worship 
their ministers had decreed. Holland alone of all the 
Christian nations tolerated dissent, allowing liberty of 
conscience, and to the different sects their own places of 
worship. Such also was the practice in New Netherland. 
The brief persecution of the Quakers by Stuyvesant, with 
out authority from his superiors, is the exception which 
proves the rule. 

It was difficult for the New England fathers to learn 


this great lesson as taught by the nation to which so many 
of them had fled for refuge from the church at home. 
They refused conformity to a creed taught by bishops, 
but enforced it to a creed formulated by themselves. 
New Hampshire for a time was an asylum for some of 
their non-conformists, and a place of banishment for 
others. The amiable Roger Williams, to escape transpor 
tation, fled to the woods, and spent the winter among 
savages less cruel than his co-religionists. In memory of 
his escape and preservation he founded the city of Provi 
dence, which became a "city of refuge" for the sectaries 
of New England more accessible and congenial than New 
Hampshire. Ministers and laymen, men and women, 
were banished by Massachusetts, as " disturbers of the 
peace," because they differed in belief from the Puritan 
established church. Rev. Francis Doughty, minister at 
Cohasset, was torn from his pulpit, because of some ex 
pressions which sounded like heresy. He fled to New 
Netherland with a few friends, and was kindly welcomed. 
After him came others. The celebrated Ann Hutchinson, 
fearing that Roger Williams city was too near her perse 
cutors, was given lands at Pelham by Director Kicft. 
John Throgmorton, and thirty-five families from New 
England, received permission to settle " within twelve 
miles of New Amsterdam, to reside there in peace." Lady 
Moody found a home at Gravcsend. Even a pilgrim of the 
Mayflower, Isaac Allerton, removed to Manhattan. These 
were followed by large numbers, who occupied villages on 
the western end of Long Island, under the jurisdiction of 
the Dutch governors. The barbarous treatment of the 
Quakers in Massachusetts is of itself sufficient evidence 
that the Puritans had not learned the cardinal virtue of 
Christian charity from their own experiences in England, 
or from the example of Holland. 


It should not be forgotten, that the commercial enter 
prise which distinguishes our country owes much of its 
success to the influence and example of the Dutch. " The 
Pilgrims," says the historian Hubbard, " having lived with 
the Dutch, were naturally addicted to commerce and 
traffic." We read in Mr. Motley s history : " The ocean was 
the birthright of the Dutch." " They were the first free 
nation to put a girdle of empire around the world." "In 
the last twenty years of her war of independence (1589- 
1609), they had become the first commercial nation of the 
world ; they had acquired the supremacy of the seas ; 
they had one hundred thousand sailors and three thousand 
ships, and had secured the carrying trade of Europe." 

The Dutch of New Netherland maintained the reputa 
tion of the fathers. With their small ships they trafficked 
from Maine to Georgia, and the West India Islands. 
They navigated the rivers from the sea to their source. 
They penetrated the interior in their bark canoes, and 
bought furs of the red men on the borders of Canada, in 
the forests of Pennsylvania, and on the rivers of Ohio. 
When they numbered hardly a score on the continent, a 
party of three or four explored the head waters of the 
Delaware, and traced the river to the bay. They intro 
duced the Indian money, wampum, into New England, 
and taught the Pilgrims its uses as a commercial medium: 
When the Atlantic coast was open for their choice, their 
trading instincts led them to select Manhattan for a 
magazine of merchandise and depot of exports Man 
hattan, destined to become one of the greatest commercial 
centres of the globe. 

Whatever is valuable in the division of states and prov 
inces into townships, with their local officers and legisla 
ture, was known in Holland at an early period. Their 
rights and privileges, which they had enjoyed for cen- 


turies, were gradually subverted by the Dukes of Bur 
gundy ; but in 1477 they were restored by the Great 
Charter, which the firmness of the people compelled their 
sovereign to grant. When the population of New Nether- 
land had extended itself beyond the convenient control of 
the capital, townships were organized, and civil officers 
with local, courts were appointed, after the manner of the 
fatherland. These privileges, however, were wrung from 
the reluctant hands of the West India Company, who were 
ever opposed to any measures tending to diminish their 
authority. Had the colony been planted by the state, 
local governments would have been introduced with the 
first emigrants. Is New England entitled to all the credit 
for this important feature of our civil polity ? The fathers 
found the system in Holland, and were wise enough to 
adopt it in their little republics, but their descendants un 
wisely call it all their own. 

To New England must be accorded the praise of having 
first introduced the means of a higher education than the 
common schools afforded, of having first established a col 
lege for the instruction of its thoughtful and studious 
youth. The Puritans of Massachusetts, if not the Pilgrims 
of Plymouth, were, many of them, of superior education 
and mental discipline. They were graduates of univer 
sities, and had spent much of their time at the feet of 
learned men. Almost their first thought, after providing 
temporary homes for their families, was on the subject of 
education. Six years after their first settlement at Boston, 
they founded Harvard College. 

In New Netherland education was neglected. The first 
colonists, except the officers of the Company, were la 
borers, artisans, servants, with a few clerks and traders 
men who had been educated at the common schools, but 
had never been within the walls of a college. Their time 


belonged to others, to whom was left the duty of estab 
lishing schools and churches. After a while, when the 
monopolizing grasp of the Company was loosened, and free 
men began to emigrate, they were not of the highly edu 
cated classes, but burghers, merchants, and traders, who 
came to better their fortunes. Their capital was invested 
in furs, and as capital increased, still in furs, or in lands 
with which to found estates and families, such as those 
they had known in P atria, as they sometimes called their 
old home. Educated Hollanders had no inducements to 
emigrate, except here and there an enthusiast, or one 
broken down in fortune. Surrounded by friends and all 
the appliances of civilized life, they preferred the comforts 
and pleasures of home, rather than endure the hardships 
of a new and barbarous country. They were not forced to 
leave for " conscience sake," nor had they the ambition 
to found a new empire. They were content to enjoy the 
one which they had first rescued from the sea, and more 
recently from the iron hand of the Spaniard. Of educated 
men, therefore, few but clergymen, lawyers, and doctors, 
came to New Netherland. Schools were not neglected ; 
for where do you find an educated minister of the gospel, 
that you do not find a school ? But the few "ministers of 
the Word," stationed in small settlements wide apart, 
among people mostly struggling for the necessaries of life, 
could not found colleges. They could see that the chil 
dren of their parishioners were taught the rudiments of 
learning, and could themselves teach the classics when re 
quired. They could do nothing more. In Holland the 
love of learning, next to that of commerce, was a passion. 
No country in Europe contained a greater number of 
highly educated men in proportion to the population. No 
country had more men eminent for learning. No country 
for the time produced more popular authors in history, 


philosophy, politics, medicine, and poetry. Their universi 
ties were thronged with students, whose numbers would 
be a marvel in American institutions at the present time. 

Nothing better illustrates the love of learning in Holland 
than the history of the Leyden University, so well set forth 
in the pages of Motley. 

Not long after its organization, the University of Leyden 
was the most celebrated in Europe. The most eminent 
men in the various departments of literature, politics, and 
philosophy were appointed its professors. Leyden was 
the home of the Pilgrims eleven years before they em 
barked for the western continent. Their pastor, Rev. John 
Robinson, received a cordial recognition by the learned 
men of the university, and was admitted to their debates 
on questions of theology and kindred topics. It is to be 
presumed that the state of learning in Holland at this time 
was not without its influence on the Puritan mind in the 
establishment of their schools and colleges. 

Mr. John Quincy Adams, in an essay on the New Eng 
land Confederacy, said, " Of the European settlers on 
the American Continent, the colonists of New England 
w r ere the first who held themselves bound to respect the 
right of prior occupancy of the Indian savages, and to 
purchase it of them for an equivalent." " The whole ter 
ritory of New England was purchased." Mr. Adams is 
high authority, but the statement may be questioned. 

Just previous to the landing of the Pilgrims at Ply 
mouth, the Indians had been swept away by an epidemic, 
and parts of the country left without an inhabitant. They 
landed on a desolate shore, where there was no living be 
ing to oppose or welcome them. They took possession of 
the country, and held it without other title than " Wel 
come, Englishmen," uttered long after by a savage, who 
had been in England, and had picked up a few words of 


the language. Nine years afterward, when Endicott was 
about to sail for America, he was instructed "to purchase 
the title of any savages who claimed the lands granted 
in our patent." Three years before this instruction, the 
Dutch had purchased Manhattan Island according to the 
directions of the West India Company. This practice 
was strictly enforced by the Company while it held pos 
session of the province. The numerous Indian deeds on 
record prove how faithfully the rule was observed. 

That this was the policy of the English, or that all New 
England was purchased from the original proprietors, 
seems doubtful. In an English State paper of 1632, it is 
denied, "that the Indians were bonafide possessors of those 
countries, so as to be able to dispose of them either by sale 
or donation." 

The first Connecticut colonists took possession of their 
lands under the title of a conquered tribe, and ignored the 
claim of the conquerors. Afterward they set up a claim 
for the Narragansett country by right of conquest, and the 
lands were parcelled out among individuals without other 
consideration. When the Pequods were annihilated, their 
territory was possessed much in the same way, as that of 
a tribe exterminated by the Pilgrims. For these reasons 
the accuracy of Mr. Adams statements is open to doubt. 
If one form his opinion from early New England writers, 
it would not be difficult to come to the conclusion that 
most of its territory was not purchased, for it is apparent 
that large tracts were held without conveyance from the 
original owners, while others were obtained by crowding 
the Indians on reservations considered large enough for 
their use, and taking possession of the rest without re 

After the province of New Netherland passed under 
English rule, the policy of the Dutch in this regard was 


steadily pursued. The much-vaunted treaties of William 
Perm with the Indians, and his purchase of their lands, 
were only in line with those of the Dutch sixty years before. 
Even the lands in and around Philadelphia had been 
bought by the Dutch more than forty years before Mr. 
Penn procured his patent. If, then, any colony deserves 
credit in reference to the purchase of territory from the 
original proprietors, it is New Netherland. 

Numerous writers have set up the claim, that we are 
mainly indebted to New England for our independence. 
No one can yield her more credit and honor in this regard 
than the writer. But, while he bows with uncovered head 
to her patriotism and loyalty during the whole of the mo 
mentous struggle which secured our nationality, he will 
ask whether the result of the war could have been secured 
without New York ? Whether what was done by New 
York to make independence possible at the time did not 
derive its chief strength from the Dutch element in the 
population ? 

New York, unlike New England, was a royal province. 
The governors and the chief officers were appointed by 
the crown. In the city of New York a miniature court 
had been established, around which was gathered an aris 
tocracy of placemen provincial noblemen. Attachment 
to the throne had been the growth of an hundred years, 
and had been diffused through all the cities, villages, and 
hamlets. The people had become English in their tastes 
and usages. By intermarriage with civil and military offi 
cers, many of the old families had forgotten their humble 
origin, and were proud of their aristocratic connections. 
To throw off English rule and set up an independent gov 
ernment was not to be thought of. To make the attempt 
would be the work of madmen. To succeed was only the 
dream of enthusiasts. 


Outside of the capital, the descendants of the men who 
planted the colony could not forget the usurpation Of 
1664, nor their own ancestry. The fathers had submitted 
to superior force. The children had learned the story of 
their wrongs, u told by sire to son." All that was required 
to induce these people to join hands with their old oppo 
nents of New England in a struggle for freedom were 
leaders. These were not wanting. Several of the old 
Dutch families had become rich and influential by the 
fortunate investments of their fathers, and by their own 
energy. Their position in the society of the province was 
assured, and their friendship courted by the placemen 
around the governor s mansion. Among them were the 
Van Rensselaers, Van Cortlandts, Van Schaicks, Schuylers, 
Ten Broecks, and Livingstons the last Scotch in name, 
but three-fourths Dutch by blood. They were all closely 
related by intermarriages, and were the holders of large 
landed estates. They pronounced for independence. Lay 
ing their wealth upon the altar of their country, they 
joined the patriots. Besides these leading families, the 
Dutch dominies, almost to a man, declared for indepen 
dence. With such leaders there was little difficulty in en 
listing the entire Dutch element on the side of freedom. 

He is a dull student of Revolutionary times, who will 
not concede that without the Dutch it would have been 
difficult to induce this province to join New England and 
Virginia in the almost hopeless effort to establish a free 
government ; that without New York and New Jersey the 
aspirations of the revolutionary fathers must have been 
deferred for the time, if not indefinitely. 


THE first knowledge we have of Philip Schuyler is de 
rived from a family record, now in the possession of one of 
his descendants in the sixth generation. From it we learn 
that he married Margarita Van Slichtenhorst, in Bever- 
wyck, now Albany, December 12, 1650, and that he was 
an emigrant from Amsterdam, Holland. 

His previous history is unknown. There is no mention 
of his arrival in New Netherland, or of his first appear 
ance in Beverwyck. Little or nothing is known of his 
family in Holland. No trace has been found of the 
Schuylers in Holland in modern times, but the notarial 
records, now in the clerk s office at Albany, show that about 
1663, two relatives, termed cousins, gave Philip Schuyler 
powers of attorney to collect debts due to them in New 
Amsterdam. One was Aeltie van Schuyler, the wife of a 
merchant on New Street, Amsterdam ; the other, Gerrit 
Schuyler, captain of a Cologne packet. In the Amster 
dam records we have a mention that Pieter Schuyler, or 
Schuylert, appeared before the burgomasters with his wife. 
This Pieter was born in Cologne, and at some time pre 
vious to 1639 married Catharina, the daughter of Cors 
Jansen Buyck, of a well-known family in Amsterdam, 
which produced many magistrates in the fifteenth and 
sixteenth centuries. 1 If this Pieter were the father of 

1 Letter of D. N. cle Roever, assistant archivist of Amsterdam, kindly 
communicated by Mr. J. V. L. Pruyn. 


Philip Schuyler, it is strange that neither he nor David 
Pieterse Schuyler named their eldest daughters Catharine, 
in conformity to the prevailing custom. 

There is a hamlet called Schuiler, in the district of 
Valkenburg and province of Limburg, not far from Maes- 
tricht, from which it is possible that the family name may 
be derived. In Holland, as in other countries, surnames 
are of comparatively modern use. The baptismal name of 
the father, with the affix se or sen, became the surname of 
a son, and with the affix s, that of a daughter. Philip, the 
son of Peter, would write his name Philip Peterse (or 
Petersen), and Gertrude, daughter of Philip, would write 
Gertrude Philips. For the sake of distinction, the name 
of the family estate, or of the birthplace, was often added 
with the preposition van, meaning of or from. The peas 
ants and artisans followed this custom as well as the land 
owners, and van in no way corresponds to the French de as 
a particle marking noble orgin, and especially in New 
York names. The Van Rensselaers, for example, take their 
name from their, estate of Rensselaer, near Nykerk, but 
the Van Burens were peasants from the village of Buren, 
and had nothing to do with the Counts of Buren, a title 
belonging to the house of Orange. 

If Philip Schuyler wrote the family record referred to, 
he omitted the van before his own name, but used it in the 
names of seven of his children. It was inserted in his 
name appended to the oath of allegiance to the English 
Government required of the Dutch after the conquest of 
New Netherland. I doubt, however, that this signature 
was written by himself, for it appears as Peterson Philip 
van Schuiller, wherein it will be observed there is a trans 
position of the first two names, and a misspelling of the 
last. There are many scores of his original signatures in 
the records of Albany, and in no instance did he use the 


van. Until about 1664, he always wrote Philip Pieterse, ex 
cept when signing contracts and deeds ; he then wrote 
his name in full, Philip Pieterse Schuijler. When others 
wrote his name, as in legal papers, it was simply Philip 
Pieterse. "This appears to have been the name by which 
he was generally known. After 1667, he wrote his name 
in full, as above, with occasional lapses to the old way. 
About 1672, he dropped Pi eterse, and wrote Philip Schuij 
ler, in which form it appears signed to his will. The mark 
over the u is, as in all Dutch and German manuscript, sim 
ply to distinguish it from an , and tj, still used in Dutch 
words, has since been contracted to the equivalent^. Un 
fortunately the family papers have been scattered and lost, 
or were consumed in the fire which destroyed his house at, 
the " Flatts," eighty years after his death. Papers were care 
fully preserved by the Dutch in early times. As they accu 
mulated they were put into boxes, and stored in the garret. 
The fire that consumed the " Flatts" started in the roof, and 
the old papers were the first to burn. The house after his 
death was occupied by his son, Peter, and then by Peter s 
eldest son, Philip, and at the time of the fire by the widow 
of the latter. There was doubtless a large store of family 
papers in the old garret, which, had they been preserved, 
would have solved many questions interesting to the 
family, and perhaps to the public. Were it not for the 
records of the church, of the colony of Rensselacrwyck, of 
Albany in the clerk s office, and the State documents, we 
would have been left to tradition (an untrustworthy source 
of information) for any knowledge of the Schuyler family in 
the early times. A careful study of these, supplemented 
by records in the Bibles of various families, will give us 
the materials for a history interesting to some of its mem 
bers, if to no one else. 

The merchants of Amsterdam, who sent their ships on 


trading voyages to the Hudson River, in 1674 built a small 
fort on an island a short distance below Albany, for the 
protection of the people in their service. When this was 
destroyed a few years later by a flood, they erected another 
on the west shore, at Norman s Kill, where they made their 
first treaty with the Mohawk Indians. In 1623, the West 
India Company removed the fort to the present site of 
Albany, and changed the name from Nassau to Orange, 
to distinguish it from Fort Nassau on the Delaware. The 
few colonists lived in the fort, or near its walls. In 1630, 
the colonists sent out by Patroon Van Rensselaer built 
their houses under the protection of the guns of the fort, 
and called the village Beverwyck. It does not appear that 
the Company bought the land on which the fort was erect 
ed, but occupied it by sufferance. It was included within 
the lands of the colony purchased by Van Rensselaer s 
agents ; and his colonists, assuming the privilege of locat 
ing their dwellings where most convenient on lands belong 
ing to their patroon, chose the place protected by the fort. 

Patroon Van Rensselaer, from 1630 to the time of his 
death, in 1646, had prosecuted his work with considerable 
vigor, and had annually made additions to the population 
of his colony of new men sent out from Holland. With 
his colonists came a few traders and mechanics to engage 
in business on their own account. This class of persons 
was increased by the action of the West India Company 
in its claim of jurisdiction over the land contiguous to the 
fort ; and they continued to come, when, by the death of 
the patroon, active efforts for the development of the 
manor by those directly interested had well-nigh ceased. 

At the time that Philip Schuyler first made his appear 
ance, the hamlet of Beverwyck had become a thriving 
village. The Indian trade was prosperous, and all busi 
ness and employment connected with it were flourish- 



ing. 1 The dual occupancy by the Company and by the Van 
Rensselaer Colony of the same territory soon involved 
the community in serious complications. The Company 
claimed all the land within the range of a cannon-shot 
from the fort ; while the directors of the colony asserted 
that the fort itself stood on ground belonging to the 
patroon ; and, while they were willing it should remain, 
as a means of mutual convenience and protection, they 
claimed the right to occupy all the lands outside the 
walls. Quarrels between Van Rensselaer s superintendent 
and the commandant of the fort were of frequent oc 
currence. Less than two years after Schuyler s marriage 
to the daughter of Brant Arentse Van Slichtenhorst, who, 
as resident-director of the colony, was bound in honor and 
by his oath to protect the interests of his patroon, the 
latter was involved in one of those disputes, and was in 
danger of his life ; even his son could not escape. Some 
soldiers, at the instigation of Dyckman, the comman 
dant, made a furious assault upon him. When Schuylcr 
interfered for his protection, Dyckman, standing near, 
rushed upon him with his drawn sword, and swore he 
would kill him unless he desisted. 

How well Schuyler prospered in his business can only 
be inferred from his transactions requiring a legal record, 
and from the amount of his estate at the time of his death. 
Forming a judgment by these data, we must conclude that 
he was more than an ordinary business man, keeping his 
affairs well in hand, and succeeding in his enterprises. 
Money, the commercial medium, was quite different from 
ours, involving more hazard and loss. Gold and silver 

1 Mrs. Lamb, in her History of New York, says that Philip Schuyler took 
the oath of fealty to Patroon Van Rensselaer. But it nowhere appears 
that he was in his service as officer, farmer, servant, or tenant ; nor is his 
name among those to whom the oath was administered. No : he came as 
a free man, and engaged in business on his own responsibility. 


were almost unknown, and formed no part of the circu 
lating medium. There were no bank-bills or government 
currency. Beaver skins were the gold, and wampum, or 
seawant, the silver, of those days. The one was produced 
in the forests along the water-courses, grown on the 
backs of animals, and brought in by the Indians ; the 
other was found by the seashore as the covering of shell 
fish, and formed into oblong beads by the hands of the 
natives. The one was food for moths ; the other subject 
to over-production by the skilled fingers of the whites. 
The one diminished, as the demand increased, by the 
slaughter of the animals ; the other was inexhaustible. 
Then, as now, the bulk of mercantile transactions was on 
credit. There were no newspapers nor a printing press to 
aid the traders in bringing their wares and goods to the 
notice of the public. Resort was had to written placards 
and bills posted on the church-doors, and other public 
places, describing the articles, and the terms of sale. 
These were usually drawn by a notary, and were made a 
legal record. One of these posters reads as follows : 

" Claes Hendrickse [Van Utrecht, or Schoonhoven] 
desires to sell on the following conditions an inlaid oaken 
cabinet, lent out by Janse Flodder [alias Gardenier], to 
wit ; that the buyer shall be holden to make payment to 
morrow morning punctually, in good whole beavers. In 
case he fail to pay or furnish security, it is understood 
that it shall be again sold at his cost and charge." 

" The cabinet was sold on the above written conditions 
of public sale to the undersigned for the sum of 22 
beavers and 10 guilders, in beavers. 

Philip Pieterse. 

I, the subscriber, Jan Thomasse [Mingaet], stand as 
surety. Jan Tomase." ! 

1 The names within brackets were surnames, but omitted in the original- 
The Flodders, by a free translation, changed their name to Gardenier ; 
Jlodder meaning dirt, rich earth, hence garden, gardener. 


This is not the whole story of the " oaken cabinet." An 
item of its previous history is interesting as illustrative of 
the times. Its subsequent history might be equally in 
teresting, were it possible to trace it. It was a rich piece 
of furniture, as may be supposed from its description and 
its cost. It may have stood in the drawing-room of the 
old house at the Flatts, and, being too heavy for removal, 
was destroyed by the fire. Before Schuyler bought it, it 
had been sold by the importers to Plodder, on conditions 
" that payment shall be made in good whole beavers 
within twenty-four hours, without one hour longer delay." 
Plodder had agreed to pay thirty beavers and nineteen 
guilders. As no security was asked, he gave none. He 
took possession, but failed to pay. It was then consid 
ered " lent," and subject to re-sale. 

Schuyler for the first few years after his marriage pur 
sued his business quietly and successfully. Like other 
mortals the world over, he attended auction sales, and was 
frequently a purchaser. After the decease of Johan de 
Hulter, 1 a portion of his furniture and goods was sold at 
auction, in November, 1654. Schuyler bought six nap 
kins for twenty-nine guilders the lot. At another sale 
soon after he bought "a great tin-pail, a copper mortar, a 
funnel, a great copper spoon, a pewter mug, two little 
pewter cups, and a pewter beaker, gilt," all for twenty-six 
guilders, "payable in beavers in one month." In later 
years, when his property had become considerable, and his 
house provided with ordinary furniture, including "pew 
ter cups" for the boys, he could afford to buy specimens 
of the fine arts to adorn the walls of his dwelling. At the 
sale of the effects of Rutger Jacobsen Van Schoender- 

1 Johan de Hulter married Johanna de Laet, only daughter of Johan de 
Laet, an eminent Dutch historian, a director of the West India Company, 
and a partner of Killian Van Rcnsstlaer in the colony of Renssclaerwyck. 


woert, 1 a man of substance, held by his administrators, 
December, 1665, he bought "a picture at thirty-five 
guilders, another at one hundred guilders, and a fine 
ring at eighteen guilders. His friend, Jeremiah Van 
Rensselaer, bought "one diamond ring, one double ring, 
and six silver spoons having a human figure engraved 
upon them," for ninety-four florins in all ; and his brother 
Richard contented himself with " four silver spoons and a 
copper kettle," at a cost of forty florins. " Payment to be 
made in seawant, and no deduction allowed for what de 
ceased may owe the purchasers." 

In five years Schuyler had become one of the prominent 
citizens of Beverwyck, and he then began to be employed 
in affairs of Church and State. The Mohawk Indians of 
ten visited the village for purposes of trade, sometimes 
in large companies. They had learned to substitute cloth 
for skins, firearms and tomahawks for bows and clubs ; 
above all, they had learned to love the rum the Dutch 
could furnish. They quickly acquired the vices, if not the 
virtues, of their white neighbors. They could handle a 
musket with great precision, but could not repair it ; they 
could expend their ammunition, oftentimes foolishly, but 
could not manufacture it ; they could drink rum in great 
quantities, but knew not how to extract it from the corn 
their women raised. If they could, they would not learn 
the simplest arts and trades. If their guns needed repair, 

1 Rutger Jacobsen Van Schoenderwoert and his brother Teunis came to 
Beverwyck about 1640. The descendants of the former took the name of 
Rutgers, and removed to New York ; those of the latter the name of Van 
Woert. There are other instances of families whose original name was 
the same, derived from a common ancestor two hundred years ago, but now 
known by other names. The Rutgers and Van Woerts would search in 
vain for ancestors, were it not for the Albany records ; and perhaps would 
be surprised to find that they sprang from the same family, bearing the 
strange name, Van Schoenderwoert. 


they must go to a mechanic of Bevenvyck. If their blank 
ets and stockings were worn, their women could not mend 
and darn them, but they were thrown aside for new ones. 
When they were about to make a raid upon their enemies, 
they would find that their powder-horns and bullet-pouches 
needed replenishing. On such occasions they would send 
their wisest sachems and shrewdest politicians on an em 
bassy to the Dutch. Arriving at Bevenvyck, the ambassa 
dors would probably announce their intention to march 
against some distant tribe, perhaps one in league with the 
French of Canada, and ask, as a great favor, that their 
friends should pursue a strict neutrality, and not furnish 
their enemy with "powder and balls. Then they would 
utter their complaints that they were not as courteously 
received as they should be, that the prices of blankets and 
rum were extravagantly high, that they had to pay too 
much for repairing their guns. On the whole, they would 
assume the airs of greatly injured friends, who had come 
to " renew the covenant-chain, and make each link shine 
like silver," but were sorely disappointed with their- re 
ception. The Dutch, apparently alarmed, would make a 
soothing reply, and at the end of each sentence present 
them with a portion of the coveted ammunition. The 
speech, but especially the powder and balls, would be 
received with marks of approbation, and the conference 
would close with shouts of joy. Schuyler was one of the 
delegates at such a meeting, in November, 1655. This was 
his first appearance in public life. Soon afterward he 
was one of a committee to visit the Mohawk country on a 
mission of friendship ; and thenceforward he took an 
active part in Indian affairs. He was always the friend of 
the Indians, and treated them with great kindness. Near 
his village residence he built a house for their accommoda 
tion, when business or pleasure brought them to Bcvcr- 


wyck. On his farm, the Flatts, where he resided during 
the summer months, the Indian sachems were welcome 
guests, occupying the great barn for lodgings, and the lawn 
in the rear of the house for their kitchen and dining-room. 
Often the more prominent of the chiefs had seats at his 
table. Surrounded by Indians in close proximity, his 
family slept soundly and securely. With fair and honor 
able treatment they became his fast friends. His sons 
followed his example, and laid the foundation for fut 
ure influence. His friendship for the Indians was long 
remembered, and its story told by them to their children. 
Many years after his death, when a new generation had 
sprung up, they presented to his youngest daughter two 
thousand acres of land on the north bank of their river, " in 
remembrance of the kindness of her father and mother." 

After Director Stuyvesant, acting under instructions of 
the Company, had assumed control of the village of Bever- 
wyck, he changed its name to that of the fort, and it was 
afterward known as Fort Orange, until the English period, 
when it was called Albany. It was the residence of a vice- 
director, or deputy, who was the chief officer, civil and 
military. The magistrates were called commissaries, of 
whom three or more formed a court of common pleas. 
The vice-director was appointed by the director-general, 
who also appointed the commissaries from a double nomi 
nation made by the outgoing board. Philip Schuyler was 
nominated to the office, in 1655, and appointed the follow 
ing year. He held the position seven years under Stuyve 
sant, was reappointed by Governor Nicolls, and was re 
tained in the place, except at short intervals, until near 
the end of his life. 

Governor Andros, soon after his arrival, addressed to 
Schuyler the following letter, which is a literal copy of 
the record : 


Capt. Philip Schuyler, 

Whereas, upon the usuall 

returne of the nominacon of Commissarys for ensuing 
year, a commission is here\v th sent for the same. These 
are to give you thankes for your paines, and care in acquit 
ting your selfe of the trust hitherto reposed in you, and to 
desire and authorise you, to Administer the usual Oaths 
to the present persons appointed to compose s d Court. 
Actum in New York 5th day of Octb r 1678. 


Schuyler was commissioned captain of a company of 
"ffoote" in Albany, November 1,1667, anc ^ two years 
after captain of a company at Schenectady. Why the lat 
ter ? He was never a resident of Schenectady. Perhaps 
that he might command all the militia of Albany and vi 
cinity, as there was no higher officer. 

The early Dutch of Albany always manifested much re 
spect for " fatherland," or " patria," as they affectionately 
termed their native country. They loved her institutions, 
and endeavored to imitate them in their new home. Her 
church and schools especially were held in fond remem 
brance. Their first care, when only few in number, was 
to erect a church and settle a minister educated in Hol 
land, and ordained by the Classis of Amsterdam, who 
should also be the teacher of their children. The first 
minister, Rev. Johannes Megapolensis, arrived in August, 
1642, and the next year a church was erected near the 
present steamboat landing. Its dimensions were small, 
being nineteen feet by thirty-four. It contained a pulpit 
with a canopy, seats for the deacons and magistrates, and 
nine benches for the congregation. The pulpit, seats and 
benches cost eighty guilders. Whatever the edifice lacked 
in size and dignity, the minister furnished in piety and 
ability. He was one of the strong men of early times. 


Some years later he became the pastor of the church in 
New Amsterdam, was one of Stuyvesant s advisers when 
he surrendered to the English, and officiated in the church 
until his death. The little church of Beverwyck acccom- 
modated the people for thirteen years. 

In 1656, a larger edifice was built at the junction of State 
Street and Broadway. In this connection the following 
paper is curious : 

In Beverwyck, Anno 1656, on the i3th of May. We, the 
undersigned Commissaries, acknowledge that we have 
contracted and agreed with Jan Van Aeeken, that we 
shall have the liberty to set the church as far on his 
smithy as the width of the door, on condition that we set 
up his house according to the regulation of Rene Janssen 
and leave a proper lot for the bakery, and remove the 
great house at our own. expense. 

This is the mark H of GORSEN GERRITSE, 



This bond was drawn and signed by the magistrates. 
The verbiage of a modern era would cover more paper, 
but would be no stronger or definite. The church then 
erected stood until 1715, when a new structure was built 
around it, and when completed the old one was removed. 
The building of 1715 was occupied until 1806, when the 
congregation divided, one party erecting the church on 
North Pearl Street, and the other a fine edifice on Beaver 

When the church of 1656 was built, many of the inhabi 
tants of Beverwyck, or Fort Orange, had become men of 

r^p piETERSEN 



substance. The corner-stone was laid by the oldest mag 
istrate, Rutger Jacobsen, with the usual ceremonies of 
modern times, in presence of the authorities and the as 
sembled inhabitants. The patroon contributed one thou 
sand guilders, and the village authorities fifteen hundred. 
The congregation subscribed twenty-five beavers for the 
purchase of a pulpit in Holland, to which was added 
seventy-five guilders by the West India Company, who 
also presented a bell " to adorn the little church." The 
pulpit and a fragment of the bell are yet preserved by the 
Dutch Church of Albany. 

For the purpose of adding to the "church adornments," 
some of its richer members were* permitted to have their 
armorial bearings painted upon its windows. Among 
them were the Patroon Van Rensselaer, Wendel, Schuyler, 
and Andries Herbitscn Constaple Van der Blaas. The 
arms of the latter covered twelve lights of a large window. 
Schuyler s were painted on one large central light of an 
other. When the church was demolished, the paintings 
were put into the new one. When this was taken down, 
in 1806, the arms were preserved by the families to whom 
they belonged. I saw the Schuyler arms in 1877. The 
glass had been broken by a careless artist, who was mak 
ing a copy. The pieces had been carefully arranged and 
held in .place by cement. It was in the hands .of a lineal 
descendant, who valued it highly. Some two years after 
ward it was broken by an accident into minute fragments, 
some of which were lost, so that it could not be re 
constructed. Happily copies had been made, and the 
accompanying woodcut gives an exact representation. 
These paintings could scarcely have been done in Albany 
at that early day, when there were no artists, or appliances to 
finish the work. The name underneath, " Filyp Pietcrscn 
Schuvler," seems to prove that it was done abroad. Schuy- 


ler never spelled Philip, or Pieterse, or Schtiyler in that 
way. The obscurity hanging over the early family history 
makes it now impossible to say how Schuyler obtained the 
right to coat armor. But its use in this public and official 
way, in connection with the arms of families whose right 
to them was unquestionable, shows that it was undisputed. 

As in Holland there was a certain connection between 
the church and state, so in New Netherland. The civil 
authorities of the place erected the church building, and 
paid the minister s salary. For ordinary expenses and the 
support of the poor of the congregation, the church pro 
vided, generally by collections in the church, which were 
placed in the custody of the deacons, and by them dis 
pensed, one of their number acting as treasurer. When 
the collections amounted to more than was required, the 
balance was loaned on interest, or invested in beavers to 
be sold when the market would pay a profit. At the close 
of the fiscal year 1683, there was in the treasury the sum 
of thirteen thousand guilders, wampum currency. The 
church always had a number of poor to assist or support. 
When they died, they were buried with all the usual forms 
and ceremonies. It was the custom at funerals to provide 
entertainment for those invited to attend. On such oc 
casions wines and liquors, pipes and tobacco, bore a prom 
inent part. At a funeral of one of the poor the deacons 
paid thirty-five guilders for five cans of "brandawyn." 
Schuyler was an officer of the church many years, and in 
all things relating to its affairs bore an active part. 

Schuyler s business transactions were large and varied. 
We can only account for their volume on the supposition 
that he had a considerable capital or unlimited credit. 
He dealt in assorted merchandise, and in lands. The 
latter did not require much money, for lands were very 
cheap. Even at that early period the Indians had disposed 


of large tracts to satisfy their tastes for finery and trifles, 
or their appetite for rum. Large stocks of merchandise, 
however, required ready money or untarnished credit. 
Schuyler sold on credit, but was careful to have security. 
He sold a bill of goods to a discharged soldier, but took 
an assignment of his claims for services on the West India 
Company. The soldier went into the bush to barter with 
the Indians. He never returned. He was robbed and 
murdered by some covetous Indian. Some years after the 
claim with the assignment was presented to the Company 
and paid. He sold a bill of goods amounting to 2562^ 
guilders, for which he received the following bill of ex 
change, bond and mortgage all in one. A similar instru 
ment in these days would have been in three documents, 
covering several pages of foolscap. Of course it was re 

I, the undersigned, Juriaen Tyssen van Amsterdam, 
acknowledge and confess, that I have well and truly re 
ceived of the honorable Philip Pieterse Schuyler, the sum 
of twenty-five hundred sixty-two and a half guilders, to be 
paid by me on my account in Holland, to wit, in good cur 
rent money, six months after the showing of this to Myn- 
dert Andryesse, 1 pork buyer, or Jacob Janse Schermer- 
hooren, now ready to depart thither ; growing out of 
goods received here ; the aforesaid payment to be made 
punctually, under a pledge of my person and estate, per 
sonal and real, present and future, submitting them to all 
laws and judges. 

In witness whereof, without craft or guile, two of the 
same tenor are signed ; the one being paid, the other of no 
value; in Fort Orange, of the date the 2Qth of August, 1654. 

In my presence, 


1 His wife was a cousin of Schuyler s. 


Payment was to be made, not in beavers or seawant, the 
currency of the country, but in solid cash, the currency 
of Holland. 

Subsequently he sold to Thomas Willet, formerly of New 
Plymouth, but now the first English mayor of New York, 
an invoice of beavers, for which he was to receive " four 
hundred ells of the best English cloth, half blue and half 
red, like the samples exhibited," which was to be delivered 
" at the furtherest next May." For security Willet gave 
a bond and mortgage. 

I have copied some papers and stated some facts, not 
only to show Schuyler s business transactions, but to illus 
trate the times in which he lived. I cannot resist the 
temptation to copy another paper to which he was a wit 
ness, as valuable in showing some of the forms observed in 
the society of that period, and the tenure of family prop 
erty in Holland and in the colony. 

In the name of the Lord, Amen. Be it known by the 
contents of this present instrument, that in the year of 
our Lord Jesus Christ, Sixteen hundred fifty and seven, 
on the thirtieth day of the month of July, before me, Jo 
hannes La Montagne, etc., and in the presence of the after 
named witnesses, appeared the honorable Goosen Gerritse, 
widower of Gerritie Brant, bridegroom, on the one side, 
and Annetie Lievens, daughter of Lievens Janssen, bride, 
of the other side, who declared for God s honor, they are 
resolved upon a future marriage, and before the banns of 
the same, have willingly made the following contract. 

First : for the maintenance of this marriage, the afore 
said married people shall mutually bring together and be 
stow all their goods and effects, however much of what 
ever kind and nature, in whatever place, and with whatever 
person the same may lie out, standing and remaining ; 
none of those effects are to be excepted, which they at 
present possess, and which it is just should be possessed in 


common by them, according to the custom of Holland ; 
except that on the part of the bridegroom there shall be 
reserved six thousand guilders for his four children left 
by Gerritie Brant, his late wife, to wit, Geertjien Goossen, 
Gerrit Goossen, Sybrant Goossen, and Anthony Goossen, 
for their contingent possession from their late mother ; 
which sum shall remain in common, or in the hands re 
spectively of the bridegroom and bride, until the time that 
each of the said children comes to competent age, or the 
marriage state, at which time to each one of the same shall 
be given his contingent possession without rent or interest ; 
there is also excepted all the clothing and jewels of Ger 
ritie Brant, his late wife, which she in her lifetime gave 
to Geertjien Goossen, his oldest daughter, which, or the 
value of them, shall be given to her at her majority or 
marriage ; provided that the other three children, each 
out of his portion, be assessed as the aforesaid clothing 
and jewels shall be estimated by two impartial persons, 
which portion shall be taken from the aforesaid sum of 
six thousand guilders. Item, that the aforesaid children 
shall be brought up and maintained in victuals and clothes 
until their majority, or marriage, without lessening their 
maternal portion, using only the income of the aforesaid 
six thousand guilders ; which marriage and conditions the 
said bridegroom and bride promise to keep without craft 
or guile, on pledge of their persons and estate, personal 
and real, submitting the same to all laws and judges. 

Done in the village of Beverwyck nt supra, in presence of 
Philip Pieterse and Johannes Provoost. 

This is the mark -h of GOOSSEN GERRITSK. 


acknowledged before me, 
LA MoNTAGNE, 1 Deputy at Fort Orange. 

1 Dyckman, the Deputy, who had threatened Schuyler s life in 1652, was 
about three years afterward pronounced deranged, and removed. La Mon- 
tagne, a French Huguenot, a man of education, and a lawyer by profes 
sion, was appointed his successor. 


After the marriage of the contracting parties, a former 
suitor of the bride incautiously reported that he had 
a prior claim to her hand. Goosen Gerritse promptly 
prosecuted him for slander before the director-general 
and Council, the highest court of the province. The de 
fendant, unable to sustain his charge, acknowledged him 
self guilty, and threw himself upon the mercy of the 
court. Gerritse was satisfied, and withdrew the suit. 
From other documents we learn by inference that Annetje 
Lievens was lively and popular in her society. She was a 
belle, and perhaps a coquette. She became an affectionate 
wife and mother. The older children had no cause to 
regret their father s choice. 

Schuyler s transactions in real estate were very numer 
ous. They were not confined to one locality, although 
much the larger part was in and about Albany. The 
rights of the Indians as proprietors of the soil were recog 
nized, and no one was allowed to occupy any tract, how 
ever small, without first procuring a title from the Indian 
owner. There was little difficulty in procuring all the 
lands required, their proprietors being usually ready to 
dispose of any quantity for a small consideration. Van 
Rensselaer had purchased all the land in the vicinity of 
Beverwyck. As a rule he leased village lots and farms on 
long and easy terms. When he sold, it was on condition 
that the purchaser should yearly give him some recogni 
tion of his " staple right ;" sometimes a " barley-corn, "or a 
"couple of hens," or some wheat, or other grain. If one 
wished to own lands in fee he must go outside the limits 
of Rensselaerwyck. When Stuyvesant took for the West 
India Company the lands around Fort Orange, the tenants 
of Van Rensselaer procured " ground briefs," or deeds 
from the director-general ; Van Rensselaer himself had 
to submit to this requirement. He moved his residence 


beyond the bounds of Fort Orange, but he could not 
move his garden, for which Schuyler procured a patent, 
and transferred it to him. The Company bought lands of 
the Indians, and sold them in lots to suit purchasers at a 
nominal price. Its transactions, however, were confined 
to Manhattan Island and vicinity, Esopus excepted. At 
first individual purchases from the Indians were unlim 
ited as to quantity. But it was soon discovered that the 
privilege was abused, a few individuals buying all the 
best lands as they came into market. Stuyvesant accord 
ingly required private persons to procure a license, in 
which the tract or parcel must be described. After the 
Indian deed was exhibited to him he issued a patent. To 
correct some of the evils which had grown up under the 
former system, he cancelled a few patents for larger tracts 
than the purchaser could improve. When the English 
came into possession, lands were again thrown open to 
private enterprise. Again the same abuses were the 
consequence. After the lapse of thirty-five years, Lord 
Bellamont, then governor, claimed that all the available 
lands of the province were in the hands of a few indi 
viduals. He procured the enactment of a law vacating 
some of the larger patents ; and of another limiting the 
quantity to two thousand acres, which was afterward 
reduced to one thousand. Members of the council and 
speculators found an easy way to evade the limitations. 
If an individual wanted a large tract containing many 
thousand acres, he would procure the requisite number of 
friends, or "hired persons," to join him in the petition, 
each for two thousand, or one thousand acres. After the 
Indian deed had been made, and the patent issued, he would 
invite his friends to a generous dinner ; when the cloth was 
removed he would produce a deed, in which they severally 
conveyed their interest in the patent to their chief. Sir 


William Johnson, the celebrated superintendent of Indian 
affairs, devised a still easier way to become possessed of 
a princely tract. He lived on the Mohawk River, near 
Amsterdam, and had an Indian wife, daughter of a chief. 
The Mohawk Indians needed little persuasion to give him 
a deed for a tract of land on the north side of the. Mohawk 
River, between the East and West Canada Creeks. After 
the Indian deed was received, Johnson formed a company of 
forty persons, mostly his dependants, who petitioned Lieu- 
tenant-Governor Colden for a license \& purchase the tract, 
estimated to contain forty thousand acres. The petition 
had the usual reference to a committee of the council who 
reported adversely. Such a report was probably expected, 
and Johnson apparently took no other steps to secure a 
patent in the usual way. Some years elapsed, when he ap 
pealed directly to the king, and obtained a " Royal Grant." 
In his will it appears the tract estimated at forty thous 
and acres actually contained over ninety-two thousand. 

Schuyler s first purchases of real estate were in Albany, 
for his own use and occupancy, and shortly afterward, 
two houses and lots in New Amsterdam, " one being a 
great new house, the other a small old one," and a vacant 
lot adjoining. Together they were nine rods and eight 
feet on the street, and in depth " eighteen rods, two feet, 
five inches and six peppercorns." The location is now 
known as the southeast corner of Broadway and Ex 
change Place, New York. Subsequently he bought a lot 
on the west side of Broadway, corner of Rector Street, 
six rods, four feet front, and running west to the river. 
He also purchased a store-building and dwelling in New 
York, on a street near the East River. Neither the street 
nor its name appear on the present maps of New York. 
It was opposite the West India Company s warehouses. 
When those were demolished, the street was incorporated 


in the block, and Winckle Street is now only known to 

I do not propose to follow him through all his real 
estate transactions, but notice only his most important 
purchases. These will give us a better knowledge of the 
man and his times. They will also provide some data for 
the use of others who are pursuing similar studies. There 
is one small purchase, however, that I must mention for 
the sake of a name. It is the most curious of the many 
curious names to be found in the early records. 

He bought at public sale a lot and house, "as it stands, 
with all that is fast by earth and nailed, which house is 
thirty-seven and a half feet long, and twenty-six feet 
broad," of a tavern-keeper, by name 

Pietcr Adriaense Sorgemakelyk Van Woggelum. 

Schuyler owned houses in Albany, on Broadway, State 
Street, Beaver Street, and North Pearl Street, where he 
resided at different times. His lot on Beaver Street was 
large, affording ample space on which to build a house for 
his Indian friends. After he bought the Flatts, he erected 
a new house on North Pearl Street for winter use, in which 
he died. 

On September 2, 1671, he bought a large house and lot 
of Captain Thomas Willet, late Mayor of New York. I only 
mention it for the sake of its historical value. In the 
patent granted to Willet by Governor Nicolls, it is recited 
" that a certain house and lot at Albany, late in the tenure 
and occupancy of Peter Van Allen," "which stand for 
feited and confiscated to his majesty as belonging to a 
subject of the States-General of the United Belgic Prov 
inces." Peter Van Allen had adhered to his govern 
ment, and refused to take the oath of allegiance to the 
crown of England. Hence his property was confiscated. 

120 ESOPUS. 

The confiscation of Tory and Loyalist property after the 
Revolution thus followed the example set by the English 
themselves when they took possession of the province. 
This lot was on the north side of State Street, a short dis 
tance above Broadway. The next year Schuyler sold the 
property on contract to Jeremias Van Rensselaer, resident- 
director of Rensselaerwyck, and in 1679, gave a deed there 
for to his widow, " Juffrow Maria Van Rensselaer." 

Schuyler bought a bouwery or farm of several hundred 
acres lying on the east side of the Hudson, which Johanna 
de Laet had received from Jeremiah Van Rensselaer in 
liquidation of her claim to a share of the manor. But this 
transaction more appropriately belongs to what will be 
said hereafter on the manor of Rensselaerwyck. 


Among the land patents, I discovered one to Philip 
Schuyler for farming lands and village lots at Esopus, now 
Kingston, N. Y. I was curious to learn what had induced 
him to make this venture at a place so far from home, ex 
posed as it was to attacks by surrounding Indians not al 
ways friendly. There were then but few white inhabitants 
between Fort Orange and New Amsterdam, and the coun 
try remained as it was when first discovered, occupied on 
both sides the river by numerous clans or tribes of Mohe- 
gans and Mincees. It was claimed by the West India Com 
pany that a fort had been built at the Esopus in 1614. If 
so, it had been soon abandoned and destroyed. De Vries, 
in his voyage (1639) U P anc ^ down the river, anchored his 
yacht at the mouth of the creek. He notes that " there 
is some good maize land upon which some Indians dwell." 
Had there been a fort, or white inhabitants, he would 
doubtless have mentioned it. There were several creeks 


or small rivers flowing into each other, or into the Hudson, 
along whose banks there were thousands of acres of rich 
farming land, occupied by a tribe of fierce and treacherous 
Indians, who were nearly related to the Delawares and to 
the New Jersey savages. The principal river opened an 
easy path to the Delaware, and gave them ready communi 
cation with their kindred tribes, who were of the same 
stock as those occupying the east shore of the Hudson. 
Its communication with the interior afforded facilities for 
the fur trade, which, with its rich lands, made it a desir 
able place for settlement. 

The tenants of Van Rensselaer, as their terms of service 
expired, desired to have farms of their own, and become 
freemen. But to obtain lands they had to go outside the 
manor a distance of some miles in any direction, and cut 
loose from white settlements. Here and there a family 
had located on the banks of the Hudson below the manor, 
living in isolated places among the savages. While near 
the Mohawks, their friends, they had little to fear from 
other Indians, but when beyond their immediate neighbor 
hood there was no assurance of safety. It required strong 
nerves, and more than ordinary self-reliance, to take up a 
farm as far off as Esopus. Men were found, however, to 
undertake the enterprise, and take the risk. 

Thomas .Chambers, an Englishman, who had lived in 
Holland, a carpenter by trade, found his way to New Am 
sterdam in 1642, and thence to Beverwyck, where he be 
came a tenant farmer of Van Rensselaer. He was success 
ful in agriculture, and soon aspired to the dignity of a 
land owner in a country where land was abundant and 
cheap. He visited Esopus and bought a farm of the In 
dians in 1652, for which, the next year, he procured a 
patent from Stuyvesant. Christopher Davids, a brother 
Englishman, soon after joined him. The way being 


opened, others were not slow in availing themselves of the 
opportunity thus presented to procure lands of their own. 
Even De Hulter, and his wife, the accomplished daughter 
of De Laet, purchased a tract of one thousand acres, and 
would have become residents had he lived. The settle 
ment was prospering, when in consequence of the Indian 
outbreak at New Amsterdam and vicinity, in 1655, such a 
terror prevailed that all the isolated settlers forsook their 
farms, and sought safety in the fortified towns. Chambers 
and his neighbors fled to Beverwyck, abandoning their 
buildings and growing crops to the savages. When the 
excitement subsided, and comparative peace had been se 
cured by the wise measures of Stuyvesant, they returned, 
and were joined by some others. For the next two years 
this little colony in the wilderness grew and prospered. 
On the first of May, 1658, there were between sixty and 
seventy inhabitants of different nationalities, chiefly Dutch, 
who had nine hundred and ninety schepels of grain in the 
ground. But there was no fortification, not even a house 
strong enough to resist an attack. The buildings were 
frail structures, roofed with straw or reeds, hardly afford 
ing shelter from the elements, much less security from 
enemies. There was no place to which the people could 
flee for protection in case the Indians became hostile. 
The inhabitants of Beverwyck had lived so many years in 
perfect security in the midst of savages, that they had be 
come indifferent to possible dangers, and when they re 
moved to Esopus they imagined themselves equally safe. 
They had formed their estimate of Indian character from 
that of the Mohawks, who were true to their pledges and 
firm in their friendships. The Indians of Esopus were of 
a different race, fickle, untruthful, and treacherous. Had 
the colonists known them as they afterward learned to 
know them, doubtless they would not have lived each one 


on his farm, but would have grouped their houses together, 
and surrounded them with stockades, they would at least 
have built some stronghold as a place of refuge for their 
families. Living apart, they were always at the mercy of 
their savage neighbors. 

The history of Esopus for the next five years forms the 
saddest of all the sad chapters in the history of New Neth- 
erland. On the first of May, 1658, a drunken savage shot 
and killed a man standing on the deck of a sloop lying at 
the landing-place, and then burned his house on the strand, 
his wife and children having escaped. The Indians now 
began a systematic persecution of the whites. They com 
pelled them to plough their corn patches ; threatening, by 
a lighted torch held to the roof, to burn their houses over 
their heads. They scoffingly told them that if they killed 
them they could settle it by a few fathoms of wampum, 
and in various ways so insulted them that they dared not 
expose themselves in their fields. They wrote to Stuyve- 
sant appealing for protection. In a most pathetic letter, 
written by their teacher and consoler of the sick, they say : 
" Christ did not desert us, but saved us by his own blood ; 
therefore do you not, our brothers, desert us, but come 
quickly to our help." 

Stuyvesant, ever prompt to protect the people in his 
charge, or to be present when there was any fighting to be 
done, responded to the appeal by leading sixty soldiers 
to their assistance. Having arrived at the mouth of the 
creek, he ordered his troops to land with the least possible 
noise, so that the savages might not be alarmed. Two 
Indians, who lived near the landing, were engaged to car 
ry a peaceful message to their sachems. Thomas Cham 
bers and Andries Van der Sluys, the teacher, who had 
been induced by " their longing for the expected help " to 
come down to the shore to look out for the vessels, met 


him at the strand, and conducted him and his soldiers 
to Chambers house, four miles inland. The next day he 
inarched to the house where the settlers were accustomed 
to hold their religious services, and conferred with the 
leading inhabitants as to the best course to be taken, all 
circumstances considered. He was opposed to hostilities 
at that time, because the country was not prepared for a 
general war, which would be likely to follow a war on the 
Esopus savages. Besides, the harvest, which promised a 
large yield, was near at hand, and, in case of war, might be 
utterly destroyed, to the damage not only of the farmers, 
but of the entire province. He preferred such measures as 
would preserve the peace, while protecting the people, and 
impressing the savages with his power to force them to 
make atonement for past offences, and to become more cir 
cumspect in future. In his heart, however, as revealed in 
a letter to the West India Company, he longed for a fitting 
opportunity to give a vigorous blow to some one of the 
most insolent tribes, and by its destruction warn the others 
of a like fate. 

He advised the farmers to remove their houses and 
barns to some one locality, and to surround them with 
palisades. To this project they objected, on account of 
the labor and expense, and asked him to station some sol 
diers among them, at least until after the harvest. To this 
Stuyvesant could not consent. The more they cavilled, 
the more he insisted. It was at last arranged according 
to Stuyvesant s wishes, and they signed an agreement, " to 
pull down our scattered habitations, and to move close to 
each other to the place indicated by the Honorable Gen 
eral," who had promised to assist them with the soldiers, 
and leave some of them as a guard. 

On the day appointed, the Indian sachems met him 
under a tree, and held a long conference, in which it was 


distinctly stated to them, that the Dutch first came to 
Esopus on their urgent solicitation, and did not occupy 
one foot of their land which had not been duly bought 
and paid for. The Indians began by rehearsing the events 
of the war of 1643, in which some of their people had been 
killed. But Stuyvesant, interrupting them, said that those 
things had been done before his time, and had been settled 
by the peace. Since he had come they had nothing to 
complain of, as he had treated them with courtesy and 
kindness. In view of his uniform peaceful treatment of 
them, and their anxiety to have the Dutch settle among 
them, he asked why they had committed the murder, and 
perpetrated other outrages ? They hung their heads in 
silence, and looked on the ground, but at last replied, that 
it was occasioned by the boisson the Dutch had sold them ; 
that this boissoti) or brandy, made them crazy, and their 
young men were uncontrollable, and even then were 
spoiling for a fight. At this Stuyvesant sprang up, and 
challenged them to fight then and there, offering to match 
one against two, for now was the time for it, when they 
could meet men face to face, and not women and children. 
Stuyvesant then told them that he did not now come to 
fight them, or do them any harm, but to remove his peo 
ple to some convenient place, which should be secured by 
a palisade, where they would not be subject to insults and 
annoyances. He would forbid them to furnish any rum to 
the Indians ; and thus there would be no excuse to murder 
peaceable citizens, and destroy their property. They must, 
however, secure the murderer, and deliver him into his 
hands for punishment ; they must also pay for the houses 
and buildings they had burned, and the stock they had de 
stroyed. Then there might be peace between them. As the 
day was far spent, the Indians retired to their wigwams, 
and Stuyvesant to advise with his officers and the citizens. 


The next day the place for the concentrated settle 
ment or village was selected, and the lines run for the 
stockade. The Indians came in the afternoon, and asked 
that war might not be made upon them on account of 
the late occurrences, as they would not repeat the in 
juries. They were ashamed that the challenge to fight 
had not been accepted, and hoped it would not be re 
ported to their prejudice, for they now put aside all 
malice, and hereafter would do no harm to any one. 
Presents of wampum were exchanged in ratification of 
the treaty. Before the Indians left, they were asked to 
sell the land which had been chosen for the village, be 
cause it was always the practice of the Dutch to buy the 
lands they occupied. 

The next day was Sunday, and there was rest in the 
camp. On Monday all hands, citizens and soldiers, began 
the work of building a fortified village, and while thus 
employed a large body of Indians appeared. Their chiefs 
asked an interview with Stuyvesant, which was readily 
given. They told him that they had agreed to give him 
the land for the village " to grease his feet for the long 
journey he had made to come to them." They repeated 
their former promises, saying that hereafter they would 
live with the Dutch like brothers. 

The work on the stockade, and the removal of the build 
ings within the enclosure, were prosecuted with zeal. 
Meantime Stuyvesant sailed up to Fort Orange to procure 
some planks and other materials for building, returning 
on June i2th. Carpenters were sent from Fort Orange to 
assist. There was some delay occasioned by rains, but the 
work was completed by June 2ist ; and Stuyvesant with 
half the troops embarked for home, leaving twenty-four 
soldiers and an officer, to occupy the barracks which had 
been erected within the palisades. 


Stuyvesant had become possessed of some farming lands 
at Esopus, which he had intended to cultivate, but had 
been deterred heretofore by the unsettled state of the 
country. Now he had erected a barn under the superin 
tendence of his carpenter, Frederick Philipse, 1 and soon 
after sent up a farmer furnished with all the necessary 
stock and tools. It was a rich farming country, and if 
settled with small farmers protected from the Indians 
could produce grain enough for all New Netherland. To 
secure protection, besides the fortified village, a romlnit 
or redoubt, was built at the landing-place, according to 
instructions from the Company. 

Stuyvesant had no sooner submitted his report to the 
Council, than he received a letter from the officer left at 
the Esopus, saying that the Indians were becoming in 
solent, and had killed a horse belonging to one of the 
farmers. Some of them who had not been present during 
the negotiations were very angry that the challenge to 
fight had not been accepted. Their taunts raised a great 
commotion among the savages, so that five hundred of 
them gathered around the village threatening an attack. 
Some of the farmers had not yet removed their dwellings 
and barns within the stockade, and were exposed to 
instant destruction. Andries Louwrens wrote urgently 
for advice and ammunition. But he found means to ap- 

1 Five years afterward, Philipse was engaged in merchandise, and in the fall 
of 1663, in company with two other New Amsterdam merchants, rode with 
six wagon-loads of wheat from this village to the strand without an escort. 
In 1674 he was the richest man in New York, and when he died, in 1702, 
he was the richest man in America, and lord of the manor of Philipsburg. 

The fact that Frederick Philipse was a carpenter is probably of itself 
enough to disprove the fabulous geneaology inserted in Bolton s History 
of Westchester County, which would trace the family to a certain Hussite 
Viscount Felyps of Bohemia. It is true that Bohemia was a strange 
country, according to Shakespeare, but in point of fact it never owned 
the title of viscount. 


pease the savages, and they dispersed, saying, however, 
that they would soon return. Affairs were in such a 
critical state that it was believed by the council to be ad 
visable for the director-general again to visit the settle 
ment, which he did with fifty soldiers. 

On his arrival, on October i5th, he held a conference 
with some of the leading sachems, in which he demanded 
full satisfaction and compensation, and a grant of the 
large plain on the creek, as indemnity for the trouble and 
expense. At a second conference the Indians apparently 
assented to the most of the Dutch demands, and were 
given until the next day to consult among themselves, 
and come to a final agreement. They did not keep their 
appointment, and as Stuyvesant s business required de 
spatch, he sent two interpreters to their wigwams to 
learn the reasons of their absence. They told the inter 
preters plainly "they had no intention of giving satis 
faction, and that what they had said and done yesterday 
was of no consequence." Stuyvesant seeing that nothing 
more could be accomplished, and affairs at Manhattan re 
quiring his presence, left fifty soldiers in charge of En 
sign Dirck Smith, with instructions to be watchful, give 
no offence to the Indians, and protect the farmers while 
ploughing and seeding ; and then sailed for home. 

The Indians evidently stood in awe of the soldiers. 
They visited the settlement almost daily, and made many 
fair promises, which were not kept. At last, in a long 
conference, they gave the land demanded, but wished a 
present in return. As there was now a solid peace, they 
said, they hoped there was " nothing to fear from the 
soldiers." The mere presence of this small band of armed 
men had brought them to terms. The negotiation had 
occupied much of the day, and when the terms had been 
agreed on, the ensign, Stoll, and Chambers rode out to 


view the lands. On their return they wrote their report, 
adding in a postscript : 

"All this talking lias been done with dry lips. Your 
honor may imagine how zealously we have sat here with 
these kings ; but we hope your honor will remember his 
servants, and give us something good for our lungs, which 
we could apply ourselves if we had it." 

The following winter passed in comparative quiet. In 
the spring the Indians again began to murmur and 
threaten, because they had not received the expected 
present. In July, warning was given that the settlers 
must be on their guard, as the savages were watching their 
opportunity, which they supposed they would have in 
harvest time, when the men would be scattered through 
their fields. The director was ill, but sent up Dominic 
Megapolcnsis to advise, console the sick, and procure 
information. Ensign Smith, who had gone to Manhattan 
leaving Sergeant Louressen in charge of the small gar 
rison, now returned to his responsible and dangerous post. 
Rev. Harmanus Bloem, soon to become the minister 
at Esopus, w r as of the party. Fie had recently arrived 
from Holland to supply some one of the vacant places, 
and had been persuaded to visit this outpost of civilization 
before accepting a call elsewhere. Some of the sachems 
soon called upon them, and made several complaints as to 
their treatment by the Dutch, and chiefly that the honor 
able general had not fulfilled his promise as to presents. 

Although the people hastened to call on Dominie Blocin 
to become their pastor, they could not suppress their 
fears that the Indians meant them no good, and intended 
to destroy them at the first favorable opportunity. They 
could not turn a deaf ear to the warnings they had re 
ceived. They urgently asked for means of defence, and 


that the general would visit them, to inspire confidence in 
the settlers, and awe the Indians as well. Their inter 
course had become so straitened that the usual occupa 
tions on the farms had been neglected. Finally about one 
hundred Indians, apparently to disarm suspicion, came 
to the village with their women and children, and in a 
friendly way advised the Dutch to go on with their farm 
ing without fear, as they were resolved to keep the peace 
and do them no harm. But they could not understand 
why a fort had been built, for it would have been more 
convenient for the farmers to gather their crops, attend 
to their work, and live on their farms as formerly. 
Meanwhile the people and the general were not deceived ; 
the former were circumspect and watchful, and the gen 
eral sent more soldiers, with three cannon, under the com 
mand of Dirck Smith. 

The opportunity for which the Indians were waiting 
came full soon. On September lyth, Stuyvesant s farmer 
reported to him that the savages were " very quiet," but 
that their intentions were little known. On the night of 
the ipth the quiet was broken, and a new war commenced. 
Some savages were raising an uproar near the village, 
and Ensign Smith sent a squad of soldiers, under com 
mand of Sergeant Louressen, to learn the cause but not to 
molest any one. The sergeant reported by a messenger, 
that there was a crowd of savages there, and asked for 
further instructions. Some of the citizens volunteered to 
go to the sergeant s assistance. A collision occurred, in 
which one Indian was killed, another wounded, and one 
taken prisoner. Accounts differ as to which party was the 
aggressor. The soldiers and citizens reported that the 
Indians fired upon them, but the Catskill Indians, several 
days after the occurrence, reported at Fort Orange that 
the Dutch were the fust to fire. They gave a minute and 


plausible account of the whole affair. In substance it is 
this : That some Indians had been plucking corn for 
Thomas Chambers, and after their work was finished they 
asked him for some rum, which he gave them. They then 
retired to the bushes near the village and drank from the 
bottle. When the liquor was exhausted, about midnight, 
they wanted more, and one of them with the empty bottle 
went to the fort, where he procured a supply from a 
soMicr. After the bottle was once passed around, they 
began to fight among themselves, and one more drunken 
than the rest twice fired off his gun, with powder only. 
One of their number left them, and the rest laid down to 
sleep, when the Dutch came and fired into them, killing 
one and wounding another. 

Some writers have accepted this latter version without a 
question, and relate the story as credible history. It was 
only an Indian story, and should be received with reserve. 
But whoever had been the aggressor, there was now cause 
for war. The day following the encounter a party of sol 
diers and citizens went to the river, and on their return 
were captured by the Indians without resistance. The un- 
harvested grain, and all property within their reach, was 
destroyed. Unable to penetrate the village, the Indians 
fired burning arrows upon the thatched dwellings Tind 
barns. The numbers of the hostile tribe were increased 
by neighboring clans, until there were five hundred yell 
ing savages holding a close investment of the fortified 
place. No one could go outside the stockade except at 
.the risk of his life, and all seemed doomed to destruction. 
The poor prisoners were put to death one by one, suffer 
ing horrible torments. Two of them were brought within 
sight of their friends, and after suffering terrible mutila 
tion and tortures were burned at the stake. 

Only during the night, when the Indians slept, as is 


their custom, could the besieged find any rest. Under the 
cover of darkness Ensign Smith contrived to send a 
messenger to the general conveying the news of their 
condition. It was wholly unexpected. Stuyvesant, be 
lieving from all the information he had previously re 
ceived, that it was safe to withdraw" the military from 
Esopus, had ordered the soldiers to return, and the sloop 
in which Ensign Smith designed to embark brought his 
alarming message. He was unprepared to render prompt 
assistance, having under pressing necessity sent sixty men 
and officers to the Delaware, leaving only six invalids to 
garrison the fort at New Amsterdam. He consulted with, 
his Council and the officers of the militia, who advised 
him to call for volunteers. After wasting much precious 
time, and procuring only a half dozen men, he caused the 
three companies of militia to parade under arms, and 
after a feeling address he again called for volunteers. 
Only twenty-five men responded to the call. These were 
not enough. One entire company was then drafted for 
the service. These with the company s employes, ser 
vants from his own house and farm, twenty English from 
the villages on Long Island, and as many Indians, "our 
friends," made up a force of nearly two hundred men. 
With this little army he sailed for Esopus, on October 6th, 
and arrived on the loth. The savages had raised the 
siege shortly before, after a furious attack upon the 
village, in which they killed one man, wounded several, 
and burned with their fire-burning arrows one dwelling- 
house and four grain-stacks. They had besieged the place 
twenty-three days. 

Nothing was to be gained by a pursuit, as by recent 
rains the lowlands were under water, and the savages be 
yond his reach. After supplying the village with military 
stores and medicines, he returned to the river. An incident 


occurred while the men were going aboard the vessels which 
caused him great disgust. The barking of a dog, which 
the citizen-soldiers mistook for the Indian war-whoop, 
caused such a stampede among them that, preferring 
drowning to capture, many of them plunged into the river. 
Through the influence of the vice-director at Fort 
Orange, some Mohawks and Mohegan sachems went to 
the Esopus, and induced the Indians to surrender two of 
their prisoners who \vere yet alive, and agree to an armis 
tice much needed by the farmers. Ensign Smith, writing 
on this subject, said, "We behave ourselves as friends, but 
they show themselves as rascals." The armistice was for 
no definite time. The Indians were profuse in their ex 
pressions of friendship, but generally failed to keep their 
promises. Stuyvesant perceiving that they were not sin 
cere, and learning from trustworthy sources that they were 
only waiting an opportunity to strike another blow, deter 
mined to fight them with their own tactics. He confiden 
tially instructed Ensign Smith to preserve the appearance 
of friendship, and watch his opportunity ; when twelve or 
more of their leading men were in his power, to seize 
them and hold them as prisoners. After securing his pris 
oners, he was directed to attack their nearest wigwams with 
all his forces. The ensign was a brave man, and worthy 
the confidence of his chief. He conducted himself with 
skill and prudence, keeping his own counsel. As the In 
dians came to trade he took their venison, paying fair 
prices in such goods as were required, even to a " small 
box of powder." "We do not trust them far, nor they 
us." " We are waiting for the same they are waiting for." 
Meantime Stuyvesant consulted his Council and the bur 
gomasters on the question of war. It was their unani 
mous opinion that the savages ought to be punished, but 
that the time should be deferred to the next autumn. 


As soon as the river opened, in March, 1660, the director 
hastened to the Esopus. Ensign Smith had obeyed in 
structions. He had captured "twelve of the principal 
runners and ringleaders," and was on an expedition against 
an Indian village, when Stuyvesant arrived. War against 
the savages was immediately proclaimed. The forces at 
Esopus were re-enforced. The Indians were insulting and 
aggressive with their tongues, bidding the ensign to hang 
the prisoners if he would, but that they would fight. Hav 
ing received notice that the Indians intended to attack him 
in the night, he marched his men to a convenient place and 
lay in ambush. When discovered, too soon for his pur 
pose, he attacked them and put them to flight, killing and 
wounding some of them. 

The Indians, at last convinced that open warfare was not 
desirable, resorted to their usual tactics, and sued for 
peace. Other tribes interposed their influence, and sent 
delegations to Stuyvesant, among them some sachems 
from the Delawares. They represented that the Esopus 
savages were willing to surrender all the lands along the 
creek, and make restitution of everything, provided that 
their captive friends were returned. On another occasion, 
that all the Esopus Indians were for "peace, peace," on 
any terms. The director gave them little encouragement, 
but insisted that the Esopus chiefs should make personal 
application. He did consent, however, to send a confiden 
tial agent to them, and learn whether they had authorized 
other tribes to act in their behalf, and whether they were 
really disposed to peace. Ensign Smith meanwhile an 
noyed them by excursions, and the capture of every man 
lie could get within his toils. He inspired in them such 
wholesome fear that they kept out of his reach, and ceased 
their visits to the village. 

Stuyvesant, in his numerous interviews with the neigh- 


boring tribes, distinctly told them that the Indian prison 
ers would not be returned, because they "were all bold, 
hard-hearted fellows, and some of them the murderers of 
the Dutch prisoners ;" there could be no hope of a per 
manent peace if they were returned to the tribe. 1 De 
Ruyter, his confidential agent, prevailed upon the chiefs 
to ask for peace. They came to Ensign Smith and avowed 
that they had asked the other tribes to intercede for them ; 
that they all, sachems, warriors, and women, sincerely 
asked for peace ; that they consented to all the conditions 
imposed by the Dutch sachem, including the surrender of 
their lands, reserving only a small piece situated at a great 
distance, and concluded by requesting Stuyvesant s pres 
ence to agree on a firm and lasting peace. 

Stuyvesant, accompanied by the late and acting burgo 
masters of New Amsterdam, arrived at Esopus early in 
July, 1660, and on the 15 th concluded a peace with the 
savages. It was an occasion of much ceremony and some 
display. Besides the burgomasters, the director was at 
tended by a retinue of officers and civilians, such as he 
thought the importance of the business required. There 
were also present sachems of the Mohawks, the Mohegans, 
the Catskills, the Minquas, the Wappings, the Hackink- 
sackys, and the Staten Islanders. These were witnesses to 
the signatures of the contracting parties, while Stuyve 
sant, the two burgomasters, and Arent Van Curler attached 
their names to the treaty on the part of the Dutch, and 
four Esopus sachems made their marks. 

In the articles of peace the Indians conveyed all the 
territory of the Esopus to the Dutch as an indemnity, and 
agreed to remove to a distance. They also promised to 

1 They were transported to the island of Curagoa. Stuyvesant justified 
this disposition of them in an argument to which most persons would as 


pay five hundred schepels of corn for the ransom they had 
taken for the prisoners whom they had not returned, as 
well as to do no injury thereafter to person or property. 
Nothing was said as to the transported prisoners, for Stuy- 
vesant s resolution not to surrender them was unalterable. 
" Thus done and concluded at the settlement on the Eso- 
pus, under the blue sky," closes the treaty record. 

It became evident within a few months that the Indians 
did not intend to keep the peace longer than suited their 
convenience or caprice. In December they were quite 
bold and savage, and had not yet delivered the corn. 
However, their conduct had given some hope of continued 
peace. To keep them faithful to their pledges Stuyvesant 
recalled two of the transported Indians, and returned them 
to their friends. Affairs on the whole were prospering. 
Rev. Harmanus Bloem had been settled as pastor of the 
church. The number of the inhabitants was increasing. 
Arrivals of new settlers were so many that more room in 
the village was required. The director with his retinue 
again visited the place, made a new distribution of lots to 
be enclosed with palisades, named the village Wiltwyck, 
appointed magistrates, commissioned Roeloff Swartwout 
sheriff, and ordered a parsonage to be built. 

As the fur trade declined, owing to the almost continu 
ous wars of the Five Nations against other Indian tribes, 
or the French in Canada, the impression became stronger 
day by day that other sources of profit and investment 
should be sought. Agriculture was profitable to those 
who gave it their attention, and the conviction gradually 
forced itself on the minds of the people, that the produc 
tions of the soil were the means to make them independ 
ent, and enrich the country. There were large tracts of 
fertile lands which only required the plough and the care 
of the laborer to yield abundant harvests. They could be 


purchased at little cost. Why not, then, open up large 
boiiwerics, or farms, and thus find use for unemployed 
capital ? In proportion to the population, there were 
many who had no capital, and were ready to give their 
labor to others on easy terms. The negro had been intro 
duced. His unpaid services could be made more available 
on the farm than in the shop. 

The director-general had set the example. He had a 
farm on Manhattan Island, and even had recently opened 
another at Esopus. His example influenced others. The 
country of the Esopus had been surrendered to the gov 
ernment. It was large enough for several farms, and con 
tained the richest land in the province. Why not improve 
it ? It could be had for the asking. As an inducement to 
settlers, Stuyvesant offered to dispose of it at a nominal 
price to those who would work it. A few gentlemen of 
Bevcrwyck, personal friends and relatives, took the sub 
ject into consideration, and finally agreed to make a settle 
ment and engage in farming. They preferred to locate 
their lands together, on recently ceded territory, and or 
ganize a NEW VILLAGE. 

They sent the following petition to the director-general 
and Council : 

To the Noble, Worshipful, his Honor the Director-Gen 
eral and the Honorable Council of New Netherland. 

Show with all respect Philipp Pieterse Schuyler, Goosen 
Gerritse, together with Jan Thomase and Andries Her- 
bertse, inhabitants of the village of Beverwyck near fort 
Orange, that it is evident the prosperity of this province of 
New Netherland rests principally on agriculture and com 
merce ; therefore the petitioners are very desirous to es 
tablish with many more people a New Village at the Great 
Esopus, where a great deal of uncultivated land lies, and the 
petitioners and other people are very willing and resolved 


to begin farming in earnest and continue in it ; they ad 
dress themselves therefore to your Hon ble Worships with 
their humble request, that your Hon hle Worships will 
please for the benefit of the province to order a survey for 
a new village and farmlands on the Great Esopus, in the 
most convenient locality which may be found, and have 
it laid out in as many lots as the area of the land may ad 
mit ; and whereas the above named petitioners are the first 
undertakers and settlers to enter upon and cultivate the 
aforesaid lands on the Esopus, they respectfully request, 
that your Hon ble Worships will please to give and grant to 
each of them forty to fifty morgens of land (eighty to one 
hundred acres) at and near the spot where the new village 
on the Esopus shall be laid out : the petitioners promise, 
each for himself, to enter upon their allotted lands imme 
diately, to fence, plough and sow it, to build on the lots in 
the village, houses, barns, etc., and to furnish the cattle ne 
cessary for such business ; that the petitioners may also re 
ceive the title deeds in dcbita forma for the lands and the 
house lots, which doing etc., they remain 

Your Hon blc Worships very obedient servants, 



1 His surname was Douw, although according to custom he seldom used 
it. He was the ancestor of the Douw families residing in Albany and vi 
cinity. He emigrated, in 1638, from Frederickstadt, and settled in Bever- 
wyck. He possessed more than ordinary business capacities, and laid the 
foundation of a large estate, portions of which are yet in possession of his 

I 2 Goosen Gerritse, surnamed Van Sc/iaick, was a self-made man. His 
| early education was defective, as may be inferred from the fact that until 
his later years he always signed with a mark. He never used his surname 
except to contracts and deeds. He was engaged in an extensive and profit 
able business, and left a large property to his heirs. Van Schaick is a 
well-known name in the annals of New York. 

z Andries Herbertsen Constapel Van der Blaas, was one of Patroon Van 
Rensselaer s tenants, and in 1652 took the oath of fealty with other ten 
ants and retainers. After his term of service expired, he engaged in busi- 


On April 6, 1662, the Council considered the petition, 
and resolved " to lay out a new settlement on the Esopus, 
and to accommodate the petitioners as much as occasion 
shall permit." 

Other parties joined the petitioners, and before the 4ih 
of May following the farms and village-lots were sur 
veyed and allotted, although the patents were not issued 
until April, 1663. The village was situated some four 
miles west from Wiltwyck, and is now named Hurley. 

Immediately after the allotment the proprietors let their 
farms and lots to other parties, on favorable terms, to 
wit ; the first year rent free ; the lessors furnished building 
materials for the houses and barns, grain for planting, a 
sufficient number of horses, cows, swine, "six hens and a 
rooster ;" also, " a plough, and a cart, with all things be 
longing to it except plough-chains." After the first year 
the tenants were to pay for each farm and village-lot an 
annual rent of "four hundred and fifty guilders in beavers, 
at eight guilders each, or in grain at the market price, 
beaver valuation, or else in wampum, calculating a beaver 
at sixteen guilders." 

Within a year there was a population in the New 
Village of about forty persons, men, women, and children, 
who were busily engaged in tilling the soil, too much en 
gaged to heed the warnings of danger from the savages. 
Within three months after the first settlement a horse had 
been killed by the Indians in violation of their treaty 
promise, and for which they were unwilling to pay. Rum, 
as usual, was probably at the bottom, for notwithstanding 

ness, and speculated in lands. lie held the office of magistrate f ;r one 
or more terms. His speculations were not successful. In the fall of 1662 
he was insolvent, and a fugitive. His property was seized and sold t> sat 
isfy his creditors. It is not known that he left male descendants, and his 
name disappears from the records. 


the laws and the vigilance of the officers, contraband trad 
ers, and the distiller, Jacobsen Backer, "who are of the 
devil," smuggled liquors among the Indians. The Kintc- 
koying of the savages near-by the village alarmed the 
military officers of Wiltwyck so much that they instituted 
regulations for drilling the militia, fearing that at any 
hour they might be called on to defend themselves from 
attack. At the New Village, on one occasion, the savages 
procured rum from Louis Dubo, a Walloon, son-in-law of 
the distiller, and became so frenzied that they threw each 
other into the fire. 

The better and more industrious class of citizens used 
all legal and moral efforts to suppress this contraband 
traffic in liquors, but without complete success. They 
feared the consequences, but neglected to provide means 
for their security. They ploughed and planted the fields, 
but did not erect the palisades around their dwellings. 
The mutterings of danger grew ominous. The director 
hastened to their assistance as soon as the river was clear 
of ice. Fie published an ordinance requiring the inhabi 
tants to close up the gaps in their stockade, imposing se 
vere penalties for non-performance. That the work might 
be prosecuted speedily, he appointed overseers, and in 
structed them " to forward the work according to order, 
and exact the fines from the negligent by prompt execu 

The war-cloud that hung over the devoted villages grew 
darker day by day. The Indians, who had engaged to do 
the people no harm either in person or property, and 
never to visit the settlements in large numbers, grew bold 
in rascality. They committed numerous offences, came 
in crowds to the villages, and asserted their claims to the 

1 Kintxkoye, an Indian dance. 


lands they had surrendered. They forbade the erection of 
palisades around the New Village, and prohibited the use 
of the lands. The situation was so critical that the over 
seers dared not proceed with the work. They petitioned 
the director-general to send them soldiers for their pro 
tection until they could finish the fortification, urging its 
importance ; and that a present might be sent the Indians 
to keep them quiet. The chief proprietors sent an ur 
gent petition to the same effect. These petitions were 
considered in Council, May 10, 1663, and it was resolved 
" to send at the first convenient opportunity a consider 
able present to the Esopus savages." 

Stuyvesant was never an idle man, always performing 
his duties promptly. At this time he was overworked. 
The affairs on the Delaware required much attention. 
The English villages on Long Island gave him a great 
deal of trouble. His negotiations with Connecticut as to 
boundaries and other matters absorbed his thoughts and 
time. He found no leisure or opportunity to inform the 
magistrates of Wiltwyck as to the action of the Council 
until the last of May. His letter was received June 4th. 
The next day the Indian sachems were " notified to be 
prepared to expect the arrival of the honorable director- 
general, to receive the presents, and to renew the peace." 
It was too late. The villages were doomed. The savages 
had determined to destroy them, and had matured their 
plans. On the morning of the yth of June, there came 
at intervals to Wiltwyck several small bands, with beans 
and maize to sell to the inhabitants. As the farmers were 
in the fields, they gained easy access within the gates, 
scattering themselves throughout the village. With their 
weapons concealed under their blankets, they assumed the 
appearance of friendship, and engaged in innocent traffic. 
Suddenly some horsemen came rushing through the 


western gate, crying out, " The Indians have burnt the 
New Village." Immediately the savages fired a signal 
gun, instead of their usual whoop, and in silence begun 
their work of murder. With their tomahawks they 
struck down their unwary victims. Women with their 
infants in their arms were butchered. While some set 
fire to the combustible houses to windward, others 
dragged women and children outside the gates, and held 
them as prisoners. They did their work so quickly and 
silently, that those of one house did not know what fearful 
scenes were being enacted in another. All the men, 
however, were not at work in the fields. There were a 
few soldiers in the guard-house ; the miller and his 
servants were grinding at the mill ; the sheriff and his 
clerks were bus}" in his office ; the minister and two or 
three carpenters were working on his new dwelling ; the 
brewer and his helper were in the brewery ; Tjerck 
Claesen de Witt, 1 one of the magistrates, remained on 
duty. Soon the alarm was raised by the outcries of flee 
ing women, and the men, arming as they could, hurried 
to the rescue. They forced the savages to leave their 
barbarous warfare on women and children, and run to 
cover. Fortunately the wind turned to another quarter, 
or the whole vill-age would have been destroyed. The 
smoke of the burning buildings was seen by the men in 
the distant fields, who, dropping their tools and seizing 
their guns, came rushing home. The savages were now 
quickly driven from the village, and sought safety in 
flight, carrying with them their captives. 

Although the time was short, the Indians had done a 
fearful work. Twelve citizens and soldiers were killed, 

1 The ancestor of the De Witt family in America. Governor De Witt 
Clinton, on his mother s side, was one of his descendants. He was a 
blood relative of John De Witt, the Grand Pensionary of Holland. 


chiefly those returning from the fields by Indians in am 
bush. Four women, too ill to be carried away, and two 
little children, were killed, and burned in their houses. 
Eight men were wounded, one of whom died of Ins in 
juries. Five women, including two relatives of Volckert 
Douw, one of the projectors of the New Village, and four 
children, one the daughter of De Witt, were carried off. 
Twelve houses were burned. The scene, as described by 
Dominie Bloem, in a letter to the director, was appalling : 

" The great God has allowed the savages heavily to 
visit our neighbor hamlet and this place, whereby the one 
was totally ruined and reduced to ashes, and the other 
partially destroyed ; in both places several people were 
killed, smothered in their blood, and wounded, as well as a 
large number of animals ; many of us have been captured 
by the heathen, and led away as prisoners ; and all this was 
done under the cover of friendship, in an instant, and with 
great cruelty, so that it was pitiful and distressing to look 
at, for death had come upon us and in our houses quickly 
and unexpectedly to destroy the children in their cradles, 
the young men on the streets. The dead bodies of men 
lay here and there like dung-heaps on the field, and the 
burnt and roasted corpses like sheaves behind the mower." 

The New Village was entirely destroyed, except an un 
covered barn. Three men were killed, and one was taken 
prisoner ; eight women and four children were carried 
into captivity. The men in the fields, when they saw the 
smoke of their burning dwellings which were surrounded 
by a crowd of yelling savages, lost all hope of rendering 
any personal assistance. Unhitching their horses and 
mounting, they sought the aid of their neighbors. Some 
rode to Wiltwyck into the jaws of death ; others to the 
redoubt on the river, only to learn that not a soldier could 
be spared from his post. 


When the news reached the director-general, he gave 
some hurried directions to Secretary Van Ruyven, to warn 
the neighboring villages to be on their guard, and started 
for Wiltwyck. On his arrival, June i4th, he encouraged 
the people, gave them written instructions, and left the 
next day for Fort Orange, to enlist the Mohawks in an 
effort to recover the captives. Finding no north-bound 
vessel at the strand, he returned to Manhattan. He called 
a meeting of the Council for consultation. They were of 
one mind, that war should be made on the treacherous 
natives, " for the reputation of the country and the Chris 
tian nations." But their "hands were bound" for the 
present on account of the captive women and children. 
They must be rescued, perhaps by friendly Indians ; 
meantime preparations should be made to punish the 
E sop us savages. 

While making unremitting efforts to release the cap 
tives, the work of preparation went steadily on. The 
West India Company, in the throes of bankruptcy, had 
disbanded most of the soldiery in the province, and, in 
violation of their engagements, had left the people to pro 
tect themselves. It was therefore necessary to raise vol 
unteer troops. Bounties were offered, and other induce 
ments held out as a reward for bravery and patriotism. 
In two weeks the little army was ready to march. The 
burgomaster, Martin Cregier, was commissioned captain- 
lieutenant, and had supreme command in the absence of 
the director. He arrived at the redoubt July 4th, and 
without loss of time transferred his troops and supplies to 
Wiltwyck, being watched the while by three Indians sta 
tioned on a distant hill in full sight of the landing. 

Only one prisoner had as yet been released. She was 
the wife of Surgeon Van Imborgh, and daughter of La 
Montague, vice-director at Fort Orange. She had been 


redeemed with a large present by a Mohawk sachem. 
Although much the larger number of prisoners were with 
the Esopus savages, many were scattered here and there 
among the tribes who aided in the attack on the villages. 
The escape of Mrs. Van Imborgh was timely and fortu 
nate. She gave important information as to the number 
and location of the enemy, and acted as guide to the 
troops when they first marched into the Indian country. 

Captain Cregier has left an interesting journal of his 
operations against the savages, from July 4, 1663, when he 
landed, to January 3, 1664, the date of his return to Man 
hattan, from which we glean a few r of the more important 

Two Wappingers came to the redoubt to sell some 
meat, and were detained. From them it was learned who 
were the allies of the Esopus Indians, and their strength 
when they assaulted the settlements. The oldest of the 
two, under the seductive influence of a small present, was 
communicative. He told the captain that his companion 
was one of the party in the murderous attempt on Wilt- 
wyck, and that there was now a number of the enemy 
hiding on the east side of the river, and offered to guide 
them to the place. A party of soldiers, under experienced 
officers, was immediately ordered to the hiding-place. 
The third day after the party returned, with a squaw and 
three children prisoners, having killed six Indians and 
taken some booty. From the squaw the captain obtained 
a description of the fort occupied by the Esopus Indians, 
and its locality, agreeing with that of Mrs. Van Imborgh. 

Captain Cregier was now ready to march into the In 
dian country, but awaited the result of the Mohawk ne 
gotiations for the captives, four of whom were exchanged, 
through their instrumentality, for the squaw and her two 
children. The Mohawk sachems returned to the woods 



with presents to make another effort at rescue. Three 
days afterward they returned, bringing with them one 
white woman. They reported that the savages were very 
angry, threatened to kill them, and would deliver no 
more prisoners until Corlaer * and Rentslaer 2 brought 
goods and made peace with them. They were deter 
mined to make a stand in their fort, threatening to kill 
their prisoners if attacked. 

Cregier thought it was now time to make some demon 
strations against the enemy. He called a council of war, 
who determined that an expedition should march the next 
day. The forces consisted of two hundred and ten men, 
including " seven of the Company s negroes," and forty- 
one Long Island Indians, under Lieutenant Van Couwen- 
hoven, all under command of Captain-Lieutenant Cregier, 
Mrs. Van Imborgh acting as guide. After a fatiguing 
march of two days they arrived at the Indian fort, only to 
find it deserted. It had been abandoned two days, so well 
had the Indians kept themselves informed as to the move 
ments of the troops. A captured squaw and three horses 
were their only trophies. They remained on the ground 
three days, occupied in cutting down the corn in the field, 
and burning the old corn and beans stored in pits. In 
the three days they cut down nearly two hundred acres of 
green corn, and burned above a hundred pits-full of dried 
corn and beans. On the morning of the fourth day they 
" set fire to the fort and houses, and while they were in full 
blaze marched out in good order." 

The army arrived at Wiltwyck at nine in the evening of 

1 Arent Van Curlaer, founder of Schenectady. He was so much re 
spected by the Mohawks that they gave his name to all the English colo 
nial governors of New York. 

2 Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, director of the colony of Rensselaerwyck. 
He was also much loved by the Indians. 


the same day, July 3ist, having made a march of ten Dutch 
miles, equal to forty English. 

For the next thirty days the troops were mostly em 
ployed in guarding the reapers and laborers gathering the 
harvest, which seems to have been abundant. The grain 
in the fields of the New Village was not neglected. One 
day fifty reapers, with thirty wagons, were sent to the 
"burnt village, called the Great Plot," protected by an 
escort of eighty men. Meantime the efforts to rescue the 
captives were continued. Lieutenant Van Couwenhoven 
was commissioned to patrol the river in a sloop, and di 
rected to call on the Wappinger sachems with presents, to 
secure their services in this business. One night he rode 
at anchor before the Dans Kamer (six miles above New- 
burgh), where the Indians were Kintekoying, firing guns, and 
keeping up such an uproar " that the woods rung again." 
He reported to Captain Cregier, warning him to be on his 
guard, for it was said by Indians along the shore, that the 
Esopus savages, to the number of four hundred, including 
their allies, "intended to surprise the fort in about two 
days." Van Couwenhoven s efforts resulted in the release 
of one woman and three children. 

The Esopus Indians were building a new fort about four 
hours distant from their old one ; the harvest had been 
gathered ; only four captives had been recovered in the last 
thirty days ; the savages were still hostile and defiant. A 
new council of war decided that another expedition should 
set out in search of the enemy. On September 3d, Captain 
Cregier began his march, with only fifty-five men. The 
expedition was conducted so prudently, that the men were 
within a few paces of the Indian fort before they were dis 
covered. The attack was then made so promptly, that the 
Indians, who were working on the palisades, had no time 
to arm. They were routed with considerable slaughter. 


It was a complete surprise, and the enemy fled in confu 
sion across the creek, where they made a feeble stand, but 
soon dispersed. The Indians lost their war-chief, fourteen 
warriors, four women, and three children, with many 
wounded, and thirteen prisoners. In the action the Dutch 
had three killed and six wounded. Twenty-three of the 
white captives were released. As there were more wound 
ed than horses to carry them, the council of war did not 
think it prudent to cut down the corn, lest more should be 
wounded, and greater difficulties incurred in carrying them 
home. They found a large amount of Indian property, 
" which could well fill a sloop," among which were twenty- 
four guns and twenty pounds of powder. What they 
could not carry away they destroyed, and began their re 
turn march, estimated to be over fifty miles, to Wiltwyck. 
On the way, one prisoner refused to go farther. " We 
took him aside and gave him his last meal." The expedi 
tion was absent four days. 

The remainder of the month of September was spent in 
guarding the farmers while they were gathering the fall 
crops and preparing the fields for the next spring. 

A new expedition into the Indian country was organ 
ized. The Esopus savages, in the opinion of the director, 
were not sufficiently humbled. Again he enlisted a num 
ber of volunteers, and forty-six Long Island Indians. 

Having completed his preparation, the valiant captain 
began his march on October ist, with one hundred and 
fifty-four men, including the friendly Indians. The next 
day in the afternoon they arrived at the fort, where they 
had fought the battle in September. It was solitary and 
deserted. They found no living thing, but 

" we there found five large pits, into which they had cast 
their dead. The wolves had rooted up and devoured some 


of them. Lower down on the creek were four other pits 
full of dead Indians, and we found further on three In 
dians, with a squaw and a child, that lay unburied and 
almost wholly devoured by the ravens and the wolves." 

A party of soldiers and Indians was immediately de 
spatched to a place four miles (Dutch) distant, where their 
Indian guide supposed some of the enemy to be. On 
reaching their destination, they discovered nothing but 
some wigwams, which had been a long while abandoned. 
Meantime the corn in the fields around the fort and along 
the creek was pulled up and destroyed. Then the pali 
sades of the fort were piled in heaps, and burned with 
the houses. When the destruction was complete, they 
marched down along the creek, " where lay divers maize 
plantations, and several large wigwams," which were al 
so burnt. " Now, having destroyed everything, we com 
menced our homeward march." 

Shortly after their return to Wiltwyck, a white girl was 
discovered near the redoubt, who had escaped from her 
Indian captor, whom she reported to be living on the 
mountain about twelve miles distant. A party of thirty- 
six soldiers was sent out to capture him. He had fled. 
The soldiers watched all night in his hut, and in the 
morning, loading themselves with the Indian s corn, re 
turned to quarters. Another party of forty men went to 
Sager s creek (Saugerties). They found no enemies, but 
destroyed a large quantity of corn. 

While thus employed looking up the enemy and guard 
ing the ploughmen, wild rumors came to their ears, that 
several tribes had combined to destroy the Dutch, and 
had assembled to the number of five hundred near 
Claverack. There was little doubt that they were intent 
on some mischief, but their councils came to naught. 


The rumors served to make the Dutch more watchful, and 
strengthen their defences. 

There were yet several captives among the Indians. 
To recover them no pains or expense were spared. One 
by one they were redeemed, and restored to their friends, 
until on December ist all but five had been rescued. 

The Esopus savages had had enough of war. Their 
castles had been burnt and their winter s food destroyed ; 
many of their chiefs and warriors had been killed. They 
had been hunted like wild beasts and driven from their 
lair. The survivors were fugitives. Miserable and naked 
they wandered away, and were dependent for food and 
shelter on their more fortunate relatives. Their punish 
ment was severe, but not greater than they deserved. 
After the failure of their last desperate effort to form a 
combination of kindred tribes for their assistance, their 
haughty spirits were broken, and they sued for peace. 
Their chastisement had produced a wonderful influence 
upon other Indian clans along the river and in the in 
terior. They were of the same stock, and had sympa 
thized with them. They had sent their young warriors 
to their assistance against the Dutch. But now that they 
were subdued, the Wappingers, the Raritans, the Mohe- 
gans, the Minnisinks, the Minquas, the Tappans hast 
ened to secure their peace with Stuyvesant, disclaim 
ing any participation with the Esopus, but asking that 
they might be included in the peace. The energy and 
success of the Dutch had overawed them. They had been 
taught that, though the Dutch were long forbearing and 
reluctant to engage in war, they could strike effectual 
blows when aroused. Their haughty demands had given 
place to humble entreaties. 

Stuyvesant declined to make peace with the Esopus 
Indians until their own chiefs appeared, but finally, De- 


cember 2pth, he consented to an armistice of two months, 
at the expiration of which time, in case the five remain 
ing captives were surrendered, and the Esopus sachems 
made personal application, he would talk of peace. The 
armistice was continued after the two months expired to 
the middle of May, 64. Meantime all the captives had 
been returned, and as the Indians were still desirous of 
peace, it was decided that the chiefs should go to Manhat 
tan and arrange the terms in the capital of the province. 
Hitherto all negotiations had taken place at Esopus, 
"under the blue sky." Peace was consummated May 15, 
1664. Its provisions were similar to those of other- trea 
ties, especially the last. There was one exception. It was 
now stipulated, " that some of their people should come 
down every year to renew the compact." 

Peace was not more welcome to the Indians than to the 
Dutch. The expenses of the government the last year 
had been eighty thousand guilders, and the revenue only 
thirty thousand. The Indian war had crippled all indus 
tries, especially the fur trade. The English on Long 
Island were in open revolt. The end of New Netherland 
was drawing near. 

The leading projectors of the New Village were great 
losers by the Indian war. Several of their tenants had 
been killed, and their families carried off to an almost 
hopeless captivity. Little of their stock was recovered, 
and other personal property was almost wholly lost. 
They wrote a pitiful letter to Director Stuyvesant, in 
which they speak of their heavy losses, "which without 
God s blessing we cannot recover in years." " But our 
affections are for our distressed friends." 

Their experiment in farming at Esopus had been dis 
astrous, and although Stuyvesant a few days after the 
peace proposed to erect a "stockaded fort and keep a 


few soldiers there," they could not be induced to resume 
operations. After the English came into possession of 
the province, Governor Nicolls, in 1668, renewed their pat 
ents, and his successor, Colonel Lovelace, named the vil 
lage Hurley. The projectors sold their farms and village- 
lots to an Englishman, and sought other investments. 


Among the old documents I found the following : 

To the Noble, Very Worshipful, Honorable Director- 
General and Council of New Netherland. 

Respectfully show Philipp Pieterse Schuyler and Goo- 
sen Gerretse, residents of the village of Beverwyck, that 
the Mohikanders have informed the petitioners, the Eng 
lish of Connetikot on the Fresh river had requested 
them to sell a certain plain, called by the Dutch the Half 
Moon, situate on the third or fourth mouth (of the Mo 
hawk river) with an island between the second and third 
mouth, about three or four leagues to the northward from 
here. The Mohikanders have offered to sell this land to 
the petitioners in preference, but as the petitioners may 
not do it without the consent of your Hon ble Worships, 
therefore they pray, that your Hon ble Worships will grant 
them permission to purchase the said land, as it will be 
done for the best of the country and to keep the English 
away from the river. 

Waiting for a favorable apostel we remain 
Your Noble, Honorable Worships 
Obedien Servants, 


Beverwyck, the 2yth May, 1664. 

The petition was granted July 10, 1664. 
What has been said in the introduction about " crowd 
ing on the Dutch " westward from the Connecticut, will 


explain the reason for " keeping the English away from 
the river." 

The Indian war, and the rumors of an English invasion, 
gave so much occupation to government and citizens, that 
there was little time to attend to private affairs. The 
purchase of the Half Moon had to be deferred. The Eng 
lish invasion did not rest on idle rumors. Early the next 
spring, when the English had settled the affairs of the 
province, Schuyler applied to Governor Nicolls for a 
license to buy the same tract. This was granted, and in 
October, 1665, a patent was issued to Schuyler and Van 
Schaick for a tract of land described as the Half Moon, 
beginning at the fourth spring and stretching north along 
the river " to a creek coming out of a great meadow," 
(now Mechanicsville). Another patent of the same date 
conveyed the island, now known as Van Schaick Island. 

Van Schaick erected buildings on the island, and again 
tried the experiment of farming. In November, 1669, he 
sold his interest in the Half Moon tract and island to 
Schuyler for fifteen hundred guilders, payable in Hol 
land. In March of the next year both deed and bill of 
exchange were cancelled ; for what reason does not ap 
pear. The property remained in their possession as at 
first until July, 1681, when Schuyler conveyed his half in 
terest to Annetje Lievens, widow of Van Schaick, and ac 
knowledges "to have received full compensation, and to 
have been paid the first instalment of the purchase-money 
as well as the last ; " how much is not mentioned. 

Schuyler s interest in this now valuable section of Sar 
atoga County was thus extinguished. Annetje Lievens, 
although a fashionable young woman fond of gayety, be 
came a prudent wife, having the full confidence of her 
husband, who gave her in his will his share of the Half 
Moon and the island. In 1687 she sold the whole to her 


stepson, Anthony Van Schaick, for " five hundred and 
fifty beavers." 


The Old Homestead the family mansion always has 
a special charm to the descendants of the builder, particu 
larly in their later years. When, during a residence in 
Albany, I learned that the house in which Philip Schuy- 
ler had lived waS still in existence, and that it was only 
four miles north of State Street, I took the earliest op 
portunity of visiting it. Leaving the turnpike, I crossed 
the canal, and, walking a short distance toward the river, 
I stood before the venerable structure. It was, indeed, only 
in part the same house. The front had been destroyed 
by fire a hundred years ago. It had been rebuilt on the 
same foundations, and in the same style. The annex at 
the back, with its thick brick walls, withstood the fire, and 
was the same as when first built. The old and the new 
were clearly discernible by the different size of the bricks, 
the new being larger. The house was occupied, as it had 
always been, by a descendant of Philip Schuyler, who 
courteously gratified my curiosity, conducting me through 
all the halls and rooms. The interior finish was modern, 
except a small portion left in its original state, as a speci 
men of what it once was. I stood at the door, and care 
fully noted the surroundings. The road north from Al 
bany formerly ran between the house and river. Now it 
is several rods in the rear, and the lawn extends to the 
water. To the right stood the great barn, just as when 
Schuyler s Indian guests were wont to sleep in it. Be 
yond, the Krom Kil (crooked creek), the south boundary 
of the bouwery, wound its devious way to the river. South 
of the Krom Kil was the farm of a few hundred acres, 
which had been given, in 1703, to Peter and Jeremiah 


Schuyler, grandsons of Philip Schuyler, by Killian Van 
Rensselaer, as their mother s portion of the manor. East, 
a few rods from the door, separated from the main-land 
by a narrow channel, lay the "large island of the Flatts." 
Beyond the river to the northeast was the farm of four 
hundred acres, bounded north and south by two creeks, 
given by Jeremiah Van Rensselaer in 1674, to Johanna 
de Laet, for her "just claim of one-tenth of the manor." 
This farm came into the possession of Philip Schuyler, 
arid was sold by his heirs after the death of their mother, 
for twelve hundred and forty-one pounds currency, all join 
ing in the deed. It is now occupied by large iron and steel 
manufactories. North of the house was the private ceme 
tery, where several generations of Schuylers are buried. 

I could not but recall some of the many interesting his 
torical incidents connected with the place. Here, in 1677, 
a party of Mohawks attacked the Mohegans and took 
many prisoners. About the same time, four Mohawk war 
riors routed eighty " Uncasmen," Connecticut Indians. To 
this place General Fitz John Winthrop, in 1690, sent the 
first detachment of his army from Albany for the invasion 
of Canada. Here, in 1690, John, the youngest son of Phil 
ip Schuyler, conceived the design of attacking La Prairie, 
on the St. Lawrence, with a company of thirty whites and 
one hundred and twenty Indians. Here his eldest brother, 
Major Peter Schuyler, formed his plans for the invasion 
of Canada the next year, and gathered his dusky warriors. 
Between this door and the river marched for the next sev 
enty years the several armies against the French, and here 
many of their officers found entertainment. Here the gal 
lant Lord Howe spent the night, and ate his breakfast 
on the march under.Abercrombie to attack Ticonderoga. 
Here the "American Lady " of Mrs. Grant, "Aunt Schuy 
ler," presided as mistress for thirty years after her hus- 


band s death, extending a generous hospitality. Under the 
shade of the trees before the door she sat one summer s 
afternoon, when the alarm of fire was raised. In yonder 
graveyard lies her dust with no stone to mark the spot* 

* There is a map of the Flatts in Wilson s edition of Mrs. Grant s Me 
moirs of an American Lady (Munsell, Albany, 1876), on page 99, and a 
wood-cut of the house on page 240. 

Mrs. Grant, pp. 110-114, thus describes the old house : "It was a large 
brick house of two or rather three stories (for there were excellent attics), be 
sides a sunk story, finished with the exactest neatness. The lower floor had 
two spacious rooms, with large light closets ; on the first there were three 
rooms, and in the upper one four. Through the middle of the house was a 
wide passage, with opposite front and back doors, which in summer admitted 
a stream of air peculiarly grateful to the languid senses. It was furnished 
with chairs and pictures like a summer parlor. Here the family usually 

sat in hot weather, when there were no ceremonious strangers 

This house had also two appendages common to all those belonging to 
persons in easy circumstances there. One was a large portico at the door, 
with a few steps leading up to it, and floored like a room ; it was open at 
the sides, and had seats all round. Above was either a slight wooden 
roof, painted like an awning, or a covering of lattice-work, over which a 
transplanted vine spread its luxuriant leaves and numerous clusters. These, 
though small, and rather too acid till sweetened by the frost, had a beauti 
ful appearance. What gave an air of liberty and safety to these rustic 
porticos, which always produced in my mind a sensation of pleasure that I 
know not how to define, was the number of little birds domesticated there. 
For their accommodation there was a small shelf built round, where they 
nestled, sacred from the touch of slaves and children, who were taught to 
regard them as the good genii of the place, not to be disturbed with im 
punity. ... 

" At the back of the large house was a smaller and lower one, so joined 
to it as to make the form of a cross. There one or two lower and smaller 
rooms below, and the same number above, afforded a refuge to the family 
during the rigors of winter, when the spacious "miner rooms would have 
been intolerably cold, and the smoke of prodigious wood-fires would have 
sullied the elegantly clean furniture. Here, too, was a sunk story, where 
the kitchen was immediately below the eating-parlor, and increased the 
general warmth of the house. In summer the negroes resided in slight outer 
kitchens, where food was dressed for the family. Those who wrought in 
the fields often had their simple dinner cooked without, and ate it under 
the shade of a great tree. One room, I should have said, in the greater 
house only, was opened for the reception of company ; all the rest were 
bedchambers for their accommodation, while the domestic friends of the 
family occupied neat little bedrooms in the attics or the winter-house. 


It is not probable that Philip Schuyler built the house. 
Arent Van Curler, a cousin of the first Patroon Van Rens- 
selaer, came with the first colonists of the manor, 1630, 
and was soon after made superintendent. He married in 
1643, and on his return from Holland, where he had gone 
on his " bridal tour," he removed to his farm on the Flatts. 
After him Richard Van Rensselaer, a son of the Patroon, 
occupied it. I wished to learn when Philip Schuyler 
came into possession, and on what terms. In the business 
office of the Manor of Rensselaerwyck an ordinary ac 
count-book of an ancient appearance was placed before 
me, in which I found the following entry : 

" Philip Schuyler Debit 

for the Bouwery called dc Vlachte (the Flatts), and the 
Island, sold to him for 700 beavers and 11. 1600 Holland 
money together fl. 8000. 

Contra Credit 

A bill of Exchange drawn on Jan Baptist Van Rensse 
laer, calculated at fl. 2400. 
650 whole Beavers 5200. 
50 do. do. 400. 


This house contained no drawing-room ; that was an unheard-of luxury ; 
the winter rooms had carpets; the lobby had oil-cloth painted in lozenges, 
to imitate blue and white marble. The best bedroom was hung with 
family portraits, some of which were admirably executed ; and in the eat 
ing-room, which, by the by, was rarely used for that purpose, were some 
fine Scripture paintings. . . . The house fronted the river, on the 
brink of which, under shades of elm and sycamore, ran the great road 
toward Saratoga, Stillwater, and the northern lakes ; a little simple avenue 
of morella cherry trees, enclosed with a white rail, led to the road and 
river, not three hundred yards distant. Adjoining to this on the south 
side, was an enclosure subdivided into three parts, of which the first was a 
small hayfield, opposite the south end of the house ; the next, not so long, 
a garden ; and the third, by far the largest, an orchard." 

Mrs. Grant s description applies, of course, to the state of the Flatts 
under Philip Schuyler s grandson, nearly a century later. 


It had no date. The last preceding date was of the year 
1658, and the next succeeding was in 1675. Subsequently 
I found recorded in the County Clerk s office a deed by 
" K. V. Rensselacr" to "Margret Schuyler," bearing date 
" the Day off September in the year of our Lord Christ 
one thousand six hundred eighty and nine." " Recorded 
this 25th day of June 1707 at ye Request of Margaret 
Schuyler \vid w Relict of Philip Schuyler deceased." It re 
cites that 

" Jeremias Van Rensselaer in his life time That is to say 
on the two and twentieth day of June in the year of our Lord 
Christ one thousand six hundred seventy and two for and 
in consideration of the sum of five thousand Holland guild 
ers to him in hand paid did grant Bargain and sell unto 
the said Philip Schuyler his heirs and assigns for ever all 
that farm Tract and parcell of Land commonly called The 
Flatts as also one Island over against said flatts commonly 
called the great Island of the flatts situate on the west 
side of Hudson river in the Colony of Rensselaerwyck 
in the like manner as the said farm heretofore has been 
used occupied and enjoyed by Mr. Richard van Rens 

The deed includes another farm adjoining north, called 
"Winter s plantation," and also the bouwery on the east 
side of the river once owned by Madame de Hulter. The 
whole was chargeable with a yearly rent of "twenty 
bushels of good sweet wheat off good measure well 
cleaned and merchantable corne and two coppel off 
henns," in recognition of the patroon s right. 

Winter s plantation was a farm owned by Bastiaen 
De Winter, who died soon after, 1670, in Schenectady, 
having made a verbal will giving his property to the 
Dutch Church in Albany. The deacons of the church 
sold the plantation to Schuyler September 10, 1678. 


With tliis addition Schuyler s home farm was large, ex 
tending from Krom Kil on the south to " a great blacke 
Rocke, commonly called y e stone hoeke " on the north, 
and to a marsh beyond the first hills on the west. The 
northern portion is now occupied by the village of West 
Troy. Along and through the western part runs a rail 
way. When, in 1703, Killian Van Rensselaer gave to his 
sister s children, the sons of Peter Schuyler, the farm 
south of Krom Kil, the grandsons of Philip Schuyler 
owned and occupied a large body of rich land, now of 
great value. 

It was to me a study of absorbing interest to trace the 
history of the old home for over two hundred years down 
to the present time. What I learned can be told in a few 
lines, although it engaged my thoughts and leisure many 
weeks. Just before his deatli Philip Schuyler and his 
wife united in a mutual will, in which it was provided 
that the survivor should have possession of the whole 
estate during life. After death the property was to be 
divided equally between the eight children. The widow 
administered the estate twenty-eight years with great 
success. She educated the younger children, gave por 
tions to those who married, bought houses and lands, 
and added largely to the property committed to her care. 
Some years before her death a few of the heirs feared that 
Peter, the eldest son, might avail himself of the law then 
in force, and on his mother s death claim all the real es 
tate. Peter disclaimed any such intention, and, by advice 
of his mother, entered into an agreement with his broth 
ers and sisters that the estate should be divided equally 
among them, it being conceded to him that, as heir at 
law and by right of primogeniture, he should have the 
Flatts with its great island, on paying into the " common 
stock," subject to an equal division, six hundred pounds 


currency. This amicable agreement gave satisfaction to the 
old mother. Soon after she made her will directing the 
whole estate to be divided equally among her children. 
This interesting instrument is on parchment, signed by all 
the heirs, with seals affixed on strips of parchment. All 
the seals but one were gone when I saw it (1879) detached 
by descendants. That of my great-great-grandfather was 
missing. Some one had anticipated me. The one re 
maining belonged to a branch that had no representative 
after the second generation. On the back of the instru 
ment is indorsed the following memorandum, showing 
the custom of those days when giving possession of real 
estate : 

" Memorandum, That this day Livery and Seisen was 
peacably given by the partys to the within written arti 
cles to Collonell Peter Schuyler within Named of the 
farm called The Flatts Particularly expressed in these 
articles by Digging up and Delivering unto the said 
Collonel Peter Schuyler a Turif and by delivering of the 
Latch of the Door of the house as part, Butt for the 
whole of the said house and Farm. 

This Done the 2oth Day of Aprill in y e tenth year of 
her Majesty s reign anno y e Dom. 1711/2. In the Pres 

The mark X of MARTE DELLEMONT." 

Colonel Peter Schuyler occupied the farm for twelve 
years, when he leased it to his son Philip during his own 
natural life. He left no will, having disposed of his es 
tate among his children during life, so that there might 
be no cause for suspicions and controversies, such as had 
existed in reference to his father s estate. We know, how 
ever, from other sources, what portions of the estate were 
afterward held and enjoyed by the several members of 
his family. His eldest son, Philip, owned the Flatts. 


Peter and Jeremy (twins) divided the farm they received 
through their mother. To his daughter Margaret, who 
had married Robert Livingston. Jr., he gave his share 
in the Saratoga patent. To Gertrude, wife of Johannes 
Lansing, and to the heirs of his daughter Maria, he gave 
other real estate. 

Philip Schuyler resided mostly on the Flatts. He was 
much in public life, requiring long absences from home. 
At such times the affairs of the farm were managed by his 
accomplished wife, a daughter of his uncle Johannes. 
The Flatts were long on the frontiers exposed to maraud 
ing parties of the French and their Indian allies. None 
of the family on the farm, however, or their retainers, ever 
suffered any injury at their hands. 

Philip Schuyler had no children, and in his will, dated 
June 28, 1748, he gave the "Great Island of The Flatts" 
to his brother Jeremy ; to Philip Schuyler, a nephew of his 
wife, afterward a major-general in the Revolution, a piece 
of woodland lying along the northern line of the farm ; and 
to his brother Peter all the " rest and residue of the farm 
called y e Flatts," to come into possession after the death of 
his wife, to whom he had given it for life. This was the first 
time that the Flatts, as purchased in 1672, had been shorn 
of its proportions. His widow survived his brother Peter, 
who never came into possession of the old homestead. 
Peter, in his will, April 27, 1771, gave to his grandson, 
Peter Schuyler, the farm he occupied next adjoining on 
the south, and to his son Stephen the " rest and residue 
of the farm called the Flatts, the same as was devised to 
me by my brother Philip." Madame Schuyler had pre 
viously leased it to Stephen. He was in possession at the 
time his aunt died, 1782, and his descendants have it now 
in possession, of whom three families have farms of one 
hundred and sixty to two hundred acres, carved out of the 


old homestead, called The Flatts. The Great Island and 
some other portions of the farm are in the hands of 

I now return to Philip Pieterse Schuyler, the ancestor. 
In the preceding pages I have given all the information I 
have been able to collect as to his life and transactions. He 
was much esteemed by his neighbors and friends, as well 
as by the representatives of the governments under which 
he lived. He was the first man in Albany to receive the 
commission of captain. Previously to this he was fre 
quently termed the honorable, but afterward, in legal 
papers and correspondence, was addressed as captain. 
Whatever the position of his family in the fatherland, his 
life and career in his adopted home were remarkable, and 
far above the average of the early colonists. 

To conclude, it need only be said, that he died in Al- 
"bany, on May 9, 1683, having made his will eight days be 
fore. He was buried in the vaults of the church, and no 
monument erected to his memory, except perhaps a tablet 
on the walls over his accustomed seat. When the church 
was torn down, in 1808, the contents of the vaults were re 
moved en masse to a common receptacle under the church 
on Beaver Street. Among the church records of 1683 is 
found the following : 

" Received from Margaret Schuyler 300 guilders be 
stowed by Philip Schuyler who died this year, and ten 
guilders for the use of the pall." 


" In the name of God, Amen. Mr. Philip Schuyler, late 
commissary in Albany, at present weak of body, but of 
sound memory and understanding, and Mrs. Margaret Van 
Slichtenhorst in good health both as to body and mind, 


persons of good repute residing here, considering the 
short and frail condition of human life, the certainty of 
death, and doubtful of the hour of the same, upon mature 
reflection and mutual advice, without the inducement or 
persuation of any person, do declare to have made, or 
dained and confirmed this, their joint, respective and re 
ciprocal last will and testament in manner and form fol 

" First, bequeathing their immortal souls when they shall 
part from their bodies into the gracious and merciful 
hands of God, their Creator and Saviour, and their bodies 
to Christian burial, and also revoking, annulling and mak 
ing void by these presents all and every such testamentary 
disposal as together or apart, they before the date hereof 
may have made or passed, and coming expressly to the 
disposal of their temporary estate they leave behind, so 
have they, the testators, nominated and constituted, and 
by these presents do nominate and constitute, for his or 
her sole heir reciprocally the longest liver of the two, and 
that of all the goods movable and immovable, actions and 
credits, money, gold, silver coined and uncoined, jewels, 
clothes, linen, woollen, household goods, nothing in the 
world excepted or reserved, as well in this country, in 
Holland, Gelderland, or elsewhere, where the same shall 
be or be found, to dispose thereof as he or she should or 
might do with his or her own patrimonial effects, without 
the hindrance or contradiction of any person. Provided 
always that the longest liver of the two stands obliged 
honestly to maintain, bring up and keep until they come 
of age, or are married, their four underaged children, 
namely, Arent twenty-two years of age, 1 Philip seven 
teen years of age, Johannes fifteen years of age, and Mar 
garet eleven years of age. And them to exercise in all 
piety, and that they are brought up to reading, writing, 
and a handicraft trade, 2 wherewith in their times they 

1 According to Dutch law in such cases, then the law of New York, a 
son was a minor until twenty-four years old. 

2 The Dutch while engaged in their long war of independence found it 


may honestly get their living, and that when they come of 
age, or are married with the consent of the longest liver, 
the longest liver of the two shall be obliged to give to 
each of the said underaged children a fit portion, so much 
as the longest liver in good conscience shall find conven 
ient, and according to the state and opportunity that then 
shall present, and further to act as good honest parents 
ought to do, and whereto they clo entrust each other ac 
cording to all equity and their ability without being fur 
ther obliged. 

" And that the reason that the testators cannot at present 
make any certain account and inventory of their estate, 
nor willing or desiring accordingly that by or concerning 
their before said child or children any account or inven 
tory of the estate shall be taken under whatsoever pre 
tence it might be from the longest liver of the two. 
Though in case the longest liver might happen to die 
before the said four children come of age, or are mar 
ried, it is especially desired by the testators, that such 
child or children that then shall be underage shall be 
maintained out of the common estate until they come of 
age or are married ; and if so be the estate shall be les 
sened by fire, war or other losses (which God prevent) so 
shall those who have had no portions in place of and for 
their portions first receive each the sum of twelve hundred 
and fifty guilders in beavers, that is, for the four children 
five thousand guilders in beavers, and then shall the whole 
estate be equally divided among the testator s eight chil 
dren, by name Gertruyd the wife of Stephanus Van 
Cortlandt, Alida the wife of Robert Livingston, Peter, 
Brant, Phillip, Arent, Johannes and Margaret Schuyler, 
among them or their heirs alike to be divided, the one not 
more than the other. But in case the longest liver of the 
testator, might happen to re-marry then that party shall be 
obliged to deliver a true account and inventory of the 

essential to teach their children "handicraft trades." It was so common 
that people in affluence were reduced to poverty by the destruction of 
their property, that a trade of some kind was a last resort to live. 


estate, and thereof to set out, part and divide the whole : 
to wit, one true moiety to the behoof of the testators 
aforesaid eight children, among them or their heirs equally 
and alike to be divided to the one not more than the 
other: and the other half to the behoof of the longest 
liver ; which inventory the longest liver, if there be oc 
casion, shall be bound to affirm by oath, without being 
further obliged : Always provided, that the longest liver 
shall take and enjoy the interest of the principal belong 
ing to the children during their minority for their main 
tenance and bringing up, and on the death of a child or 
children aforesaid in their minority, their portion shall be 
to the behoof of the survivors. And for security of what 
is above made and bequeathed to the children stands 
bound the farms, lands, houses arid tenements that they 
the testators have in this country so nevertheless if there 
be occasion (except selling) that the longest liver may 
enter upon the same and dispose thereof, as also their 
other effects for his or their maintenance. Lastly, the tes 
tators in these presents have shut out and excluded (with 
all due respect) the Weesmasters 1 of this place, or any 
other where these presents may be of effect, from the rule 
and charge of their said children and goods, not willing 
that they should trouble themselves therewith ; but in 
stead of them have appointed as guardian or guardians 
over the same the longest liver, with power to take one or 
more persons to act with them. 

"All the above written the testators declare to be their 
last will and testament, desiring that the same after the 
decease of the first of them may have and take its full 
power and effect, be it as testament, codicil, donation, 
legacy, or otherwise as it may best take effect, notwith 
standing any solemnity in form or law may be omitted, 
neglected, not inserted or observed. 

" Praying all Lords, Courts and Authorities where these 
presents may take effect, that it may have all possible 

1 Officers appointed to watch over the interests of orphans. 


benefit one or more copies to be made by me the writer 
hereof, and delivered, to conclude all as it ought to be. 

" Done in Albany, at the house of the testators, on the 
first day of May one thousand six hundred eighty and three 
old style, being Tuesday evening about 9 of the clock, in 
presence of Mr. Cornelis Van Dyck, and Mr. Dirk Wessels, 
commissarys of this town, as witnesses hereunto desired. 

Me present, 


The will was proved in court. March 4, i68f, and subse 
quently approved by Governor Thomas Dongan. It is 
written in Dutch, and is on file in the office of the Clerk 
of the Court of Appeals, at Albany. 


WAS a remarkable woman. She was the only daughter 
of Brant Arentse Van Slichtenhorst, resident-director of 
the colony of Rensselaerwyck. After the death of her 
husband, she assumed entire control of the estate, accord 
ing to the terms of the will, and managed the large prop 
erty for about twenty-eight years. When she made her 
will, two years before her death, she could say that the es 
tate had not been "lessened by fire, or war, or other losses," 
but " by the blessmg of Almighty God, she had acquired 
and purchased real and personal estate," and added to it. 
She was loyal to her church, as may be seen by the records 
wherein are recorded her liberal benefactions. She was 
true to the pledges made by herself and her husband be 
fore his death. On the marriages of their daughter Ger 
trude to Stephanus Van Cortlandt, and of their son Brant 
to Cornelia Van Cortlandt, they had presented them as 
"wedding gifts," certain houses and lots on Broadway, 
New York, but had not made the deeds. She did not, like 
some parents we wot of, present the husk and keep the 
kernel, but promptly confirmed the gifts by the deeds. 

In the times of Jacob Leisler, she was on the side of law 
and order, and gave efficient support to her friends who 
had assumed control of affairs at Albany. It was a time 
of war, and there was reason to fear that the French with 
their Indian allies would make a raid upon the unprotected 
frontiers. It was of the first importance to station men 


at Schenectady and to strengthen the garrison at Albany. 
There were not men enough in those places for such a pur 
pose. No assistance could be expected from New York, 
as Leisler refused a man unless the convention surren 
dered control, and acknowledged him as supreme in the 
province. Aid must therefore be sought and secured else 
where. But this required money, and the finances of the 
convention, as those of the city, could not bear. the burden. 
A subscription among the citizens and farmers was circu 
lated. After five days had been devoted to this work, it 
was found that the amount subscribed, three hundred and 
sixty-seven pounds six shillings, was not half enough 
to raise one hundred men. Mrs. Schuyler s subscription, 
twenty pounds, was the largest but one on the list. 

When the subscription failed, letters were sent to Boston 
and Connecticut soliciting the aid of one hundred men. 
The government of Boston courteously replied, that the 
war on their northern frontiers made it impossible to 
spare the men, but that they would write to Connecticut 
and urge that government to give a favorable response. 
The latter colony did consent to send eighty men with their 
officers, on condition that the convention paid the officers 
the usual allowance. The condition was cheerfully ac 
cepted, and two of the members sent to thank them in per 
son. The company, consisting of eighty-seven men, under 
command of Captain Bull, arrived on November 25, 1689. 
They were received with many demonstrations of joy, and 
saluted by the firing of cannon at the fort. As the time ap 
proached to pay the officers their month s allowance, as the 
city treasury was exhausted, a committee was appointed 
to borrow the necessary funds. Mr. Van Rensselaer, the 
chairman, reported that " Mrs. Schuyler was willing to ad 
vance eighteen pounds (the sum required), one month 
without interest, and if not then returned moderate inter- 


cst thereafter." She advanced the money, but as it was 
not a gift she was careful to have a bond signed by the 
officers of the convention. 

After the sack of Schenectady by the French and In 
dians, the Albany convention, by advice of the New Eng 
land colonies, submitted to the pretensions of Leisler. 
He sent three commissioners to control and regulate af 
fairs, and make preparations for the invasion of Canada. 
The commissioners took all authority into their hands, 
and although they confirmed Peter Schuyler as mayor of 
the city, he was little more than a cipher, being deprived 
of his authority and functions. They made enemies, and 
did not conciliate the people, or secure a hearty support. 
There were divisions and contentions, which were magni 
fied by rumors into open hostilities. Leisler, writing to 
the commissioners, May 19, 1690, gave tongue to some of 
the rumors which had reached his ears, among them, 
" that y e Widow Schuyler beat Cap n Milborne, & that you 
all three were forced to fly out of y e towne & were gone to 
Esopus & Peter Schuyler was in y e fort." If the Widow 
Schuyler beat Captain Milborne, and forced the three com 
missioners to fly, her Van Slichtenhorst blood must have 
been at fever heat. It was mere rumor, but the rumor 
proved she was a woman of spirit and resolution ; more, 
that her influence was a power which her enemies feared. 

She had administered the estate with such success that it 
had become one of the largest in the province. Her young 
er children had feared that the law of primogeniture would 
deprive them of their equal share as the will provided, 
and had discussed the question perhaps with undue heat. 
Taking counsel with her eldest son, who was ever tem 
perate in his views, and just to others, the troublesome 
question was soon arranged to the satisfaction of all con 
cerned. A written agreement, as has been said, bear- 


ing date August 16, 1707, to divide the estate according 
to the terms of the will, was signed by all the heirs. She 
was now nearly eighty years of age, and felt that her 
work was done. She immediately caused her own will to 
be drawn, in which she alludes to the controverted ques 
tion among her children, and how happily it had been ar 
ranged in her presence, having called them together for 
the purpose. She then proceeds to divide her own prop 
erty, and that of her late husband, on the basis of the 
former will, and according to the terms of the late agree 
ment, into eight equal parts, one each for her seven living 
children, and one for the widow and heirs of her deceased 
son Brant. She directed her executors immediately after 
her death to take possession of the property, and make 
the division. She was thoughtful enough to direct them 
to allow the heirs to purchase whatever of the estate, real 
or personal, they desired, and the " one willing to give the 
most for any part or parcel should have it." She ap 
pointed her sons Peter and Johannes, and son-in-law 
Robert Livingston, executors. She survived two years. 

Copies of her will and of the agreement between the 
heirs are in my possession, but they are too long for in 
sertion here. As it was the practice in those days to hold 
titles for real estate, especially when given by friend to 
friend, without record, I have been unable to learn how 
the whole property was distributed. Peter took the 
homestead, as has been related, but there is no record of it. 
The De Hulter farm was sold, and the deed placed on rec 
ord. These were the only pieces of real estate I was able 
to trace until recently, when Governor Seymour presented 
me a paper, saying that I would prize it. It turned out to 
be an original deed, signed by all the Schuyler heirs except 
Margaret, to John Collins, 1 for the pasture " lying on the 
1 Husband of Margaret Schuyler. 


right hand of the road that goes to the old fort." The con 
sideration is twenty-six pounds currency. It is dated May 
i, 1711. These are all of the several farms and city lots 
that I have been able to trace. 


The father of Margareta Van Slichtenhorst came to 
Beverwyck in 1648, as resident-director of the colony of 
Rensselaerwyck. After the death of the first patroon, 
Killian Van Rensselaer, in 1646, the estate for a time was 
managed by his executors. The amiable Arent Van 
Curler, wearied of his vexatious position, had resigned, 
and it was one of the first duties of the executors to select 
his successor. Their choice fell upon Van Slichtenhorst, 
of Nykerk, in Gelderland. He appears to have been a 
man of good family, 1 well educated, and of more than or 
dinary abilities. He received his commission nearly two 
years before he arrived in the colony. The scope of the 
office was enlarged. He was not only appointed director, 
but also the chief magistrate and superintendent. Stuy- 
vesant, director-general of New Netherland, had preceded 
him by about a year. As the principal officer of the West 
India Company, his authority extended over the whole 
province, including the manors. Over the latter it was 
restricted by their charter. But as the Company had 
modified the freedoms and Exemptions under which Van 

1 His brother, Arent Van Slichtenhorst, was a jurisconsult, a poet, and 
a historian. He wrote, or rather translated and enlarged from the Latin 
of Pontanus, a History of Gelderland (xiv Boeken van de Geldersse Ge- 
schiedenissen), published at Arnhem in 1653. A copy of the work is in the 
library of Cornell University. There is a tract of land called Slichten 
horst near Nykerk, in the immediate vicinity of Rensselaer and Olden 
Barneveldt ; one of the estates owned by Brant van Slichtenhorst in 
Holland was called the Gijse Westphalinx estate on de Slichtenhorst. 


Rensselaer had established his colony, Stuyvesant, under 
instructions, sought to apply the provisions of the new 
regulations to the colonies organized under the old. He 
asserted his claims of jurisdiction over the affairs of the 
colony of Rensselaerwyck in conflict with its chartered 
privileges. These claims were resisted by Van Slichten- 
horst. The eldest son and heir of Van Rensselaer was yet 
a minor. The new director was conscientious in the dis 
charge of his duties, and sought to protect the interests 
of the minor patroon. He had a strong, unyielding will, 
resembling in this regard the director-general. The two 
men were soon in collision. Van Slichtenhorst arrived 
in March in April the strife began. Stuyvesant in 
structed his deputy at Fort Orange to do some things at 
Rensselaerwyck, which Van Slichtenhorst believed an 
infringement of the privileges of the colony, which he 
resisted, saying that the fort itself stood on ground be 
longing to his " orphan patroon," and that the West 
India Company had no business to interfere in the affairs 
of the colony, so long as they were kept within the 
charter. Stuyvesant, determined to carry his point, vis 
ited Beverwyck with a body-guard of soldiers to enforce 
his authority. He was received with the courtesy due 
his rank and station, and entertained at the expense of the 

The interview between the two directors was conducted 
with much formality and with the appearance of friend 
ship, but when it closed the opponents were as far apart 
as at first. The director-general issued a protest. The 
colonial-director replied with another. When Stuyvesant 
returned to Manhattan he published a formidable placard 
against the colony, and its director in particular, warning 
him that force should be used unless he ceased his op 
position to the orders of the Company. He claimed the 


land within the range of a cannon-shot of the fort, and 
that the patroon had no right to convey lots or erect 
buildings within that distance. Van Slichtenhorst an 
swered, that the land all around the fort belonged to the 
patroon, who had never before been disturbed in its occu 
pancy ; and kept on with his improvements on the dis 
puted territory. Stuyvesant was incensed, but for a while 
suppressed his anger. The spring freshet having injured 
the fort, he directed a stone wall to be built around it. 
Scarcely had the work been begun when Van Slichten 
horst forbade the men to quarry stone on the land of the 
colony. The director-general was now fairly aroused, and 
resolved to end the dispute at the point of the bayonet, if 
need be. In this he had the advantage, as the colony had 
no military for its defence. He sent six soldiers to Be- 
vcrwyck, with orders to arrest Van Slichtenhorst, if he 
offered any further opposition to his authority. The ar 
rival of this detachment, and the swagger of the Com 
pany s officials under protection of the musket, caused 
much excitement in the little village, which communi 
cated itself to the Mohawks who happened to be present. 
When they came to understand the quarrel to be about a 
few rods of land, they invited Van Slichtenhorst to their 
country, where they would give him all the land he 
wished, and leave Silver Legs to possess in peace the 
land he claimed. 

When the soldiers had accomplished the business for 
which they had been sent, they celebrated their bloodless 
victory with a volley of musketry. This caused great 
commotion among the Indians, who supposed that an 
attack had begun upon their friends, the colonists. They 

1 The Indians nicknamed Stuyvesant Silver Legs, because, in place of the 
leg he had lost in war, he wore a wooden one ornamented with silver 


threatened to kill and scalp old Silver Legs soldiers, every 
man of them. They were in earnest, and well it was for 
the poor soldiers that Van Slichenhorst found means to 
appease their wrath. But his indignation was none the 
less. He protested in energetic terms against Stuyvesant 
for the outrages upon himself, and for the wrong and 
injustice done to the interests of his master s colony. 

On receipt of this protest Stuyvesant ordered the arrest 
of the colonial director. Van Slichtenhorst was his equal 
in education, and more than his match in argument, 
because he was in the right. But the Company s com 
mands must be obeyed. As he could not silence his an 
tagonist with argument, he must do it by force. Van 
Slichtenhorst was not arrested at the time, but summoned 
by the proper officer to appear the next spring before the 
director and Council, to answer for his resistance to con 
stituted authority. He did not respond to the citation, 
but in the following spring, when new demands were 
made upon the colony, with which it could not comply, he 
resolved to visit New Amsterdam, and if possible to effect 
a settlement of all matters in dispute. In his interview 
with the director-general and Council nothing was ac 
complished. Stuyvesant would not secede from his de 
mands. To them Van Slichtenhorst would not yield, con 
sidering them unjust, and ruinous to the interests of his 
patroon. The same day while at dinner he was peremp 
torily summoned before the Council, when he was com 
pelled to listen to a scolding lecture, and then put under 
arrest. Without a trial he was detained in the capital 
four months. Before he left home he had a suspicion 
that his absence might be protracted beyond the usual 
time, and had provided for such a contingency. He del 
egated a friend by power of attorney to administer the 
affairs of the colony during his absence. He sought re- 


lease from arrest without success. At last, becoming con 
vinced that his detention was only to annoy him and em 
barrass the affairs of his trust, he made arrangements 
for his escape. His arrest and detention were notorious, 
and no vessel would take him short of a bond of indem 
nity. Tfiis he gave, and was conveyed to his home. He 
subsequently paid the bond, for when the sloop returned 
to Manhattan her captain was fined two hundred and fifty 
guilders, to which add one hundred and fifty guilders for 
other expenses. 

While under arrest at New Amsterdam, Jan Baptist 
Van Rensselaer, second son of the old patroon, and his 
youngest brother, Richard, a mere lad, arrived from 
Holland. The first of the Van Rensselaer family to visit 
the colony was now in Beverwyck, to become in time 
a resident-director in place of Van Slichtenhorst, who 
longed to escape from the troubled life he was leading, 
and return to the comforts of his quiet home in Holland. 
After his escape he devoted himself with renewed zeal to 
the duties of his position, while instructing young Van 
Rensselaer in all the details of the business. But the 
annoyance of the director-general did not cease. On 
New Year s night, 1652, the soldiers of the fort fired on his 
house, and the burning wadding kindled the roof into a 
blaze, which was extinguished with difficulty. The next 
day, encouraged by Dyckman, their commandant, they 
assaulted young Van Slichtenhorst in the street, and 
dragged him into the gutter. These insults were fol 
lowed by Stuyvesant with new aggressions on the privi 
leges of the patroon. They culminated in the forcible 
arrest of the colonial-director. The soldiers, acting under 
orders broke into his house, and dragged him to the 
lock-up in the fort, where during his detention he was not 
allowed any communication with his family or friends. 


Thence he was carried to New Amsterdam to endure an 
other long imprisonment. 

Four months after his arrest he respectfully petitioned 
for his release, alleging that a new director of the colony 
had been appointed (Jan Baptist Van Rensseiaer), and 
that it was of great importance that he should settle his 
affairs, and close the business of his office. He was an 
swered that he might go, on giving bonds to appear at 
court when required. This was a subterfuge. He had 
asked for a trial, which was denied under various pretexts. 
A week later he again petitioned to be released, that he 
might return to the colony, or embark for Holland, offer 
ing at the same time to be tried at once on the charges 
against him. His request was refused. He waited awhile 
longer. November n, 1652, he again applied for relief. 
The reply was emphatic, " He must enter bail for his ap 
pearance before he can be released." 

How long he remained under arrest, or how he re 
gained his liberty, the records do not reveal. Jan Bap 
tist Van Rensseiaer was now director of the colony, and 
Van Slichtenhorst s name is no longer of frequent occur 
rence. It is mistakenly said by O Callaghan and others, 
that he returned to Holland about this time. He prob 
ably secured his liberty soon after his last petition, and 
returned to Beverwyck, again to cross the purposes of 
Stuyvesant. In July, 1655, in company with the new di 
rector and his brother, he appeared at the house of one 
of the colonists, where John De Decker, successor of 
Dyckman, was drawing up a protest against the refusal of 
the landlord to let the constable of Fort Orange gauge his 
wines and beer. He approved the refusal, and told De 
Decker that he was not qualified for such business in the 
colony. He yet upheld the authority of the patroon, and 
resisted the assumptions of the director-general. How 


much longer he remained in the colony is not known. In 
1660, he had returned to Holland. 

Unlike many agents and overseers of large estates, he 
gave his entire time and all his energies to promote the 
interests of his principals. He entered into no private 
speculations, nor did he use his power and means to ac 
quire a fortune for himself. He saw opportunities for the 
purchase of lands, and improved them, not for himself, but 
for the family he represented. He bought a large tract at 
Catskill for the Van Rensselaers, and then sent his son to 
look it over, and discover, if possible, a valuable mine said 
to be among the mountains. He also bought sixty-two 
thousand acres on the east side of the river, known as Clav- 
erack. The city of Hudson now occupies a part of it. 
The West India Company cancelled the purchase of the 
Catskills, and sold it to other parties. The Claverack 
tract was suffered to remain as part of the Van I^ensselaer 

The controversy between Van Slichtenhorst and Stuy- 
vesant was personal and bitter. On the part of the latter, 
it became simply a persecution. The men were quite 
evenly matched as tcueducation and ability. The one con 
tended for the rights of the colony of Rensselaerwyck, as 
granted by the charter of Freedoms and Exemptions, 1629 ; 
the other for the privileges of the West India Company, 
as he interpreted them. Van Slichtenhorst had the best of 
the argument because of right and justice, while Stuyve- 
sant prevailed because he had the Company and their sol 
diers to sustain him. He was provoked that his antago 
nist could make a stronger plea for the patroon than he 
for the Company, without making proper allowance for 
his false position. To enforce his requirements, he em 
ployed force, as the argument of last resort. That Van 

Slichtenhorst was right is proven by the admissions of the 



Company after his death. In 1674, the Company confessed 
that the lands, on which were Fort Orange and Beverwyck, 
rightly belonged to Van Rensselaer ; and that Stuyvesant s 
aggressions were unwarranted, and in violation of the col 
ony s charter. 

Van Slichtenhorst, having lost his wife before he left 
Holland, brought his two children, a son and daughter, 
with him to Beverwyck. He returned alone, his daughter 
having married Philip Schuyler, and his son being also 
married and settled in the colony. He was now somewhat 
advanced in life, and died within a few years after his 
return to Holland. In 1660, his son and daughter gave 
power of attorney to a friend in Amsterdam to settle his 
estate. 1 The name, Van Slichtenhorst, is not now known 
either in Holland or in America. 

Gerrit Van Slichtenhorst, son of the director, had a re 
spectable position in the social and political circles of Be 
verwyck. By his enterprise and energy he secured a fair 
estate. He was an officer in the church, and a magistrate 
of the colony. He seems to have discharged the duties 
of both positions several years, with general acceptance. 
Like many others, he bought and sold houses and lots in 
the village, but his only outside transaction, until he re 
moved to Esopus, was the purchase from two Indians of a 
small tract of land lying near the northern bounds of Clav- 
erack. In 1672, he was one of the magistrates of Sche- 
ncctady, but the next year was again in Albany. In 1668, 
he was in Holland, whither he had gone to make a final 
settlement of his father s estate, and attend to some mercan 
tile affairs. While there he and other Albanians freighted 
a ship for New York, but before she sailed the English 

1 It is a curious fact, that the name of the public administrator of es 
tates in Nykcrk was Peter Schuyr. 


Government passed an order in Council prohibiting the ad 
mission of Dutch ships into the port of New York. This 
was in violation of the articles of surrender in 1664. The 
parties who freighted the ship joined in an energetic pro 
test against the order. It was so far modified as to permit 
the entry of this one vessel, but no more. 

Toward the close of life, Gerrit removed to Kingston 
(Esopus), where he died, in 1684. He left one son, Gerrit, 
and five daughters. The son probably died unmarried, or 
without children. I found in the records only one men 
tion of him ; that, in 1691, an invoice of medicines was sent 
to him. 

Alida, the eldest daughter, married first, Gerrit Van 
Schaick ; and second, Pieter Davidse, eldest son of David 
Schuyler. O Callaghan and others were mistaken in call 
ing her the daughter of Brant Arentse Van Slichtenhorst, 1 
as may be seen from the records of deeds at Albany. Baata, 
another daughter, married Jan Clute, of Niskayuna. 
Their descendants are numerous. Elizabeth, a third daugh 
ter, married Nicholas William Stuyvesant, a son of her 
grandfather s old antagonist. A fourth daughter, Rachel, 
married Thomas Ecker, of New York. Heligonda, the 
fifth daughter, remained unmarried. She was a merchant 
in New York, and once at least she furnished Robert Liv 
ingston with some supplies for the public service. Another 
reference to her reminds one of her grandfather. She was 
sued for slander. The case was tried before the Council, 
who dismissed it as not proven. 

1 October I, 1694, Pieter Hvidse Schuyler, and Alida Slichtenhorst his 
wife, conveyed to Nicholas Stuyvesant, of New York, sixty morgens of land 
at Claverack, "being all the right and title in said land as bequeathed to 
them by the will of Gerrit Van Slichtenhorst, father of the said Alida 
Van Slichtenhorst, which land they now convey to Nicholas Stuyvesant, 

their brother-in-law." 

Deeds, Albany County Clerk s Office. 


Although the direct line failed to perpetuate the name, 
through the female line there are hundreds who can trace 
their descent from the sturdy old director of Rensselaer- 


Mr. S. Alofsen came from Holland to New York to en 
gage in mercantile business, and entered the office of 
Robert and George L. Schuyler, grandsons of General 
Philip Schuyler, of the Revolution, in whose possession 
were the papers of their grandfather. Some of the older 
papers were written in the Dutch language. Many of 
them related to family affairs, but the larger part were of 
a public nature. Mr. Alofsen, being acquainted with both 
Dutch and English, was employed to assort and index 
them. They were packed in boxes, and were so numer 
ous and varied, that his leisure hours for many years were 
occupied with the work. He says, " they were in my cus 
tody from 1840 to the fall of 1844." He became greatly 
interested in the genealogy and history of the Schuyler 
family, and at one time entertained the project of writing 
their genealogical history. For this purpose he began a 
correspondence extending over several years. He visited 
Albany to consult the church records, and several places 
in New Jersey to collect information. He procured many 
valuable statistics and facts, but was only on the threshold 
of his work, when the mutations of business caused his re 
turn to Holland. There he continued his researches, but 
failed to find any trace of the name. 

Mr. Alofsen was very fond of antiquarian studies, and 
while residing in Jersey City he was elected a member of 
the New Jersey Historical Society, and furnished it with 
several papers on his favorite topics, some of which were 


published in the proceedings. Before his death in Hol 
land, he directed his papers and letters relating to the 
Schuylers to be sent to the late Joel Munsell, of Albany, 
N. Y., who kindly placed them at my disposal. Among 
them I find the family record of Philip Schuyler in Dutch, 
copied from the original found among General Schuyler s 
papers, to which is annexed an English translation. Mr. 
Alofsen published it, and it is now to be found in part in 
various publications. The following is the paper, with tfee 
introduction and notes of the translator : 

" Translation of an old Dutch genealogical manuscript 
of the family Schuyler, of the State of New York, at 
present [1844] in the possession of Robert Schuyler, of the 
City of New York, a direct descendant in the 6 th gener 
ation of Philip Pieterse Schuyler (or Philip Schuyler 
Pietersen) from Amsterdam. 

" In the year of our Lord 1650 the 12 december, Have I, 
Philip Pieterse Schuyler, from Amsterdam, old about 2- 
fillegible] years married for my Wife Margritta van Slich- 
tenhorst born at Nykerck old 22 years may the good 
god grant us A long and peaceful life to our salvation 

We have been married by Antoni de Hooges, 1 Secretary 2 
of the Colony of Rensselaerwyck in the presence of both 
the officers as well of the fort orange as of the forenamed 
colony and of some of the principal inhabitants thereof. 

1 The bold promontory that juts sharply out into the Hudson, on the 
right hand as we enter the Highlands going up the river, says the Troy 
IWiig, was named Antonie s Neuse (or promontory) by the Dutch settlers, 
in honor of Antonie de Hooge, secretary to the jurisdiction of Rensselaer 
wyck. This title the English corrupted into St. Anthony s Nose, and 
supposed it implied some resemblance between the edge of the mountain 
and the edge of the saint s face. S. A. 

2 Doubtless the marriage ceremony was performed by a civil officer, be 
cause the church was without a minister, Dominie Megapolensis having 
resigned, was now in New Amsterdam, on his way to fatherland. G.W. S. 


1652 the 2 July being tuesday at about 7 o clock is born 
our son Gysbert van Schuyler. May the Lord god 
let him grow up in virtues to his salvation. Amen. 

1654 the 4 february being on Friday is born our daughter 
geertru van Schuyler May the Lord god let her grow 
up in virtues to her salvation Amen. 

1656 the 28 february being Monday is born our second 
daughter Alyda van Schuyler May the Lord god let 
her grow up in virtues to her salvation Amen 

and is on the 10 Feby. 1675 
old style married to 
domine Nicholas Van 

Rensselaer minister of the Holy word of Albany and Rens- 
selaerwyck third son of the patroon Mr. Kilian Van Rens 
selaer, and Mrs. Anna Van Weely. God Almighty give 
them both a long and peaceful life, and a blissful death. 

1657 the 17 September Monday is born our second son 
Pieter van Schuyler May the Lord god let him grow 
up in virtues to his salvation Amen. 


1659 the 18 december thursday is born our third son 
brant van Schuyler May the Lord god let him grow 
up in virtues to his salvation Amen. 

1662 the 25 June is born our fourth son named Arent van 
Schuyler may the Lord god let him grow up in virt 
ues to his salvation Amen. 

1664 the 12 November is born our third daughter named 
Sybillavan Schuyler and is deceased the 9 december. 

1666 the 8 February is born our fifth son named Philip 
Schuyler may the Lord god let him grow up in virt 
ues to his salvation Amen. 

1668 the 5 April is born our sixth son named Johannes 
Schuyler May the Lord god let him grow up in virt 
ues to salvation Amen. 


1672 the 2 January is born our fourth daughter named 
Margritta May the Lord god let her grow up in virt 
ues to her salvation Amen. 

A 1683 The 9 mAy old style at 3 o clock in the afternoon 
Capt. Philip Schuyler died in the Lord and is the 
ii ditto Buried in the church of Albany 

NOTE. The MS. written in old Dutch letters is undoubt 
edly the autograph of Philip Pieterse Schuyler, deceased 
1683. The annotation of the marriage of Jiis daughter 
Alyda is added to it by another hand in type or printing 
letters. 1 And the annotation of his death is written in the 
more modern, or Italian characters. S. A." 

The following genealogical table shows a groifp of re 
markable men and women. One who is acquainted with 
the early history of New York will see at a glance that few 
families, if any, in those early days, included so many mem 
bers who were destined, in the near future, to assume posi 
tions as to wealth and political influence equal to theirs. 
Several of them laid the foundations of vast estates, which 
in the hands of their grandchildren proved a source of great 
power. Fortunately their descendants were not aristo 
crats, and although they formed some aristocratic associa 
tions, and in society were on intimate terms with the Eng 
lish governors and their official retinues, were not blind to 
the oppressions of the English Government. In the Revo 
lution they espoused the popular cause, and threw the 
whole weight of their power and influence on the side of 
liberty. But for them the independence of the country 
could not have been so early accomplished. 

1 The record of the marriage of Alyda was probably written by her 
mother. Her name attached to the wills is in the characters described. 

G. W. S. 



i. PHILIP SCHUYLER, d. May 9, 1683, m. December 
12, 1650, Margarita Van Slichtenhorst, d. 1711. 

2. GYSBERT, b. July 2, 1652, d. y. 

3. GEERTRU, b. February 4, 1654, d. about 1719. 

m. September 10, 1671, Stephanus Van 
Cortlandt, d. November 25, 1700. 

4. ALYDA, b. February 28, 1656, d. 

m. i, February 10, 1675, Rev. Nicolans Van 

Rcnsselacr, d. November, 1678. 
m. 2, 1679, Robert Livingston, d. about 1728. 

5. PETER, b. September 17, 1657, d. February 19, 1724. 

m. i, 1 68 1, Engeltie Van Schaick,<\. 1689. 
m. 2, September 14, 1691, Maria Van Rens- 
seiaer, d. 

6. BRANT, b. December 18, 1659, d. about 1702. 

m. July 12, 1682, Cornelia Van Cortlandt, d. 

7. ARENT, b. June 25, 1662, d. about 1731. 

m. i, November 26, 1648, Jenneke Teller, d. 

m. 2, January, 1703, Swantie Van Diiyckhuy- 

sen, d. 1723. 
m. 3, 1724, Maria Walter. 


8. SYBILLA, b. November 12, 1664, d. y. 

9. PHILIP, b. February 8, 1666, d. May 24, 1724. 

m. i, July 25, 1687, Elizabeth De Meyer, d. 
m. 2, May 19, 1719, Catharine Schierph, 
widow of Ritsert Brouwer, d. 

10. JOHANNES, b. April 5, 1668, d. February 1747. 

m. 1695, Elizabeth Staats, widow of Jo 
hannes Wendel) d. June, 1737. 

11. MARGARET, b. January 2, 1672, d. May 15, 1748, 

m. i, September 8, 1691, Jacobus Ver- 

planck, d. 1700. 
m. 2, November 2, 1701, John Collins, 

d. April 13, 1728. 


GERTRUDE, eldest daughter of Philip Schuyler, married 
Stephanus Van Cortlandt, September 10, 1671. 

Olof Stevense Van Cortlandt, the father of Stephanus, 
came to New Amsterdam by the ship Haring, 1637, in the 
service of the West India Company, as a soldier. He 
was young and poor, but, having some education, left his 
native land to indulge his taste for adventure, and find a 
field to improve his fortunes. He took the only means at 
command to reach the New World, that of a soldier. 
Nothing is known of his family or antecedents. Some of 
his descendants have assumed that he was related to the 
ducal house of Courland ; that his father served with dis 
tinction in the armies of the United Provinces ; that he 
himself before emigrating was a privy councillor of state, 
and was also " Burgomaster of the great town of Wyck 
in Utrecht." 

If a scion of the Courland dukes, a privy councillor, 
and a burgomaster, it is hardly to be supposed that while 
yet a young man he would consent to play the part of a 
common soldier, and that too in the service of a company 
and not of a state. This pedigree is, however, undoubtedly 
a genealogical myth. 1 Five years after Van Cortlandt s 

1 Sir Bernard Burke is not deaf to the appeals of friends (as witness the 
article Read, in the British Peerage), and for some reason he inserted in the 
Landed Gentry, edition of 1857, p. 1186, under Taylor of Pennington, a 
genealogy of the Van Cortlandt family. Colonel Philip Van Cortlandt, the 
great-grandson of Stephanus Van Cortlandt, was a Tory, and settled in 


arrival in the country, on February 26, 1642, lie married 
Anneke Lookermans. She was doubtless of his own social 
position, and what that was may be inferred from hers. 
She was an emigrant from Turnhout, but nothing is 
known of her family, save that she was a sister of Govert 
[Lookermans, who came to Manhattan, 1633, as cook s 
mate on the yacht St. Martyn, and soon after his arrival 

England, his male issue being now extinct. Burke says (though it is 
somewhat modified in later editions) : "The Van Cortlandts are descended 
from one of the most noble families of Holland, to which country their 
ancestors migrated when deprived of the sovereignty of Courland. The 
Rt. Hon. Oliver Stephen Van Cortlandt, privy councillor, accompanied in 
1629, as secretary to the government, the first Dutch governor sent out by 
the States-General of Holland to the colony now called New York, which 
had been settled some time before. As a compensation to him for large 
sums of money advanced to the government of Holland, he obtained a 
grant of two manors, etc." Every statement here is false, as will be ea 
sily seen. As to the Dukes of Courland the matter is very plain. Cour 
land, Curland or Curonia, the land of the Curs or Kurs, a Finnish people, 
was detached from Livonia when Gotthard Kettler, the Grand Master 
of the Teutonic Knights, embraced Lutheranism and ceded Livonia to 
Sigismund Augustus, King of Poland. Kettler was of the family of the 
Dukes of Berg, and as a reward Courland and Semigallia were erected into 
a duchy for him. He was named duke in 1559, invested in 1561, and died 
in 1587, having married in 1566 (although he had made a vow of celibacy) 
Anne, daughter of Albert, Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. He left two 
sons, Frederick and William ; and two daughters, Anne, who married Prince 
Radziwill, and Elizabeth, who married Adam Wenceslas, Duke of Teschen 
in Silesia. His son Frederick succeeded, and died without issue in 1641, 
having married Elizabeth Madeleine, daughter of Ernest Louis, Duke of 
Pomerania-Wolgast. William then reigned until 1643, having married 
Sophia, second daughter of Albert Frederick, Duke of Prussia and Mar 
grave of Brandenburg, leaving one child, a son, James, who was born in 
1 1610, succeeded in 1643, anc ^ died m X 682. He married in 1645 Lousia 
I Charlotte, daughter of George William, Elector of Brandenburg, and had 
seven children : I, Frederick Casimir ; 2, Ferdinand ; 3, Alexander, 
killed at the siege of Buda, in 1686 ; 4, Marie Amelia, wife of Charles, 
Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel ; 5, Charles James, born in 1654, died without 
issue, at Berlin, in 1677 ; 6, Louise Elizabeth, wife of Frederick of Hesse- 
Ilomburg ; 7, Charlotte Sophia, Abbess of Herford. Frederick Casimir, 
born in 1650, succeeded his father in 1683, anc ^ died m l ^>9^>- He married, 
I, Sophia Amelia, daughter of Henry, Count of Nassau-Siegen, by whom 


was taken into the Company s service. Like his brother- 
in-law, he became in after years a man of wealth and con 

Olof Stevense, as lie wrote his name, and by which 
he was known until toward the close of life, was pro 
moted by Director Kieft, and taken into the civil service 
of the Company. He was made bookkeeper of stores. 
His salary was small, for in 1641 he asked for higher pay, 
and was allowed thirty guilders a month. In 1643 he was 
promoted to be public storekeeper. A few years later 
he left the Company s service, and established himself in 
the business of trader and brewer. His business pros 
pered, and he soon became a man of substance. He was 
the captain of the train band, and was one of the " Nine 
Men," of which body he was chairman. The Nine Men 
were a sort of council, elected by the commonalty to ad 
vise with the director. They were not of much account, 
for if their views of legislation did not agree with the 
director s notions, they were rejected, and the Nine 
Men dissolved. In 1655 he was appointed burgomaster 
of New Amsterdam, and held that position at intervals 
several years. As friend and adviser, he accompanied 

he had a daughter, Louisa Amelia, who married, in 1703, Frederick 
William, Prince of Nassau-Siegen ; and 2, Elizabeth Sophia, daughter of 
Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg, by whom he had a son, Fred 
erick William, born in 1692, who succeeded him in 1698, and died in 
1711, a. few weeks after his marriage with the Tsarevna Anna Ivanovna, 
niece of Peter the Great, and subsequently the Empress Anne of Russia. 
Ferdinand, son of James, then tried to get the throne, but died at Dantzic 
in 1737, without male issue, and the house of Kettler became extinct in the 
male line. After the accession of Anne to the throne of Russia, Ernest 
John Biron was elected Duke of Courland in 1737. He was succeeded by 
his son Peter in 1769, who reigned until 1795, when Courland was defini 
tively annexed to Russia. Two families, Biron-Wartenberg, and Talley 
rand, Prince de Sagan, take now the title of Curland. 
Tn truth, genealogists are sometimes credulous ! 


Stuyvesant to Esopus, and to other places in the province. 
He was one of the delegates sent to Hartford, October, 
1663, to negotiate a settlement of the boundaries. The 
next year he was one of the commissioners to treat with 
General Nicolls, and arrange the terms of the surrender 
of the province to the English forces. 

It matters little what was the origin of Van Cortlandt. By 
nature he was a noble man. He was active in the church, 
liberal in his benefactions, kind to his neighbors, benevo 
lent to the poor, and forgiving to his enemies. On one 
occasion of great excitement in the little community of 
New Amsterdam, the pastor of the church, Rev. E. Bo- 
gardus, uttered a hasty remark reflecting on his integrity. 
Van Cortlandt promptly challenged him to the proof. 
When convinced of his error, the dominie apologized, 
and his elder not only forgave him, but took him back 
to his confidence and affection, as a brother beloved. He 
died April 4, 1684. His wife survived him only about a 
month. They had seven children. One of their daughters 
married Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, son of the first patroon, 
and director of the colony of Rensselaerwyck ; another, 
Andries Teller, of Albany ; a third, first, Johannes Der- 
vall, and second, Frederick Philipse, the millionaire ; the 
youngest, Brant Schuyler, of Albany. Of their three sons 
one died unmarried, and another married Eve Philipse, 
and Stephen, the eldest, Gertrude Schuyler. 

Stephen Van Cortlandt, born in 1643, was forty years old 
when his father died. If the success of a son can gratify a 
father s love, then Olof Stevense had reason for joy, for 
Stephen had already accomplished more than most men 
at the allotted age. 

He early began business as a merchant, and prosecuted 
it with more than ordinary success to the end of life. His 
unimpeachable character for honesty and integrity pro- 


cured for him the confidence of the English governors. 
They bestowed upon him so much of their friendship and 
patronage, as to awaken the jealousy of English mer 
chants, his rivals in trade. They complained to their 
friends in England, that all official patronage was bestowed 
by the governor on a " Dutchman, and Englishmen had 
no chance." 

In 1677, when only thirty-four years old, he was ap 
pointed mayor of New York, the first native-born New 
Yorker who held the office. He retained the position 
only one year, but was reappointed in 1686. The mayors 
of New York and Albany, the only cities in the colony, 
and in the State for many years after the Revolution, were 
appointed by the governor and Council, or by the Com 
mon Council. Their election by the people begins at 1839, 
except in one notable instance. Van Cortlandt was mayor 
when Leisler seized upon the government, 1689, and was 
allowed to hold the office to the end of his term, October 
following. Leisler then issued a proclamation confirming 
Peter De La Noye, who had been elected by the Protes 
tant freemen, under direction of the Committee of Safety. 
This democratic method ceased with Leisler s administra 
tion, and was not again revived for the next century and 
a half. It is related by Valentine, that after the election 
of De La Noye, a committee was sent to Van Cortlandt s 
house for the records and city seal. They were courte 
ously received by his wife in the absence of her husband, 
who had left the city to avoid arrest by Leisler, but she 
declined to deliver the articles in question. The sergeant- 
at-arms, who was directed to go on the same business, met 
with a ruder reception. On delivering his message, she 
bowed him out and shut the door in his face. Of course, 
the newly elected officers were indignant, and resorted to 
intimidation. She was firm, and kept possession. Van 


Cortlandt was legally mayor, notwithstanding the elec 
tion, by the proclamation of King William, confirming all 
officers in their places until further orders. 

He was appointed to the King s Council for New York, 
1680, of which body he was a member to the time of his 
death, with the exception, if exception it may be called, 
of the two years that Leisler held the reins of government. 
He was popular with all the English governors, and with 
some a favorite. Even Lord Bellomont, who was politi 
cally opposed to him, and affiliated with the opposition, 
or the Leislerian party, could speak a good word for him. 
Bellomont, in 1698, appointed him and Diecy Hunger- 
ford collectors of customs and receivers-general in place 
of Chidley Brook, removed, a high compliment to his in 
tegrity and business capacity. Another English official, 
Attorney-General Graham, paid him a similar compliment. 
Writing to the home government, he said, " Colonel Cort 
landt hath now the management of the revenue, by whose 
care and diligence it will be considerably improved." 
Two years later Bellomont said, " I believe he gives a just 
account of all money that comes into his hands." He had 
had some experience as to the duties of the office, for 
Governor Dongan had appointed him, in 1686, " Manager 
of the Revenue," in place of Lucas Santen, suspended, 
and spoke of him " as a sufficient and knowing person." 

Van Cortlandt was connected with the military, and 
rose from an ensign, 1668, to the rank of colonel, 1693. 
At the latter date he commanded the King s County 
militia. He was one of the early merchants of New York 
whose residence was in Brooklyn, where he owned a con 
siderable landed property. Before his death he returned 
to New York. 

From his father s estate he received a large accession to 
his own, so that in 1685 he was one of the wealthiest men 


in New York. It was from the class of large property 
owners that the members of the Council were usually 
selected by instructions of the king. The position ele 
vated them somewhat socially and politically above their 
fellows. They formed a sort of court circle, and were the 
subjects of envy, and frequently of malignant remarks. 
It was common to call them " aristocrats," and their party 
the " aristocratic party." When James II. was on the 
throne, some demagogues termed them " papists," because 
the king s religious proclivities were toward the Church 
of Rome. Although they were good Protestants, and 
members of Protestant churches, they were office-holders 
under a " papistical " king, and hence, like the king, it was 
declared that they were Romanists in disguise. Leisler 
and his adherents were quite ready to apply to them the 
epithets of "aristocrats," papists, and the like always ob 
noxious in a Protestant community, and especially so at 
that time in New York. 

While Leisler ruled, Van Cortlandt s lines did not run 
in pleasant places. His life did not flow smoothly, and 
he was seriously threatened with dangers to person and 
property. Like most persons entrusted with office and re 
sponsibility, he was unwilling to surrender his position at 
the call of a faction raised to the surface by adventitious 
circumstances, and not a regularly constituted authority. 
He had received a printed copy of the proclamation of 
William and Mary, continuing all Protestant magistrates 
and other officers in their positions until further orders, 
and had published it in the usual form. Being a Prot 
estant, mayor of the city, and member of the Council, it 
was his right and duty to stand at his post and obey in 
structions. But this was not so to be. 

He, Frederick Philipse and Nicholas Bayard were the 
only councillors left in the city. Governor Andros had 


gone to New England to attend to his duties there. The 
revolution in England had driven King James from the 
throne, and seated William and Mary in his place. The 
lire of revolution was easily kindled on this side the ocean. 
Massachusetts arrested and imprisoned Andros and his 
attendant councillors. The contagion extended to New 
York, and Leisler became a leader of the Protestant 
masses. He seized the fort, and commanded obedience to 
his authority. Nicholson, the lieutenant-governor, taking 
counsel from his fears, fled to England. The mayor and 
councillors attempted to conduct the affairs of the city 
and province in the usual way, according to the instruc 
tions of the now absent lieutenant-governor, but were re 
sisted by Leisler and his partisans with abuse and blows. 
A mob collected, and became so unrestrained and furious, 
that Bayard, to escape their violence, sought safety in 
flight ; Philipse, fearing for his life and estate, promised to 
abstain from further action, and Van Cortlandt remained 
in his house with closed doors. The evening before hold 
ing the regular court, of which the mayor was president, 
Leisler sent to the other justices, and threatened personal 
violence should they attempt to organize. They were in 
timidated, and refused to sit. The court was accordingly 
adjourned for four weeks. They did not meet again un 
til the power of the usurping faction was broken. 

Van Cortlandt remained in the city awhile longer, 
braving the dangers to his person, and suffering much 
abuse. At last he was obliged to hide, and about August 
ist he went to Albany. There he was among friends, who 
had refused to surrender their city government to Leisler s 
agents. In the following February, 1690, Schenectady was 
burned by the French from Canada, and in the spring 
the city of Albany and the fort were surrendered to Leisler. 
Van Cortlandt then fled to New England, and thence to 

JUDGE. 195 

New Jersey. He was now nearer his home and family, 
and could have some supervision of his business affairs. 
But Leisler did not cease his persecutions. He de 
nounced him as a papist and traitor, and issued a warrant 
for his arrest. Disappointed in securing his person, he 
made proclamation directing any or all magistrates to ap 
prehend him wherever found. But Van Cortlandt escaped 
their vigilance. 

Nicholas Bayard was not so fortunate. He left his hi 
ding-place to visit the bedside of his only son, who was sup 
posed to be dying. It was soon known to Leisler that he 
was in the city. The officers broke into his house, and 
took him prisoner. He was taken to the fort, where by 
Leisler s orders he was heavily ironed, and thrown into 
the dungeon. There he was kept, with William Nicol and 
others, until released by Governor Sloughter. Occasion 
ally, to give him an airing, he was taken out, paraded 
through the fort and on the ramparts, as a spectacle to 
the scoffing mob. It is not to be wondered at, that, when 
he was restored to the Council, he should have been the 
most active in procuring Leisler s conviction and execu 

On the downfall of Leisler, Van Cortlandt resumed his 
old place in the Council, of which he remained an hon 
ored and useful member during life. He was loyal to the 
government, and, when it was short of funds, he made ad 
vances for the support of the troops, and for other pur 
poses, until it was largely in his debt. 

Although a layman, he was made one of the justices of 
the Supreme Court in 1693, and first judge of the Com 
mon Pleas of Kings County. The few lawyers then in 
the province did not sustain a high character for learning 
and ability, and it was thought wiser to place on the 
bench a man of good sense, although unlearned in the law. 


He was not the only layman in colonial times who was 
appointed to such a position. He was the trusted adviser 
of Governor Sloughter, and of his successor, Governor 
Fletcher. Even Lord Bellomont, opposed as he was in 
politics, trusted him, having confidence in his ability and 
honor. When Hungerford, his fellow-officer in the cus 
toms, and a relative of the governor, was dismissed for some 
crookedness, Van Cortlandt was retained in sole charge. 
Toward the close of life his mind was affected by disease, 
and he lost much of his original vigor. Bellomont now 
said of him, " he has grown very crazy and infirm, and is 
very timorous," but did not lose his confidence in his in 
tegrity. Van Cortlandt had not ceased to make advances, 
when the public wants required, and now again the gov 
ernment was in his debt to the amount of three hundred 
pounds. It was a considerable sum for the times, and 
proved the source of some delay in the settlement of his 
accounts after his death ; not of delay only, but of annoy 
ance and injustice to his widow. 

It was then the custom of public officers to keep no 
separate books for their official accounts, but to keep 
them on their own private ledgers. There is at this day, 
in the Comptroller s Office at Albany, a private ledger, 
one hundred and fifty years old, bound in pig-skin, and in 
excellent condition, which belonged to a colonial treas 
urer. It is still retained by the State, to the exclusion of 
the rightful owners, because, it is alleged, there are public 
accounts in it. Ask them to be pointed out, and there is 
no one so wise as to be able to distinguish a public from a 
private one. 

Van Cortlandt, as others before and after him, kept 
his collector s accounts on his private books. In them 
were the items of his advances to the government, as also 
charges against merchants and importers, which he had 


advanced for their accommodation. Although he had been 
ill, his death was sudden and unexpected. He had not 
closed his official accounts. Immediately after his fu 
neral, Bellomont called for an accounting and a settlement. 
This required time and skill, but the governor was impa 
tient, and demanded the books. This was refused by the 
widow, because they belonged to her deceased husband s 
estate, and contained private accounts, as well against 
the colony for advances as against individuals. She pro 
posed that all the collector s accounts should be copied, 
and presented to the governor and Council. When this 
was done, she and her eldest son appeared in the Council- 
chamber, and laid them on the table to be examined in 
the usual way. This was not satisfactory. "The books, 
the books ! " they exclaimed ; nothing but the books would 
satisfy them. The widow was firm, and declined to de 
liver them. Bellomont s temper always rose when op 
posed. Now that a woman dared to refuse compliance 
with his demands, he was enraged. He resorted to his 
usual abusive language, but, seeing the widow was un 
moved, he turned it against Nicholas Bayard and Will 
iam Nicol, whom he had previously removed from the 
Council, alleging that, as they were her relatives, they had 
acted as her counsel in this procedure. Unable to secure 
the books by bluster, he resorted to another method. A 
few days later a resolution was passed in Council that 
they would audit the accounts in open session. The Van 
Cortlandts were invited to meet them on an appointed 
day, and requested to bring their books. They appeared, 
and quietly entered upon the work of settlement. But 
suddenly the books were seized, carried off, and concealed. 
Bellomont, a day or two afterward, wrote to the Lords of 
Trade, exulting over the success of his stratagem. It was 
his last letter to that board. Twelve days after its date he 

198 LANDS. 

followed his old friend and counsellor to the grave, leav 
ing the stolen books to be examined and audited by his 

The settlement of these accounts was deferred from 
time to time, and the records do not show when they were 
finally arranged. In 1702, the widow sent in a petition 
relative to her claim on the government, which was re 
ferred to Mayor Noel. He reported that the books had 
been seized and carried off, and that until they were pro 
duced the claim could not be adjudicated. The next year 
a committee of Council reported in favor of the claim. 
She then asked by petition for the amount reported due 
her late husband. Four years later, 1708, she sent in 
another petition "for the payment of her late husband s 
claim as commissioner of the revenue." It does not ap 
pear when the claim was paid, but it is quite clear that 
.Bellomont s charge, that " the Van Cortlandts were trying 
to cheat the government," was untrue. They were only 
trying to get their own. 

In 1683, Stephanus Van Cortlandt purchased, by license, 
of the Indians, a tract of land lying on the east side of the 
Hudson, beginning at the mouth of the Croton River, 
running north " to the north side of a high hill called 
Anthony s Nose," thence east with parallel north and 
south lines into the woods twenty miles a tract said 
to have contained eighty-three thousand acres. In a 
" chedull " (schedule) attached to the Indian deed are 
enumerated the articles given in payment. There are 
twenty different kinds, such as guns, powder, lead, 
hatchets, kettles, blankets, " two ankers of rum, and six 
yearthen juggs." 

The Highland Indians so dreaded forty years before, 
and still a terror in Stuyvesant s time only twenty years be 
fore, had now become so poor that they were willing and 


anxious to sell a large part of their territory for means 
to prolong a miserable existence. Van Cortlandt about 
the same time purchased another tract on the west side of 
the river. In 1697, Governor Fletcher, in consideration 
of his fees, amounting to "three hundred pieces of eight " 
(three hundred dollars), erected these two tracts into a 
manor, named Cortlandt, and constituted Stephen Van 
Cortlandt its lord. Beside the manor, Van Cortlandt had 
another tract higher up on the river ; also lands in Sussex 
County, New Jersey, and others on the west end of Long 
Island. In fact, he was one of the half-dozen large land 
owners in the province. 

Governor Fletcher, for the sake of the fees, it is said, 
made several large grants of land to individuals who had 
purchased them from the Indians. In a sense it was 
prejudicial to the interests of the colony, retarding popu 
lation. This was not the real cause for the outcry after 
ward raised against them. The true reason was that 
smaller speculators had been shut out. These large 
tracts of land and manors were copied after English ex 
amples, and were in keeping with English thought and 
usage. When Bellomont came, he adopted the cry of 
disappointed parties, and declaimed against Fletcher s 
extravagant grants." He induced his assembly to pass 
an act vacating certain patents for extensive tracts, and 
sent it to England for approval by the Crown. Its oppo 
nents followed with strong representations against it, and 
Fletcher appeared before the Council to justify his action. 
The king s advisers were in doubt, and action was sus 
pended. Bellomont, believing that his influence with the 
Five Nations, and with his party, depended largely on the 
success of the measure, wrote often to the government, 
earnestly urging the approval of the act. He said that 
there were other large grants which should be vacated, but 


all depended upon the fate of the act under consideration. 
He named several, among them Van Cortlandt s, and in 
doing so, he uttered his usual reckless statements without 
regard to facts. He declared that Van Cortlandt had two 
tracts, each twenty-four miles square. The portion of the 
manor on the east side of the river was ten miles by 
twenty, and at the time of Bellomont s letter he had sold 
the part on the west side. 

Stephanus Van Cortlandt modelled his will (dated April 
14, 1700) after that of his wife s father. He appointed 
his wife sole executrix, and gave her charge of the whole 
estate during life, or so long as she remained his widow. 
To his eldest son, Johannes, he gave a portion of the 
manor, now known as Verplanck s Point. The residue of 
the real estate, "whatsoever, and wheresoever it be," after 
his wife s death, he devised to his eleven children, includ 
ing Johannes, to be equally divided between them, or held 
in common, as shall be thought by them and their guar 
dians to be the most advisable. He died, November 25, 
1700. His widow survived him nineteen years or more. 
She was living, October 7, 1719, when she released to her 
youngest daughter, Cornelia Schuyler, two houses on 
Queen Street, now Pearl Street, New York. 

The manor was held in common until 1733, when there 
was a partial division, and the next year another. It was 
not until December, 1753, that the heirs entered into an 
agreement for the final partition of the manor and other 
real estate. At this time the real estate consisted of the 

1 Bolton, in his History of Westchester County, says that the final di 
vision occurred November 4, 1734. An indenture, dated December 14, 
1753, signed by the ten living heirs, and recorded in the State Secretary s 
office, Deeds, No. 16, pp. 289-291, will correct the mistake. Bolton also 
says, that "lot 8, John Schuyler, had been sold prior to the partition" of 
1734. Reference to the will of his widow, dated November 29, 1758, 
shows this to be an error. 


Manor Cortlandt ; a tract of land lying about opposite 
Nevvburg, that is, from Fishkill Creek to five hundred 
rods north of Wappinger s Creek, extending east sixteen 
miles ; and " twelve hundred acres, called Bowman s Farm, 
in Sussex County, on the east side of Delaware Bay, 
granted to him by the proprietors of Pennsylvania." 

According to the " true genealogy as taken from my 
grandfather s papers," sent to a friend by General Pierre 
Van Cortlandt, 1826, Stephanus Van Cortlandt had four 
teen children, eleven of whom were living when he died. 
One, Elizabeth, born 1691, is not among the names of 
children baptized in the church. -Two, Gertrude, 1688, 
and Gysbert, 1689, were apparently born after they were 
baptized ! It is to be presumed that the records of the 
church are right, and " grandfather s papers" slightly 
wrong. There were eleven living when the will was 
made, all mentioned by names. Olof, the second son, 
died unmarried, and by his will, December 23, 1706, de 
vised his portion of the estate to his ten surviving brothers 
and sisters, according to the terms of his father s will. 

In 1753, these ten children were living. They were, 

1. Johannes, m. Anna Van Schaick. He had one child, 
a daughter, Gertrude, who married Philip Verplanck. 
She brought to her husband, besides other property, the 
" neck of land on the east side of Hudson s River, at the 
entering of the Highlands, just over against a certain 
place called Haverstroo, known by the Indians as Moanah." 
It is now called Verplanck s Point, from her husband. 

2. Margreitje, m. first Samuel Bayard, only son of 
Nicholas Bayard, Jacob Leisler s prisoner. After his 
death she married Peter Kemble, of New Jersey. 

3. Anna, m. Stephen De Lancey, a French Huguenot, 
who after the revocation of the edict of Nantes, first 
took refuge in England, where he was naturalized, and 


then came to New York. He became a prosperous 
merchant, and later a politician, being a member of As 
sembly several terms. He acquired a very considerable 
fortune. His eldest son, James, was chief-justice of New 
York, and lieutenant-governor. He was distinguished 
for his abilities, and success as a politician. Another son, 
Oliver, was also distinguished, but for other reasons. In 
the Revolution he fought in the British ranks against the 
country that gave his father asylum. He commanded a 
Westchester battalion, better known as the Cowboys. The 
French blood of the De Lanceys, said to have been derived 
from a noble family, led most of the family into the ranks 
of the loyalists, better known as tories. 

4. Maria, m. first Killian Van Rensselaer, patroon of 
Rensselaerwyck ; and second, John Miller. Her first 
husband was a man of considerable influence, not on ac 
count of his large estate only, but also because of his ac 
tivity in common life, and his political success. He was 
a member of the king s council when he died. * 

5. Philip, m. Catherine de Peyster. After the death of 
his brothers John and Olof, Philip became head of the 
house, and as the manor was not yet partitioned among the 
heirs, he was recognized as its lord, the third of that ilk. 
The mixture of Dutch and French blood did not cement 
their posterity politically. A grandson, Philip, embraced 
the British side in the Revolution, while their son Pierre 
was true to his country, and to the traditions of his Dutch 
ancestors. He joined his liberty-loving countrymen, and 
with his sons stood firm to the cause of American liberty. 

6. Stephen, m. Catalina Staats, a daughter of Dr. Sam 
uel Staats, one of Leisler s council, and chief adviser, 
when the elder Stephen was forced to hide. The son and 
daughter had forgotten the political differences of their 
fathers. Their descendants in the direct line are extinct. 


Three in the female line own each a farm of the old 
manor, one of whom wears a splendid heirloom once worn 
by Jacob Leisler s wife. 

7. Gertrude, m. Colonel Henry Beekman, of Rhine- 
beck, grandson of Willem Beekman, deputy director of 
the West India Company s colony on the Delaware, and 
for a brief period chief officer at the Esopus. His uncle, 
Gerardus, was another of Leisler s council. Colonel Beek 
man was a large landowner. It was said of him, that his 
greed for land was such that, if there were any land in 
the moon, he would try to own the greater part of it. 

8. Elizabeth, m. Rev. William Skinner. It is related of 
him that his true name was McGregor, that he was com 
promised in the rebellion of 1715 in Scotland, and lied to 
this country under an assumed name ; and that, being a 
man of fine education, he took orders, and settled as the 
first pastor of the Episcopal Church of Perth Am boy, 
N. J. 

9. Catherine, m. Andrew Johnston, a son of a member 
of the Council both of New York and New Jersey. 

10. Cornelia, m. John Schuyler, Jr., son of Johannes 
Schuyler, of Albany, and her cousin. In her will, dated 
November 29, 1758, and proved November 24, 1762, she 
gives to her son Philip, afterward the general, thirty 
pounds in satisfaction of his claim as being the eldest son. 
She directs her farm on the east side of the Hudson, ad 
joining Philip Verplanck s, to be divided equally between 
her sons Philip and Stephen, Stephen to have the first 
choice. To her daughter Gertrude she devises the 
houses and lots on Queen Street, New York, and to her 
son Cortlandt she bequeaths eighteen hundred pounds, 
as equivalent to the respective shares of her other chil 
dren. The residue of the estate is to be equally divided 
between the four. 


Johannes, eldest son of Stephanus Van Cortlandt, died 
without male issue. Olof, the second son, having died 
unmarried, Philip, the third son, became the head of the 
house. He had live sons, three of whom died in early 
manhood, leaving no posterity. By the adherence of his 
eldest brother s sons to the royal cause in the Revolution, 
Pierre, the youngest of the five brothers, became the head 
of the American family. 

When the Revolutionary war commenced, Pierre Van 
Cortlandt was appointed president of the committee of 
public safety. By his earnest zeal and valuable services 
in the patriot cause, he commended himself to the friends 
of liberty. In 1777, he was elected the first lieutenant- 
governor on the ticket with George Clinton, the first 
governor of the State, and held the position for eighteen 
consecutive years. During the war his activity made 
him so obnoxious to the British authorities that they of 
fered a bounty for his capture, dead or alive. He was 
obliged w r ith his family to abandon his home, and seek 
safety in a place remote from the district patrolled by 
Oliver De Lancey s "Cowboys." He died in May, 1814. 
He had four sons, two of whom died before him, leaving 
no children. His eldest son, Philip, was a colonel in the 
American army, and served with distinction through the 
war. He was in the battles which resulted in the sur 
render of Burgoyne. He was with General Sullivan in 
his campaign against the Indians of Western New York, 
and in the only battle led his regiment in a bayonet 
charge which decided the day. He was in the siege of 
Yorktown, where he rendered important services, for 
which Congress conferred on him the rank of brigadier- 
general. Before hostilities actually commenced, large in 
ducements were held out both to him and his father, to 
identify themselves with the royal cause. They were 


proof against the flattering bribes, and against the argu 
ments of friends. After the close of the war Colonel 
Van Cortlandt returned to his home, having won an 
enviable reputation as a soldier. Subsequently he repre 
sented his district in Congress sixteen years, declining a 
re-election in 1811. He died a bachelor, November, 1831, 
and was succeeded by his brother, Major-General Pierre 
Van Cortlandt, as his heir and representative of the eldest 
line. The manor house built by Stephanus Van Cort 
landt is yet occupied by a descendant. 

Stephen, the eldest son of Philip (5), married in 1738 
Mary Walton Ricketts, of Jamaica. His eldest son Philip, 
b. Nov. 10, 1739, married in 1762 Catherine Ogden. He 
became a Colonel in the British Army and removed to 
England. Of his twenty-three children, several of the 
daughters married and left descendants. His sons all died 
without children, and the English branch is therefore ex 
tinct in the male line. 1 

1 See Burke s Landed G entry , under Taylor of Pennington. 


NICOLAUS VAN RENSSELAER was the first husband of 
Alyda (Alida as she wrote it), second daughter of Philip 
Schuyler, married February 10, 1675. He was the fourth 
son of Killian Van Rensselaer, the third by his second 
wife, and came to Albany in the fall of 1674. The colony 
established by his father had been visited by three of his 
own brothers, two of whom had returned to Holland, and 
the third, Jeremiah, who had superintended the affairs of 
the colony sixteen years, had just died. As Jeremiah s 
children were too young to be in charge of the large 
estate, in which they held only one-sixth interest, his ar 
rival was opportune. 

The Van Rensselaers were an old, and in their time 
well-known, family of Gelderland, from the neighborhood 
of Nykerk. Rensselaer, the manor from which the family 
took its name, lies about three miles southeast of Nykerk, 
and was originally a riddergoed, or estate the possession of 
which conferred nobility, but is now a mere farm, inhabit 
ed by a peasant, who has pulled down the old gables and 
weathercocks, which even twenty years ago bore the 
family crest. But even before the establishment of the 
colony in America, the seat of the Van Rensselaer family 
had been the Crailo, a large and productive estate near 
the fortified town of Naarden, on the Zuyder Zee, not far 
from Amsterdam. The Van Rensselaer arms, 1 either 

1 These arms are a silver cross molines on a red shield. The crest is a 
basket from which issue flames. 


alone or quartered with others, appear frequently on 
house-fronts and tombstones in Arnhem, Zutphen, Deven- 
ter, and other neighboring towns, and show both the 
position of the family and its frequent alliances. There 
has been a constant tradition that the family was re 
lated to that of Olden Barneveldt, the famous patriot 
and statesman. Contemporary portraits of John of Olden 
Barneveldt, and of his wife, Marie of Utrecht, were pre 
served as heirlooms in the family until the sale of the 
Crailo, in 1830. The original Manor of Olden Barneveldt 
is close to that of Rensselaer, about six miles south of 
Nykerk, and between Nykerk, Amersfoort and the man 
ors of Stoutenburg and Groeneveld, which were erected 
into noble domains for Barneveldt s two sons. 

The first historical mention is of Johan Van Rensselaer, 
a captain of a hundred men, who did good service in Fries- 
land for the King of Spain, in the early part of the sixteenth 
century. 1 Captain Herman Van Rensselaer was grievously 
wounded at the battle of Nieuwport, in 1600, and died in 
the following year, according to the inscription on his 
tomb in the Church of St. Jan at Amersfoort. In the same 
church is a tablet of the consistory of the church, on which 
Dom. Harmanus Van Rensselaer is mentioned, in 1636. 
By far the most interesting memorial of the family in Hol 
land is the fine picture of the first regents of the orphan 
asylum at Nykerk (which was founded in 1638, and opened 
in 1641), painted by Breecker, in 1645, containing full-length 
portraits of Jan Van Rensselaer, the Jonkheer Nicolaus 
Van Delen, Ryckert Van Twiller, and three others. The 
last male member of the family in Holland was Jeremias 
Van Rensselaer (who was also a regent of this orphan 
asylum), who died in Nykerk, April n, 1819. He had 

1 Arent Van Slichtenhorst, Geldersse Geschicdenissen, Book i., p. 108. 


married Judic Henrietta Duval, but had no children, and 
in his will stated that besides his wife he had no heirs 
except the Van Rensselaer family, living somewhere in 

The family estate of the Crailo had passed into the hands 
of the female line, the last of whom, Joanna Jacoba Sara 
Van Rensselaer, from Amsterdam, was married to Jonkheer 
Jan Bowier, Member of the States of North Braband, colo 
nel of the militia, proprietor of the Manor Coudewater, at 
Rosmalen, near s Bosch. She was the mother of twelve 
children, and died in 1830, when the Manor of Crailo was 
sold. Two sons of this marriage, the Jonkheer Hugo Jan 
Jacob Bowier, and the Jonkheer Martin Bowier, colonel 
in the royal marines, and at one time commandant of the 
Dutch naval forces off Atchin, have been allowed by royal 
license to assume the name and arms of Van Rensselaer. 

To return to Killian Van Rensselaer, the founder of the 
American family. He was married twice, first to Hilde- 
gonda Van Bylcr, and second, in 1627, to Anna Van Wely, 
of Amsterdam, daughter of Jan Van Wely the younger, of 
Barneveldt, residing at The Hague, and of Leonora Hauk- 
ens, of Antwerp. The first and second wives were appar 
ently cousins. Jan Van Wely, the father of the second wife, 
had a tragic fate. He was not only a prominent and re 
spected merchant of Amsterdam, but the adinodiator or ad- 
minstrator of the County of Buren, a domain of the Prince 
of Orange. In 1600 and 1601, he had been chosen by the 
merchants of Amsterdam as their representative with the 
army, that they might have sure and regular news. It was 
then that he received a large gold medal, representing the 
battle of Nieuwport, which he transmitted as an heirloom 
to his descendants. In 1616, Van Wely was sent for to The 
Hague by Prince Maurice, and brought with him some 
diamonds and precious stones, which the Prince wished 

VAN WELY. 209 

to purchase, worth about one hundred thousand florins. 
While waiting for the Prince in his cabinet, Van Wely was 
murdered by two officers of the guard, and his body con 
cealed under the table until it could be taken out and 
buried in an ashpit. 1 This murder, though perpetrated 
solely for plunder, turned out in the end to have political 
effects. On the representation of the widow, Hans Van 
Wely, her eldest son, was continued in the duties and privi 
leges of admodiator<A Buren, and there lies before me now 
a letter written to him by Prince Maurice, in 1619, on the 
business of his office. 

Whether or not Killian Van Rcnsselaer was associated 
with the business of his father-in-law (for although lie 
married Anna Van Wely ten years after her father s death, 
there seem to have been previous connections of some 
kind), he is known to have dealt in pearls and precious 
stones, and to have had some reputation as a banker and 
general merchant. 

When the West India Company was organized, he was 
one of its first directors, and appears on the list of the 
"lord-directors, who have served the Company from the 
beginning to the end of the year 1636," as "principal 
partner-director." When the Company, in 1629, adopted 
the charter for patroons, " Freedoms and Exemptions," 
he was among the first who prepared to establish colonies 
in New Netherland. In April, 1630, his agents purchased 
from the native proprietors a tract of land on the west 
side of the Hudson, extending from the mouth of the 
Mohawk River south twenty-four miles, and two days 
journey (twenty-four miles) into the country, and on 
the east side of the river other large tracts extending 
twenty-four miles east. For these lands a patent was 

1 See Motley s John of Barneveldt, vol. ii., p. 51. 


granted by the director at Manhattan, August 13, 1630. 
Nearly seven years after another tract on the east side of 
the river was purchased, so that the lands on the east side- 
equalled those on the west. The entire tract was twenty- 
four miles north and south, and forty-eight miles east and 
west ; and it contained over seven hundred thousand acres 
of tillable land. The present cities of Albany and Troy 
are within its limits. The patents issued by the resident- 
director were approved and confirmed by the West India 
Company, and subsequently, when New Netherland be 
came English, by the governor and Council. The title 
then acquired has resisted the numerous attacks made 
upon it and has been held good by King s Councils, by 
the courts, and by legislatures. Those who question it 
now are tenants, who are unwilling to pay the very 
moderate rent demanded. 

One of the conditions of the patroon s charter required 
that a colony of at least fifty persons above fifteen years of 
age be sent from Holland within four years. Capital was 
required to comply with this condition. Van Rensselaer, 
like the other patroons, formed a copartnership, October i, 
1630, with three brother directors of the Company, for 
the purpose of the more speedy settlement and develop 
ment of his large territory. These were Samuel Godyn, 
Johannes de Laet, and Samuel Bloemmaert, who each had 
one share in the common stock, Van Rensselaer retaining 
two shares. It was a partnership in the soil and its prod 
ucts. It did not affect the rights and privileges of the 
patroon, which Van Rensselaer reserved to himself. 
Bloemmaert took two others into partnership with him 
self in his own share. 

Previous to the date of this copartnership, Van Rens 
selaer had sent out twenty colonists with farming utensils, 
woodsmen s tools, and a few sheep. During the first two 


years he sent out thirty-one people at an expense, includ 
ing interest, of fourteen hundred and nine guilders, which 
was paid by the several partners pro rata according to 
their shares. The work of colonization continued year 
by year, until 1646, when it seems to have ceased, owing 
perhaps to the death of Van Rensselaer. The colony, 
however, was thoroughly established, and was now attract 
ing emigrants, who came as freemen, to prosecute in the 
the new country the trades which they had learned in the 

Killian Van Rensselaer, the projector of the colony 
named Rensselaerwyck, died in 1646. Up to this time the 
affairs of the colony had been managed with wisdom and 
prudence by Arent Van Curler. There had been no collis-. 
ions with the Indians, either \vith the Mohegans, their im 
mediate neighbors, or with the Mohawks who lived on the 
Mohawk River, thirty miles to the northwest. While 
Manhattan, under the direction of Kieft, had been deso 
lated with war, and was in a state of unrest and fear, 
Beverwyck, the village of Van Rensselaer s colony had 
been kept in quiet and safety. Farmers cultivated their 
fields, and slept in their detached houses at night, appar 
ently as safe as if in Holland. The .investment had 
yielded no income to the projectors, but their outlays had 
been small, and they could afford to be patient. If not to 
them, to their children or grandchildren would come a 
rich harvest. Poor souls, when they put up their money, 
it was with the expectation of a speedy return, not as an 
investment for their posterity ! 

Van Rensselaer was, as has been said, twice married. 
By his first wife he had an only son, Johannes. By his 
second, he had four sons and three daughters. Johannes 
was yet a minor. The estate of his deceased father, both 
in Holland and New Netherland was in charge of execu- 


tors. They selected Brant Arentse Van Slichtenhorst to 
take charge of the colony in place of Van Curler, resigned ; 
and instructed him to manage prudently, and make it yield 
some returns if possible, but more than all to maintain its 
privileges and rights under the charter. About the same 
time, Petrus Stuyvesant was appointed director-general of 
New Netherland by the West India Company with similar 
instructions. The Company had regretted its adoption of 
u Freedoms and Exemptions," because the patroons had 
interfered with their trade and diminished their profits. 
They had bought up all the colonies established under 
that charter except Rensselaerwyck. This was not in the 
market. Unable to buy it, the Company determined to 
-kill or to cripple it. The differences which arose among 
the managers of the Company had forced Van Rensselaer 
out of the direction. He was now dead, and those most 
interested were minors. Now was the time to strike. Stuy 
vesant, as a military officer, knew what was meant by 
instructions, and obeyed them to the letter. While he 
was forcing Van Slichtenhorst to the wall, the Company 
watched their opportunity at home. This was soon pre 
sented. A minor could not exercise the functions of a 
patroon without a special act of the States-General. It 
was of the first importance for the interests of the colony, 
that Johannes Van Rensselaer should be rendered compe 
tent to act, and become patroon. Accordingly the execu 
tors, October 21, 1648, presented a petition to the States- 
General that Johannes Van Rensselaer be invested with 
high, middle, and low jurisdiction over the colony of 
Rensselaerwyck. The petition, with the accompanying 
papers, was sent to the West India Company for their crit 
icism. Four weeks after, Bloemmaert, de Laet and their 
associates sent in a petition, praying for an accounting on 
the part of the executors. To this the executors made a 


reply, when after the lapse of some months, the whole 
matter was referred to commissioners to adjudicate. 
Meantime complaints against the acts of Stuyvesant were 
received and referred. At last, April 7, 1650, the States- 
General resolved to grant a patent of investiture, provided 
the bounds of the colony were defined, in order "that they 
may be examined before further action is taken." 

The petition of the copartners had been referred to the 
courts for adjudication. A verdict \vas given, obliging 
the executors to render a true and just account in detail 
of expenses and receipts during the life of the first 
patroon, and since his death ; and that all the provisions 
of the original contract as to management be faithfully 
observed. This judgment was affirmed by the States- 
General, June, 1650, three months after their resolution 
of investiture. The questions in controversy between the 
executors and the copartners were now adjudicated, and 
it is presumed a just accounting w r as made to the satisfac 
tion of all concerned. Two years afterward we find 
Johannes Van Rensselaer (now termed patroon) uniting 
with Johan de Laet, son and heir of Johannes de Laet 
deceased in 1649, and the heirs of the other partners, in a 
petition to the States-General for a redress of grievances 
inflicted by Petrus Stuyvesant, which was referred to the 
West India Company. Other memorials complaining of 
the acts of the Company were addressed to the States- 
General and had the usual reference. After 1653 there 
were no petitions. A settlement of some kind seems to 
have been made, probably by Jan Baptist Van Rensselaer, 
after he had assumed control as director of the colony. 
There were evidently concessions on both sides, and the 
two jurisdictions worked more in harmony. Before leav 
ing this subject I shall once more refer to the action taken 
by the Company in 1674. 


New Netherland, after being in the possession of the 
English nine years, was recaptured by a Dutch licet on 
August 9, 1673, and possession was taken in the name of 
the States-General. The West India Company, still in 
existence, saw the opportunity to make up some of its 
losses. To do this more effectually, there must be no side 
issues. Old controversies must not be revived, and least 
of all that with the colony of Rensselaerwyck. On April 
2, 1674, two members of the Company, duly authorized, 
appeared before a notary of Amsterdam, and made a dec 
laration in favor of the colony of Rensselaerwyck. that 
having examined the patent of the colony, and other 
papers and documents relating thereto, they declare in the 
name of the Company, that the patroon and copartners 
have been in rightful possession of Beverwyck since 1630 ; 
that the possession taken by Director Stuyvesant did not 
impair their title ; that the Company has no right or pre 
tension thereto ; and that therefore they conceded the 
true ownership to the patroon and his associates. 

The first patroon had carefully watched over the affairs 
of the colony. He had secured in 1642 the services of a 
minister, one of the most eminent divines of the Dutch 
Church in America, Rev. Johannes Megapolensis. He 
had built a church, and had provided a schoolmaster. It 
is a tradition that he visited the colony to become more 
familiar with its situation, wants, and future prospects. 
It is only tradition. There are no recorded facts to au 
thenticate it. His cousin, Arent Van Curler, managed its 
affairs about sixteen years, having come with the emigrants 
of 1630. Van Slichtenhorst, his successor, was perhaps as 
well adapted to the place as anyone whose services could 
be secured. The executors of Van Rensselaer were well 
aware that the Company was hostile to the colony, and 
sought its suppression. Hitherto they had been unable 


to inflict any serious injury owing to Kieft s unhappy 
administration. But now that he was recalled and a 
soldier of Stuyvesant s character appointed to the place, 
they were well aware that the strife must begin. Van 
Slichtenhorst, with his trained mind and strong will joined 
to honesty of purpose, was the man for the place. The 
inevitable contest between the right on the one hand, and 
the determination to win, right or wrong, on the other, 
soon began ; with what results we have seen. While the 
controversy was going on, and Van Slichtenhorst was a 
prisoner in New Amsterdam, Jan Baptist Van Rensselaer, 
the second son of the deceased patroon, arrived in 1651. 
His brother, Johannes, had been made patroon by the act 
of the highest authority in Holland, and as his representa 
tive, he came to advise with Van Slichtenhorst, and when 
necessary take his place as director. Among the first 
measures now adopted was to require the inhabitants of 
the colony to take the " Burgerlyke oath of allegiance," 
that is, " to support offensively and defensively, against 
every one, the right and jurisdiction of the colony." This 
oath had been heretofore required of the officers, but not 
of the colonists. 

Jan Baptist Van Rensselaer s commission as director is 
dated May 8, 1652. Whether he entered immediately on 
his duties does not appear. It is, however, probable that 
Van Slichtenhorst discharged the duties of the position 
until about his return in 1655. Stuyvesant had separated 
the village of Beverwyck from the colony, attached it to 
Fort Orange, set up an independent jurisdiction, and 
farmed out the excise. The first collision between Van 
Rensselaer and Stuyvesant occurred in 1656, when an at 
tempt was made to collect the excise, which Van Rensse 
laer resisted. He voluntarily visited New Amsterdam to 
effect some arrangement. He remonstrated against the 


acts of the director-general as in violation of their charter, 
and presented a strong argument on behalf of the colony, 
which Stuyvesant pronounced " frivolous." He was re 
quired to give bonds that no further obstruction should be 
made to the collection of the excise, or remain at New 
Amsterdam under arrest. The bond was given, and he 
returned to his duties. He could not contend against the 
power and unreason of the director-general. He seemed 
to have had a more delicate organization than his predeces 
sor, and a nature too sensitive to endure the worry of his 
position. He retired, and was succeeded in 1658, by his 
brother Jeremiah, who was in charge of the colony for six 
teen years, until his death in October, 1674. He seems to 
have submitted quietly to the injustice of the Company as 
inflicted by their director-general, and to have made the 
most of the situation. The reign of the Company was 
drawing to its close. The last nine years of his director 
ship were under another government, and were more quiet. 
From the time Jeremiah Van Rensselaer became director, 
up to 1664, Stuyvesant had so much else on his hands, that 
he gave less attention to Rensselaerwyck, and was more 
frequently obliged to ask assistance from the persecuted 
colony, than in the years of Van Slichtenhorst. He treated 
Van Rensselaer with some consideration, and when the 
province was threatened by the English, he invited him to 
come to New Amsterdam and preside over the convention 
assembled to take measures for defence. 

In the beginning of the Esopus war, 1663, Stuyvesant 
wrote to the magistrates of Fort Orange that he had been 
informed that they had detained fifty to sixty volunteers 
who were ready to render assistance against the savages. 
La Montagne and Van Rensselaer immediately asked for 
names and proof. Stuyvesant replied that he did not lack 
for proof, " if the cabbage was worth the soup." To this 


they rejoined, that after investigating the accusation, it 
was not worth their while to concern themselves further 
about it, "so that we too leave the soup with the cabbage." 
A passage in the letter is worth quoting : 

" God and we ourselves know, how gladly we would see 
our friends helped, and what efforts we are making in this 
direction, with which you yourself have expressed satisfac 
tion. We wish we could do more ; but we have to con 
sider besides the golden lesson of Christ, that we, who 
live here quietly, surrounded by heathens and barbarians 
without being able to get assistance from any source in 
times of need, are obliged first to take care of our own 
houses, and especially not to get involved in quarrels and 

When the English came into possession of the province, 
Jeremiah Van Rensselaer took the oath of allegiance to 
the British crown. According to the terms of surrender, 
he was left in quiet possession of the colony, as then cir 
cumstanced, the village of Beverwyck being still under 
control of the fort. He conducted its affairs without the 
interference of the government and acquired an enviable 
reputation as an executive officer. It was his policy to 
preserve the peace between the colonists and the sur 
rounding Indians, a policy which had been inaugurated in 
the beginning, and was pursued until the Revolution. 
He secured the confidence and respect of the Indians by a 
just and humane treatment. They appreciated his kind 
ness, and guarded his colony from the assaults of hostile 
Indians as carefully as their own castles. 

When, in 1673, the province was again possessed by the 
Dutch, Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, after a personal inter 
view with the Dutch admiral and captains, delivered a 
brief petition, soliciting that the colony of Rensselaer- 


wyck might remain undisturbed in his possession as 
agent of the family. This was granted for one year, 
in which time he was required to have the matter ad 
judicated in Holland. It was adjudicated, and resulted 
in the declaration of the West India Company heretofore 

It soon became known that the province would be sur 
rendered to the English by the treaty of peace, when the 
members of the Van Rensselaer family then residing in 
Holland sent a petition to the Duke of York, praying that 
he would direct his governor, Andros, to investigate their 
title to the colony, and report to him, to the end he might 
grant them letters-patent, which in his judgment he should 
think fitting and just. The duke, after careful examina 
tion, referred the papers to Andros, with instructions to 
investigate and report. Andros report was submitted by 
the duke to his lawyers, on whose opinion Andros was di 
rected to issue a patent for Rensselaerwyck, including the 
village of Beverwyck, which Stuyvesant had potentially 
taken from them, reserving only the ground occupied by 
the fort. The inhabitants who had been obliged to take 
out patents from Stuyvesant w r ere not to be oppressed, 
but for thirty-one years were to pay a nominal rent, after 
which they and the proprietors were to make their own 
terms. Why Andros did not issue a patent according to 
instructions is not manifest. It is probable he did not 
wisli to involve himself in the trouble it would occasion 
him, but preferred rather to let matters drift. His war 
rant to draw the patent is dated London, June 7, 1678. 
Rumors as to the duke s intentions had reached Albany 
and were creating some excitement. To allay them An 
dros wrote to the magistrates, saying, that although the 
duke intended to give the Van Rensselaers their just 
rights, such as they had enjoyed before 1652, it should be 


done without injustice to others. He cautioned the courts 
and officers to preserve the peace, and keep the inhabi 
tants from useless expense merely on rumors. But what 
ever may have been the reason, Andros did not issue a 

Colonel Dongan succeeded Andros. Application was 
made to him for the patent, on the warrant of the king. 
He declined to grant it, because, as he says, he did not 
think it " convenient that the second town in the govern 
ment should be in the hands of private men." He con 
ceived it to be more for the public interests that Albany 
should be detached from the colony and be made an in 
dependent town under the government of the province. 
He negotiated with Van Rensselaer, and, after securing 
his object, in 1685 he issued a patent to Killian, son of 
Johannes Van Rensselaer, deceased, and Killian, son of 
Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, deceased, erecting the colony 
into a manor, and creating Killian, son of Johannes, its 
first lord. Hereafter the colony of Killian Van Rensse-. 
laer, first patroon, is a manor governed according to Eng 
lish usage. The following year the old village of Bever- 
wyck received a city charter, by name of Albany. Its 
limits were one mile north and south on the Hudson, and 
sixteen miles in a northwest direction. It was a proud 
day for the inhabitants when the charter was received. 
They were now under the provincial government, and the 
quarrels about jurisdiction were ended. The Van Rens- 
selaers were wise in making the concession. It had its in 
fluence ever after in preserving their title to the rest of 
their lands from successful assault. 

It will be remembered that Johannes de Laet was one 
of the copartners of the first patroon, owning one share, 
or a fifth of the whole. After his death, in 1649, his son 
Johannes acted for himself and coheirs. His sister Jo- 


harm a owned one-half of her father s share, or one-tenth of 
the manor. She married Johannes de Hulter, who with his 
family and servants sailed from Amsterdam, May, 1653, for 
the colony. This was after the decision of the suit insti 
tuted for an accounting. He was the first and the only 
one of the copartners who thought it worth the expense 
to visit his American possessions. He came prepared to 
establish a manufacturing business, meanwhile keeping 
watch over the affairs of the colony. He lived less than 
four years, and after his death his widow sold her brick and 
tile kilns, her houses and lots, preparatory to a settlement 
at the Esopus, where her late husband had purchased five 
hundred morgens (one thousand acres) of land. She after 
ward married Jeronimus Ebbing, a prosperous merchant 
of New York. In 1673 she petitioned the Dutch admiral, 
who had recently conquered New York, to require Jere 
miah Van Rensselaer to render an account of his adminis 
tration of the colony, a thing which had not been done in 
twelve years. The admiral summoned Van Rensselaer 
before him, and learning from his own lips that Mrs. 
Ebbing s statements were true, he required him to render 
an itemized account within two months, to be recorded in 
the secretary s office. Van Rensselaer may perhaps have 
made the account, which convinced the Ebbings there was 
little profit to be expected from their share in the colony. 
Soon after, at all events, they sold their interest for a 
bouwery on the east side of the Hudson, the price of 
which was fixed at 5,762 florins currency. They afterward 
sold the farm, in the deed for which it is expressed that it 
represented one-tenth of the colony of Rensselaerwyck. 
The farm afterward came into the possession of Philip 
Schuyler, whose heirs sold it in 1711 for 1,241 pounds cur 
rency. The heirs and representatives of the other co 
partners in 1685 sold their interests to the Van Rens- 


selaers for 3,600 florins, Holland money. The entire 
property was now in the Van Rensselaer family. The 
original patroon and all the copartners were dead. Jo 
hannes, the eldest, and Jeremiah, the third son, were also 

Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, who had had charge of the 
colony since 1658, died October 14, 1674, N.S. His 
brother, Nicolaus, arrived soon after, and the next year 
petitioned the Governor and Council to be appointed di 
rector of the colony in the place of his brother Jeremiah. 
To this appointment opposition was made by the widow 
of Jeremiah, a daughter of Olof Stevense Van Cortlandt, 
and her brother Stephanus. It was finally arranged, 
giving Nicolaus the directorship, the widow to be the 
treasurer, and her brother bookkeeper. Three hundred 
bushels of wheat were set apart for their salaries, of which 
the director w r as to have one-half, and the other half di 
vided between the treasurer and bookkeeper. The death 
of Nicolaus, November, 1678, left the widow in charge of 
the colony. She was advised by her brother ; but as he 
resided in New York and had his own large business and 
employments, he could render her little assistance. Her 
health was impaired, and she was obliged to use crutches. 
The labor and responsibility of watching over so large an 
estate, not only of lands and tenants, " but of grist-mills, 
saw-mills, and others on an ever-running stream " near her 
residence, were too much for her. She longed for the 
arrival of he/ late husband s youngest brother, Richard, 
from Holland, whom she expected, but who never came. 
Her eldest son, Killian, was yet too young to afford her 
much assistance. Yet she managed to supervise the ten 
ants and keep the wheels of her mills in motion. She 
lived long enough to sec her son and his cousin receive 
an English patent securing the large estate to the family. 


She was a remarkable woman, and deserves to be held in 
grateful remembrance by her posterity. 1 

Although the name of the estate was changed from a 
colony to a manor, the jurisdiction of the lord was about 
the same as that of patroon. Its owners did not change 
their title, and were ahvays called patroons. 

Johannes Van Rensselaer, the second patroon, never 
visited the colony. He died at an early age, leaving a son 
and daughter. His son, Killian, when of age, came to Al 
bany, and received naturalization papers from the Eng 
lish colonial government. He married his cousin, Anna, 
daughter of Jeremiah Van Rensselaer. Less than two years 
after the first English patent was issued, he died without 

1 In the journal of the voyage of the Labadist missionaries, Dankers and 
Sluyter, to New York in 1679-80, we find an interesting mention of this 

"27/72, Saturday. We went to call upon a certain Madam Rentselaer, 
widow of the Heer Rentselaer, son of the founder of the colony of Rent- 
selaerwyck, comprising twelve miles square from Fort Orange, that is, 
twenty-four miles square in all. She is in possession of the place, and ad 
ministers it as patroness, until one Richard Van Rentselaer, residing at 
Amsterdam, shall arrive in the country, whom she expected in the summer, 
when he would assume the management of it himself. This lady was 
polite, quite well informed, and of good life and disposition. She had 
experienced several proofs of the Lord. The breaking up of the ice had 
once carried away her mansion, and everything connected with it, of which 
place she had made too much account. Also, in some visitations of her 
husband, death, and others before. In her last childbed she became 
lame or weak in both of her sides, so that she had to walk with two canes 
or crutches. In all these trials, she had borne herself well, and God left 
not himself without witness in her. She treated us kindly, and we eat 
here exceedingly good pike, perch, and other fish, which now began to 
come and be caught in great numbers. We had several conversations with 
her about the truth, and practical religion, mutually satisfactory. We 
went to look at several of her mills at work, which she had there on an 
ever-running stream grist-mills, saw-mills, and others. One of the grist 
mills can grind one hundred and twenty schepels of meal in twenty-four 
hours, that is, five an hour. Returning to the house we politely took our 
leave. Her residence is about a quarter of an hour from Albany, up the 
river." Memoirs of the Long Island Historical Society, i., 316. 1877. 


children. He left a will in which he appointed his wife 
sole executrix. He owned considerable property in Hol 
land, as well as a share of the manor, of which he left a 
liberal portion to his sister, "Nelle Marya," then living in 
Amsterdam. He divided his estate among his relatives, 
and in conclusion directed his executrix and sister to "de 
cently provide for his honored aunt, called Petronella Van 
Twiller, during her lifetime." He died soon after, Febru 
ary 22, 1687. Killian* son of Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, 
was left in the management of the manor for account of 
the heirs of the first patroon until 1695. At this date all 
the children of Killian Van Rensselaer, the projector of 
the colony, were dead except two, Leonora and Richard. 
The latter was treasurer of Vianen. 1 The estate was not 
yet divided among his heirs, but for nearly fifty years had 
been held in common. Besides the manor, there was a 
large estate in Holland (the Crailo), and other property. 
The time had now arrived for the heirs to make a settle 
ment. Controversies had arisen among them, and to end 
the disputes, Killian Van Rensselaer (son of Jan Baptist 
Van Rensselaer) was delegated by the heirs in Holland to 
visit America, and, if possible, make a complete settlement 
with the children of Jeremiah, the only heirs in this coun 
try. Killian, eldest son of Jeremiah, was appointed by 
power of attorney to act for the family. The cousins met, 
and, after a prolonged discussion, in which, as usual, both 
lost their temper, they at last came to an " amicable agree 
ment to their mutual satisfaction." The indenture is dat 
ed, New York, November i, 1695. The heirs in Holland 
released to the heirs in Albany all right and title in the 
manor, which was reciprocated by the release of the latter 

1 To a late date Vianen was a legalized asylum for criminals. The 
States-General appointed its officers. 


to the former of all right and title to the land in Holland 
known as the Crailo, and another tract of land in Gelder- 
land. They also agreed to deliver the titles to three farms 
in the manor, reserving the tenths, and to pay in addition 
seven hundred pieces of eight. They also released all 
claims on personal property in Holland, as well as on cer 
tain expectations from relatives on their decease. Bonds 
were exchanged between the cousins for the faithful per 
formance of the contract, and the wcfrk was complete. 1 At 
last the estate of the old patroon was settled, and the col 
ony he founded in 1630, with its territory of twenty-four 
by forty-eight miles, was in the possession of one family, 
consisting of Killian, Johannes, Hendrick, Maria, wife of 
Peter Schuyler, and Anna, the wife of William Nicoll. 
Besides the manor, they owned another tract of land con 
taining sixty-two thousand acres, known as the Claverack 
patent, and sometimes called the " Lower Manor." The 
province was now under English law. The eldest son was 
heir-at-law of the real estate belonging to his father. As 
regards the manor, and other real estate now come into 
the possession of the family, the law could not give it to 
the eldest son, but in its division he seems to have had 
much the largest share. 

On May 20, 1704, a patent was granted to Killian, eldest 
son of Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, deceased, for the entire 
manor, including the Claverack patent. His brother Jo 
hannes having died without issue, there were only three 
others interested. How were they secured for their in 
terests to which they were justly entitled ? To Hendrick, 

1 Richard, the only living son of the old patroon, came to the golony 
with his brother, Jan Baptist, 1652. He resided here twenty years, during 
which time he was a magistrate of Beverwyck several terms. He occupied 
the farm called the Flatts, which, on his return to Holland, was sold to 
Philip Schuyler. 


his brother Killian conveyed the Claverack patent, and 
about fifteen hundred acres on the east side of the river, 
opposite Albany, now known as Greenbush, June i, 1704. 
To his sister Maria or her heirs, he gave a farm of a few 
hundred acres adjoining the Flatts. To his sister Anna 
or her heirs, he gave a farm larger in extent, but at that 
time no more valuable, lying on the west side of the river 
in the town of Bethlehem. 

Killian Van Rensselaer, second lord of the manor of 
Rensselaerwyck, or patroon the fourth, married his cousin 
Maria, daughter of Stephanas Van Cortlandt, October 15, 
1701. Much of his life was devoted to the public service. 
He was an officer of the militia, and one of the magistrates 
of the city. He represented the manor in the Assembly 
from 1693 to 1704. In October, 1704, he was appointed 
to the Council, of which body he was a member until his 
death in 1719. Indian wars retarded the settlement of the 
manor and prevented its growth. It was also diminished 
in extent. His grandfather s old miller, Barent Pietersc 
Coeymans, who came out in 1636, purchased from the 
Catskill Indians, in 1673, a tract of land eight miles on the 
river by twelve miles deep, which was within the manor. 
It was not unusual for Indians to sell the same land as 
often as they found men willing to buy. Staten Island 
was bought and paid for at least three times. The grand 
fathers of these Catskill Indians had sold the Coeymans 
tract to Van Rensselaer in 1630, and it was included in all 
their patents. It had not been improved, and the Indians 
were allowed to occupy it. Coeymans had been a miller 
and farmer in and about Beverwyck thirty-three years. 
He was attracted to the place by its fine water-power, and 
not knowing that it was within the limits of the manor, 
he bought it of the Indians, and procured a patent from 
Governor Lovelace, April, 1673. There was a long contest 


between the rival owners, which was not settled until 1706, 
when Van Rensselaer gave a deed for a " competent sum of 
money," and nine shillings annual rent in acknowledgment 
of the rights of the lord or patroon. Politically it was still 
attached to the manor, and represented in the Assembly. 

Killian Van Rensselaer had three sons, two of whom 
survived him, and were successively patrooris. Two of his 
daughters, Anna and Gertrude, married brothers, sons of 
Arent Schuyler, of Belleville, New Jersey. His sons were 
minors at the time of his death, and the manor was again 
in charge of adminstrators for several years. Jeremiah, the 
eldest, came of legal age in March, 1726. Little is known 
of his administration of the estate. He represented the 
manor in the Assembly from September, 1726, to Septem 
ber, 1743. We catch a glimpse of him in Canada, in 1734. 
The Canadian governor reports that the " Patroon, Lord 
of Albany, in company with another influential gentleman, 
had visited him, under pretence of a tour." Their errand 
seemed to be rather to arrange for the preservation of the 
peace between the two provinces, in case of a rupture be 
tween England and France, then threatened. 

Jeremiah was the third proprietor of the manor, or the 
fifth patroon. He died unmarried, in 1745. 

Stephen, the second son of Killian, succeeded his brother 
to the lordship of the manor, and by his Dutch friends was 
termed Patroon VI. His constitution was not robust, and 
he never took an active part in public affairs. Only two 
years after his succession he died, at the age of forty. He 
left two sons and a daughter. The eldest, Stephen, was 
only five years old, and until he attained his majority 
the manor was again in the hands of trustees. The second 
son, John Baptist, represented the manor in the Assembly 
some years, and died a bachelor. The daughter married 
General Abraham Ten Brocck. 


Stephen, the second of the name, proprietor of the 
manor, and the seventh patroon, was baptized on June 2, 
1742. Soon after he came into possession of his ancestral 
estates, he married Catherine Livingston, daughter of 
Philip Livingston, of New York, in January, 1764. He did 
not live long to enjoy his patrimony, but died in 1769, leav 
ing two sons and a daughter. His eldest son, Stephen, 
was born November i, 1764, and was five years old when 
his father died. Philip, the second son, was mayor of Al 
bany for several years, and died in 1824. The daughter, 
Elizabeth, married John Bradstreet, eldest son of General 
Philip Schuyler. 

Again the large estate was watched and cared for by a 
trustee. Now, however, it was in the hands of an ener 
getic man, General Abraham Ten Broeck, uncle by mar 
riage of the boy patroon. For sixteen years he superin 
tended the large property with eminent success, so that 
he was enabled to deliver it into the hands of its next pro 
prietor in an improved condition. 

Stephen Van Rensselaer, third of the name, after his 
father s death, was much of the time in New York, with 
his grandfather who had charge of his education. When 
prepared for college he was entered at Princeton. But as 
the War of the Revolution rendered Princeton unsafe, the 
college courses were suspended. He was then transferred 
to Harvard, where he graduated in the nineteenth year 
of his age, 1782. He returned to Albany, not yet legally 
qualified to take possession of the manor and occupy him- 
iself with its affairs, and married a daughter of General 
Philip Schuyler. 

The Revolution destroyed some of the usages and in 
stitutions of the past, and the legislation of the State was 
in harmony with the Declaration of Independence. Lord 
ships and manors were abolished, as were also the rights of 


primogeniture. Before the war Stephen Van Rensselaer, 
had he been of legal age, would have been acknowledged 
by the English as sixth lord of the manor of Rensselaer- 
wyck, and by the Dutch as eighth patroon. Now he was 
simply Mr. Van Rensselaer, but was always by courtesy 
addressed as patroon. He had a splendid estate. Al 
though somewhat diminished in its original extent, there 
were yet several townships on each side of the river. His 
culture, his descent from a long line of ancestors, his 
wealth and his connections, combined with a gentle tem 
per and unassuming manners, made him a gentleman, and 
gave him a high position. He now entered upon the 
work of improvement with zeal and intelligence. Large 
tracts of the manorial lands were yet without inhabitants. 
Various causes had prevented their development. The 
antagonism of the West India Company, the frequent In 
dian wars, the long French wars, the war of the Revolu 
tion, but chiefly the often-recurring periods when, for 
many years at a time, the estate was in the hands of 
trustees or administrators, had retarded the growth of the 
colony and prevented immigration. He now offered in 
ducements to farmers to settle on his lands. Rentals were 
placed so low that they yielded only one and two per 
cent, on a fair valuation. In many instances farms were 
offered rent free for a term of years. On such easy terms 
he found little difficulty in securing tenants. The country 
had just emerged from an exhausting war, and many of 
its inhabitants were too poor to buy farms of their own. 
The best lands of the State were in the hands of large 
proprietors, or were held by speculators at high prices, 
or were still in possession of the native owners, so that 
people able to buy were precluded. Under such circum 
stances, farms offered on the terms of Van Rensselaer s 
were quickly taken up, and it was not long before the 


greater part of his lands on both sides of the river were 
under cultivation. 

Having secured an income sufficient for his moderate 
wants, and placed his business in the hands of careful 
agents and clerks, he had leisure to devote to other ob 
jects. He united, in 1787, with the church of his fathers, 
of which he was an active and conscientious member, and 
for many years an officer. In the militia., in 1786, he was 
a major of infantry, and two years after was promoted to 
a colonelcy. In 1801 he was made a major-general of 

In politics he was a Federalist. He was elected to the 
Assembly of 1789, and from 1791 to 1796 was a State 
Senator. In 1795 he was elected Lieutenant-Governor, 
and again in 1798. At the last election he had no oppo 
nent, having been nominated by both parties. In 1808-9- 
10 he was again Member of Assembly. The question 
whether the lakes and Hudson River could be connected 
by a canal had for many years received attention. In 
1810 the Legislature appointed a commission to explore 
the route and report at the next session. Mr. Van Rens- 
selaer was a member of the commission, and with others 
made the tour on horseback in the summer of 1810. The 
report interested the Legislature, and another commission 
was appointed to consider all matters relating to inland 
navigation, of which also he was a member. The war of 
1812 occurred, and delayed the project. 

When war was declared he was offered the command of 
the army on the northern frontiers. Although opposed 
to the war as premature, he promptly accepted. He was 
quickly at his post, and proceeded to organize the army. 
This was a difficult task. It was composed of militia, not 
of regular soldiers. Difficult as it was, he soon had a force 
sufficient in numbers to have overrun the province of 


Upper Canada, had it been officered with men of courage 
and military knowledge. The battle of Queenstown was 
fought and won ; but ultimately lost, because the militia 
in large numbers refused to fight. The early victory 
later in the day was turned into a serious disaster. Van 
Rensselaer resigned his command, and retired to private 

After the war was closed he was again placed upon the 
canal commission, and was appointed its chairman. The 
Legislature, of 1816 inaugurated the work on the canals 
the Erie and the Champlain and they were completed in 
1825, during which time Van Rensselaer was president of 
the board. 

He was twice nominated by his party for governor of the 
State, in 1801 and in 1813. The last time he was defeated 
by less than four thousand votes. Had he been as well 
known in other parts of the State as at Albany, his home, 
the result would have been different. He was member of 
the Assembly in 1818, and elected to the Congress of the 
United States in 1823, to fill a vacancy, and twice re-elected 
for full terms. At the close of his last term, March, 1825, 
he retired from political life. In 1819, he was elected 
Regent of the University of the State of New York, and 
was subsequently its Chancellor until his death. In 
terested in agriculture, he promoted the interests of the 
State Agricultural Society, and was its president in 1820. 
He caused a geological survey to be made along the line 
of the canal from Albany to Buffalo ; and on another line 
commencing in Massachusetts. From the information 
and data collected on these surveys, he was convinced 
there was need of more technical education. To supply 
the deficiency he established the Rensselaer Institute at 

He was a liberal patron of the various benevolent so- 


cietics of the day, in many of which he held official posi 
tions. His private charities were large, and were yearly in 
creasing to the close of life. There were few men who were 
so liberal with their means in all directions, as Stephen Van 
Rensselaer, the last of the patroons. His life was full of 
activities and good works. In all positions, as a large 
landed proprietor with tenants counted by the thousands, 
as a politician, and leading member of a strong and re 
spectable party, as an officer in the church, as a private 
citizen, he proved himself a man of honor and a Christian 
gentleman. In social life he was greatly respected, and 
in his family much beloved. 

Margaret Schuyler, his first wife, died in March, 1801. 
In May, 1802, he married Cornelia, daughter of Judge 
William Patterson, of New Jersey. He died, January 26, 
1839, at the ripe age of seventy-five years. His second 
wife, and ten children survived him. Of these, seven were 
sons, the eldest, Stephen, was by his first wife. His will 
is dated April 18, 1837. To this time, the manor proper 
had devolved upon the eldest son. Its large extent had 
been somewhat diminished, first, by the cession of Albany; 
second, by the Coeyman s tract, eight by twelve miles ; 
third, by a strip from the east side, four by twenty-four 
miles, ceded to Massachusetts when the boundaries were 
adjusted ; fourth, by the sale of several farms along the 
river to relatives ; and lastly, by the sale of one township, 
Stephentown, in the southeast corner. But it was still of 
large extent. The time had now come for a division. The 
laws of entail had been abrogated by the Revolution, and 
the last patroon was free to return to the usages of the 
land of his fathers free to divide his property among his 
children, in equal proportion, if he wished. The lands of 
the manor were mostly under life, or perpetual leases, 
which yielded a small income compared to their value. 


The other property of the estate, acquired by the sale of 
Stephentown, and surplus revenues, was large and avail 
able. He gave the lands belonging to the manor on the 
west side of the Hudson, to his eldest son, Stephen, and 
those on the east side, to his second son, William. His 
lands in St. Lawrence County were given to his son Henry. 
His other property, consisting of lands in Hamilton County, 
real estate in the cities of New York and Albany, and else 
where, and stocks in banks, turnpikes and insurance com 
panies, were divided among his other seven children. He 
gave no legacies to benevolent societies, to which his bene 
factions had been flowing in a constant stream. He now 
left them to the care of the living. 

In less than fifty years after his death, the seven hundred 
thousand acres originally in the manor were mostly in the 
hands of strangers. By the vicissitudes of fortune, Will 
iam Van Rensselaer s portion passed from his possession. 
The anti-rent troubles, which sprang up soon after the 
death of the last patroon, induced Stephen Van Rensselaer 
to sell his townships to a relative who had the nerve to 
maintain his rights. 

We have followed the elder branch of the American Van 
Rensselaers and their manor without any allusion to the 
younger branch or their fortunes. The history would not 
be complete without some notice of them, and of the 
Claverack patent. 

Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, son of the first patroon, it will 
be remembered, died in 1674, leaving three sons, one of 
whom, Johannes, died unmarried. Killian and Hendrick, 
his other sons, were the ancestors of the numerous families 
of Van Rensselaer in America. It would be more perti 
nent to say, that the greater part are the descendants of 
Hendrick, for while the elder branch possessed the family 
wealth, the younger contributed most to the population 


and to public wealth. A Van Rensselaer family chart 
brought down to 1847, and prepared with much care, shows 
the descendants of the elder branch in the direct line to 
number only thirty-one ; of the younger, they number two 
hundred and nineteen. 

Hendrick Van Rensselaer received as his portion of 
his grandfather s estate, the Claverack patent, containing 
about sixty-two thousand acres of land, and fifteen hun 
dred acres out of the manor proper, lying opposite the 
city of Albany. On the latter portion he erected a sub 
stantial brick house, constructed as a fort for defence 
against attacks of hostile Indians coming from Canada. 
This he made his permanent residence. He erected an 
other house at Claverack, still standing, for temporary 
sojourns while superintending the settlement of his lands. 

Like his brother Killian, he was employed in the public 
service, and held several responsible positions. He was 
an alderman of the city, commissioner of Indian affairs, 
and representative of the manor in the Assembly for sev 
eral terms. He did not suffer his official duties to inter 
fere with his personal interests. He attended to his busi 
ness affairs with assiduity and success. When he saw an 
opportunity for a safe speculation he did not let it pass 

The Schaghticoke Indians had a larger tract of land 
than they required, and being thriftless and poor, they 
offered a portion of it for sale. The city of Albany agreed 
to purchase a few hundred acres, but was not prepared to 
consummate the bargain. Hendrick Van Rensselaer saw 
his opportunity, and bought a tract six miles square lying 
on the Hoosac River, for which he procured a patent from 
the governor. The city saw its mistake, but sought to 
remedy it by the purchase of Van Rensselaer s interest, 
and generously offered him what it cost him. The offer 


was declined with thanks, but he would sell for two hun 
dred pounds. The city fathers were indignant, and ap 
pealed to the governor. The controversy became a State 
affair, for Bellomont reported it to his government for in 
structions ; but before his letter was despatched the matter 
was settled. 

Subsequently it was the cause of another flurry in the 
Common Council. Patents and deeds for real estate 
were passed from hand to hand, much the same as coupon 
bonds. The mayor was the custodian of those belonging 
to the city. When he retired from office he handed them 
over to his successor. It happened, in the course of time, 
that the outgoing mayor, a relative of Van Rensselaer s, 
did not pass over this particular patent, with other papers. 
The new mayor reported the fact to the board of alder 
men, who promptly appointed a committe of investigation. 
The committee called on the ex-mayor and had no diffi 
culty in securing the document. It had been an over 
sight. The city dealt in real estate just as individuals. 
The profits helped pay the municipal expenses, and re 
duce taxation. It held this property nearly a century, 
letting it in small parcels on long leases, or selling it, re 
serving an annual quit-rent. In 1770, the city sold to 
Johannes Knickerbaker, whose father, Johannes, was one 
of the first settlers, all the land not heretofore sold within 
certain described bounds, "for which the said Knicker 
baker is to find the said corporation and their successors 
with Meat, Drink, and Lodging once a year at his house 
at Schactacook." It would be interesting to entertain the 
present board in the old mansion, now occupied by a 
Knickerbaker, and filled with memorials of the past. It 
is a charming place. Its proprietor is an unmarried man. 
He has no other love than his farm with its old house and 
surrounding grounds. The ancient furniture and relics 


are kept so bright and shining, that a Dutch housemaid, 
who gets on her knees and picks out particles of dust hid 
den in crevices with her hair pin, would have no fault to 

A controversy arose between Hcndrick Van Rensselaer 
and Robert Livingston, as to the division line between 
their properties. It was settled satisfactorily to both, and 
a surveyor was employed to mark it with more intelligible 
words than those contained in the Indian deeds. The 
Massachusetts line was advanced four miles west from the 
eastern line, by which the estate lost a portion of its broad 
and fertile acres. 

The wife of Hendrick Van Rensselaer was a grand 
daughter of the well-known Anneke Jans, through whom 
his descendants became "heirs" to the Trinity Church 
farm. It is amusing to learn what numbers of them, 
about forty years ago, appeared in Albany to search the 
records of the church for proofs of their pedigree and 
"heirship." He had" nine children, four sons and five 
daughters, all of whom but one had large families. His 
eldest son was, by law, heir to his landed property. Be 
fore his death, however, he made over to his other eight 
children, a fair proportion of his property, leaving the resi 
due, including the " Crailo " estate, or Greenbush, to his 
eldest son, Johannes. He died in July, 1740, and was 
buried near his house on the banks of the Hudson. Rail 
roads, and the growth of the village, some twenty years 
since, have disturbed his resting-place. His dust, together 
with that of a multitude of others, his posterity, has been 

John Van Rensselaer, as heir of the Claverack patent, 
inherited perplexity and trouble. At one time people 
from Massachusetts settled upon his unoccupied lands, and 
claimed them as their own. The governor and the courts 


intervened, but their proclamations and verdicts were dis 
regarded. Officers sent to arrest the intruders, were cap 
tured and sent to the Springfield jail. The sheriff of Al 
bany was one of the victims. A year or two afterward, 
another sheriff with a posse undertook to arrest the leaders, 
but was met by an armed mob, who killed one of the posse, 
and dangerously wounded others. At another time some 
English officers, who were to be retired and given lands for 
settlement, petitioned that their farms might be located at 
Claverack. Van Rensselaer stoutly resisted these encroach 
ments, and at last was allowed to enjoy his inheritance in 
peace. His wife was Engeltie Livingston, a granddaughter 
of Colonel Peter Schuyler. One of his sons married El 
sie Schuyler, and a daughter, Catharine, married Philip 
Schuyler, the Major-General. His son Robert, com 
manded the militia who pursued and defeated Sir John 
Johnson when on his famous raid in the Mohawk valley, 

Killian, another of Hendrick Van Rensselaer s sons, 
married Ariaantje Schuyler. Two of his sons were officers 
in the Revolutionary army, and acquitted themselves with 
credit. One was wounded at Fort Ann in Burgoyne s cam 
paign, and carried the ball in his person thirty-five years, 
to his death. The family of Hendrick was so large, and 
soon became so numerous, that it would exceed my limits 
to follow them further. I shall have occasion in the prog 
ress of my narrative often to refer to individual members. 
Sufficient now to say, that among them may be found many 
eminent men in all the walks of life, mechanics, farmers, 
lawyers, doctors, divines, statesmen, and warriors ; of the 
latter, General Solomon Van Rensselaer was the most 

Hendrick s estate, like that of his brother s, is now mostly 
in the hands of those who do not bear his name, and are 


not of his lineage. Here and there only, a farm is owned 
and occupied by a Van Rensselaer, or a relative of another 
name. The city of Hudson occupies the landing-place 
of the ancient Claverack. The village of Claverack, four 
miles east of Hudson, has lost its importance since the 
days of railroads, and is chiefly interesting because it 
was the ancient family seat, and where, in the cemetery at 
tached to the old church, are the graves of descendants for 
several generations. 

In the Revolution, the Van Rensselaer families were al 
most to a man on the patriot side. They served as officers 
or in the ranks, many of them without pay or emolument. 
Themselves and their large estates, they devoted to the 
cause of popular liberty, as did their fathers in their long 
wars with Spain. 

It is time to return to the personal history of Rev. Nico- 
laus Van Rensselaer, fourth son of the first patroon, who 
married the second daughter of Philip Schuyler. He re 
ceived a liberal education in the schools and universities 
of Holland with the intention of becoming a minister of 
the Word, but began his tour of Europe before he took 
his theological degree. In England he was received with 
kindness and consideration. He had an audience of King 
Charles II. , who presented him a snuff-box containing his 
miniature. This was done in memory of their acquaint 
ance in Holland when the king was an exile. Van Rens 
selaer had cheered him by declaring, on one occasion, that 
he would be restored to the throne of England. This was 
interpreted as a prophecy, the fulfilment of which he now 

His visit in London was prolonged. He had more 
liberal theological opinions than prevailed in the estab 
lished Church of Holland, and esteeming the Church of 
England to be equally orthodox, he sought ordination to 


the ministry at the hands of a bishop, instead of returning 
home and taking a license from the classis. He was or 
dained a deacon, and subsequently a priest of the English 
church by the Bishop of Salisbury. The king then 
granted him license to officiate in the Dutch church at 
Westminster. He also officiated as chaplain to the Dutch 
embassy, by appointment of the Dutch ambassador. He 
was also lecturer to an English church in London. 

When the province of New York was finally surren 
dered to the English, Edmund Andros was commissioned 
by the Duke of York as its governor, July, 1674. Van 
Rensselaer was yet in London, and thinking it a favorable 
opportunity to visit his father s colony at Albany, he 
hastily made his arrangements for the voyage. He may 
have thought of a permanent settlement, and if so, that it 
would be wise to go prepared to enter upon the work of 
his profession. He accordingly procured testimonials as 
to his ministerial fitness from the churches where he had 
preached and lectured, as also from the Dutch ambassador. 
He then saw the Duke of York, who, July, 1674, gave him 
a letter of recommendation to his newly-appointed gov 
ernor, in which he requested that Van Rensselaer should 
be placed in one of the Dutch churches of New York or 
Albany, when there should be a vacancy. 

He probably sailed in company with Governor Andros, 
for they arrived about the same time in the fall of 1674. 
On visiting Albany, he found that the pastor of the church 
was old and infirm, and the church anxious for the minis 
trations of a younger man. He was readily accepted as a 
colleague of the old pastor. But he was shortly to know 
the difference between a liberal Christianity, and that 
bound by creeds and forms. William, Prince of Orange, 
was liberal. While he lived, and until the truce with 
Spain, 1609, all forms of religion were tolerated, and dif- 


ferenccs of opinion among Protestants were permitted. 
The truce gave the reformers opportunity to develop their 
peculiar dogmas. The Remonstrants and Anti-Remon 
strants, Arminians and strict Calvinists, thundered at 
each other from the pulpit and rostrum. The Calvinists 
were the most numerous. Prince Maurice, from personal 
and political reasons, although an Arminian, protected the 
Calvinists. The religious war only ceased when Olden 
Barneveldt, the protector of the Arminians, was executed. 
The Calvinists triumphed. Theirs became the estab 
lished church. They believed it to be the Church of God, 
regularly instituted according to the law and gospel. Its 
ministers in America received their ordination from the 
Classis of Amsterdam, and they labored under the delu 
sion that ministers receiving their ordination in other 
churches, especially in the Church of England, had no 
legal orthodox standing, and were unfitted to serve at 
their altars. 

In September, 1675, Dominie Van Rensselaer was in 
New York, and was invited to preach in the Dutch church, 
not by its pastor, but doubtless through the influence of 
the governor. The pastor, Dominie Newenhuysen, ab 
sented himself from the church, but before the services 
began, he sent word to Van Rensselaer "forbidding" him 
to baptize any children that might be presented for that 
ordinance. Van Rensselaer wisely resolved not to offi 
ciate. The next day he called on Newenhuysen, to learn 
the reason why he had sent such a message to him. The 
answer was prompt : " I do not consider you to be a law 
ful minister, nor that your admission to the church at Al 
bany was lawful." Van Rensselaer submitted his license, 
and testimonials for his inspection. They did not change 
Newenhuysen s opinion. He " exclaimed against him," as 


Van Rensselaer seeing his license dishonored, and him 
self suspected, believed that his usefulness in his chosen 
profession was at an end unless he justified his preten 
sions. There was no ecclesiastical tribunal to which he 
could apply, and there was no way of relief, except by an 
appeal to the governor and Council, who had charge of 
religious, as well as of secular affairs. He accordingly 
turned to them for redress. Newenhuysen was summoned 
before them, and the parties were heard. Newenhuysen 
did not deny the allegations, and still maintained that a 
minister ordained by a bishop had no right to administer 
the sacraments in the Dutch churches of New York. This 
was inadmissible, and after an admonition, he was given 
three or four days to answer the question, whether a min 
ister ordained by the Church of England had not sufficient 
authority to perform his functions in New York ? 

On the day appointed, Dominie Newenhuysen and his 
elders appeared before the Council, and presented a written 
answer. It was a paper in justification of himself, rather 
than a formal answer to the question. The trial was con 
sidered important by the civil authorities, and by the 
Church as involving their rights and privileges as defined 
in the articles under which the province was surrendered 
to the English. The consistory of the church were fully 
aware that any action on their part, not satisfactory to the 
governor, would be prejudicial to the prosperity of the 
church, and that, on the other hand, they must be careful 
not to lower the standard of orthodoxy. Their paper was 
not satisfactory. A long discussion followed, in which they 
seemed to admit in words what they denied in writing. 
Finally, time was allowed them to amend the written 
answer, and " the next day they brought in their paper 
amended, with all submission." Thus ended the Rev. 
Nicolaus first experience in church polemics. But he was 


not allowed to enjoy his victory in peace. He was under 
suspicion, and spies were shadowing him. 

Little less than a year afterward, in September, 1676, 
the governor was startled with a message from Albany, that 
Dominie Van Rensselaer was in prison, for " some dubious 
words spoken in a sermon." The Council was called to 
gether, who ordered his release, and that the case be 
brought before them for adjudication. It appears that 
Jacob Leisler and Jacob Milburne, who in after years be 
came so famous as political demagogues, were at the bot 
tom of the present trouble. They resided in New York, and 
on a visit at Albany, attended church where Dominie Van 
Rensselaer occupied the pulpit. They chose to interpret 
some of his utterances as " dubious," or of doubtful doc 
trine. They lodged a complaint before a magistrate, who 
had him arrested and committed to prison. He appealed 
to the governor and Council, and gave a bond of fifteen 
hundred guilders, Holland money, to prosecute the appeal 
to the end. Leisler was required to furnish bonds to the 
amount of five thousand pounds, and Milburne, one thou 
sand pounds, to " prosecute and answer the matters re 
lating thereunto according to law." Leisler failing to fur 
nish the bond required, a warrant was issued for his arrest. 

The affair created much disturbance in the communities 
of New York and Albany. The good old Dominie Schaets 
was drawn into the controversy, and made some incau 
tious remarks as to Van Rensselaer s orthodoxy. Thus 
the churches and the people were in a ferment. The 
more prominent inhabitants counselled prudence and 
patience. At last an extraordinary court was held at Al 
bany, before whom the two dominies appeared with papers 
and witnesses. After a review of the whole case, " they 
are, by order of the governor, to be reconciled according 
to Christian duty and love." They answered, " with all 


our hearts." After some mutual explanations, the court 
ordered the parties to " forgive and forget." The verdict 
was accepted, and the parties reconciled. The question 
as to the costs of the complaints and suit was referred to 
the governor and Council. They ordered " that Jacob 
Leisler and Jacob Milburne doe pay the whole charge 
both at Albany and here, as giving the first occasion of 
the difference, and that D Rensselaer be freed from 
bearing any part thereof." 

During the controversy rumors were put in circulation 
that Van Rensselaer was a "papist." Did they have their 
source with Leisler ? This was the most opprobrious 
epithet he could use against his opponents in 1689-91. 

Dominie Van Rensselaer was recognized as co-pastor 
of the church for at least a year after these occurrences. 
In December, 1677, he signs himself Colonies pastor et di 
rector. But a year later a complaint was entered, that the 
consistory had refused him a seat in the usual pastor s pew 
with the elders, and it was resolved that he could have a 
suitable one, behind that of the magistrates. He died in 
November, 1678, leaving no children. 

With an education superior to that of his brothers, he 
was less distinguished. He died in early manhood, before 
there w r as time for the full development of his talents and 


ALIDA SCHUYLER married, secondly, in 1679, Robert Liv 
ingston, "Secretary of Albany." He was the son of a 
Scotch clergyman, who had found it expedient to seek 
asylum in Holland, not because of his religion, but for 
political reasons. His family joined him, and he made 
Holland his home during life. There his son Robert re 
ceived his education, which included the French and 
Dutch languages. Before going to Holland he had had 
some thoughts of coming to America, but was diverted from 
his purpose. Perhaps it was this unfulfilled project which 
turned his son s attention to the province of New York. 
After his father s death, and when Governor Andros ar 
rived in New York to receive the city and colony for his 
master, the Duke of York, in the autumn of 1674, Robert 
Livingston appeared in Albany. He arrived about the 
same time as Rev. Nicolaus Van Rensselaer. 

In March of the following year, he bought a lot, " No. i 
on the hill." He afterward owned the lot next adjoining, 
on the corner of State and North Pearl Streets. Here he 
lived until he removed to his manor, when he transferred 
the property to his eldest son, Philip. 

Albany was yet a village governed by the commandant 
of the fort, and by a board of comissaries, whose clerk, or 
secretary, kept the records, as also the records of deeds, 
mortgages and contracts. Livingston was appointed sec 
retary in place of Johannes Provoost, whose last official sig 
nature was dated August nth, and Livingston s first Sep- 


tember 8, 1675. By his marriage with Alida Schuyler, he 
formed a connection with several of the leading families 
of the colony, both in New York and Albany. He united 
with the Dutch church, whose edifice, erected in 1656, was 
becoming too small for its increasing membership. More 
room was required. The enlargement of the sitting ca 
pacity afforded a field for Livingston to show the stuff he 
was made of. A gallery on the north side of the church 
would give the room required. It was estimated that the 
improvement would cost one thousand guilders, 1 or forty- 
eight beaver skins. Livingston undertook to raise the 
money required, not from the older members who had 
erected the building, but from the young men of the con 
gregation. He started the subscription in his wife s family. 
His four brothers-in-law, Peter, Arent, Philip, and John 
Schuyler, and himself subscribed two beavers each. After 
some labor and canvassing, he secured nineteen others to 
give each a like sum. The new gallery was built. After 
the bills were paid, and the gallery turned over to the 
church in complete order, the authorities passed an ordi 
nance, that each of the subscribers should have a seat on 
the front bench of the new gallery, " which should be a 
perpetual inheritance for themselves and their successors." 
To Livingston was given the choice of seats on the bench, 
" in consideration for the trouble he took to speak to the 
persons who have contributed, and to encourage them to 
it ; also for collecting the money, paying it, and keeping 
the accounts." 

The desire of owning land began to develop itself early 
in Livingston ; it rapidly grew, and his ruling passion 
was to be a large landed proprietor, like the Van Rensse- 

1 The currency of Albany was still for some time I eckoned in Dutch 
money, although the English were masters. 


laers, and others on Long Island and in the vicinity of 
New York. 

The Mohegan tribes on the cast side of the Hudson had 
become reduced to a few old Indians and squaws, who 
were ready to sell the lands of which they claimed the 
ownership. Livingston s position as clerk of Indian affairs 
gave him exceptional opportunities to select and to pur 
chase the best lands in desirable localities. Learning that 
some Indians on Roelof Jansen s Kill, a small river which 
empties in the Hudson just below Claverack, were ready 
to sell some of their fertile lands, Livingston sent in a pe 
tition to the governor and Council for a license to buy. It 
was promptly granted. This tract was subsequently erect 
ed into a manor, and will be spoken of later. He made 
an effort to secure a part of the manor of Rensselaerwyck. 
to which he set up a claim for the share to which Rev. 
Nicolaus Van Rensselaer was entitled, on the hypothesis 
that his widow was his heir. He accordingly made appli 
cation to the governor to have the manor divided, so that 
his wife s portion might be determined. His application 
was successfully opposed by the Van Rensselaers. They 
consented to make him some allowance, which was finally 
accepted in full of all claims on the manor. 

His chief reliance for the acquisition of an estate was 
on the emoluments of office. He had learned, by the small 
one he held, that the salaries and perquisites of official 
positions \vere more reliable sources of ready money than 
most kinds of business as then conducted. When Gov 
ernor Dongan gave to Albany a city charter, he appointed 
Livingston town clerk (another name for the old secre 
taryship) and receiver of the revenues. Dongan said, " I 
appointed one Robert Livingston collector and receiver, 
with one shilling in the pound ; also clerk of the town, 
that both places together might afford him a competent 


living." The town clerk was required to act as secretary 
of the board for the management of Indian affairs, for 
which there was no salary or fees. In that regard he was 
on the same footing as the commissioners, who found their 
reward in improved facilities for their Indian trade, in 
which he also engaged on fitting opportunities. He was 
also appointed clerk of the Common Pleas, and clerk of 
the peace, the latter position being similar to that of 
county clerk, the duties of town clerk being then con 
fined to keeping the municipal records. 

In the pursuit of an estate, he was painstaking in the 
duties of his several offices, careful to collect the fees, 
economical in his expenses, industrious and thrifty. He 
showed himself a true Scotchman with a Dutch education. 
He accumulated rapidly, and loaned his money at ten 
per cent, on good securities. It was soon a recognized 
fact, that he was the only man in the province who had 
money and credit enough to pay for the subsistence of the 
troops when the treasury was short, and who could wait 
for the collection of the taxes ; his advances meanwhile 
drawing eight per cent, interest. 

In politics Livingston was usually with the majority. 
He could " turn his coat " easier than any man living. 
This idiosyncrasy was not peculiar to himself alone ; it 
became an inherited trait, cropping out among his pos 
terity. When Leisler seized upon the government at New 
York, the citizens of Albany, unwilling to submit to his 
control, set up a government of their own by means of a 
convention elected by the popular voice. Livingston was 
one of its most active supporters. After the sack of 
Schenectady, it was feared that Albany would surfer a 
like fate. The wooden fort was much decayed, and the 
palisades around the city were rotten. The fortifications 
could offer little or no resistance. Albany was a frontier 


post. There were no forts between it and the French, 
only vast tracts of wilderness, with here and there some 
cultivated farms. Two small companies of volunteers and 
Indians were posted on Lake Champlain, one on each 
side, " to watch the motions of the enemy." The fort and 
stockades were repaired, and other defences constructed. 
But the public funds were soon exhausted. Efforts were 
made to procure money without avail. The people were 
poor. Meantime their only reliance was upon Livingston, 
who made advances on the strength of a bond given him 
by the most substantial citizens, which soon amounted to 
^2,600. The strain was greater than could be born with 
out speedy succor. The French of Canada were not many 
in number, and were open to attack. The Five Nations 
alone a few years before had well-nigh subdued them. 
The project of an invasion of Canada was now conceived, 
as the shortest and cheapest way out of their troubles. 
But for this they must have assistance in men and money. 
But from whom ? Esopus, now comparatively rich and 
flourishing, could furnish a few men and support them 
in the field. New York was firmly held by Leisler, and he 
was their antagonist. New England had suffered, and 
was yet suffering, by French and Indian excursions. Per 
haps they would be willing to end them by the conquest 
of Canada. 

Messengers were accordingly sent to Kingston and New 
York, and Livingston was selected to proceed to Connec 
ticut and Boston. He declined, " not judging himself 
capable of managing a business of so much moment." 
On further consideration he consented to go, provided 
Captain Teunisse (Van Vechten)was sent with him, which 
was agreed to. They were directed to represent in un 
mistakable words the truly critical situation at Albany, 
and that there was danger of losing the alliance of the 


Five Nations, who were now their main defence. They 
were also to ask for fifty men, and provisions for the 
immediate protection of the frontiers, and for a loan of 
money. But more than all, they must impress upon those 
governments the importance of carrying the war into 
Canada by a naval demonstration against Quebec. " The 
conquest of Canada alone can secure peace and safety to 
them and to us." 

While Livingston was on his journey to New England, 
Leisler issued a warrant for his arrest, on some vague re 
ports that he was a Jacobite, and that by " instigation of 
the devil " he had doubted the success of the Prince of 
Orange in obtaining the English crown. Learning that 
he was in New England, Leisler wrote to the governors of 
Massachusetts and Connecticut, soliciting their assistance 
to his officers in securing the person of the "rebel Living 
ston." Governor Treat replied, that he would assist the 
officers in making the arrest, provided he were tried in 
their courts, and provided further, that some one should 
give security for his prosecution. No one gave the se 
curity, and no other notice was taken of Leisler s requi 
sition. Livingston was courteously received on his arrival, 
and his representations were listened to with respect. He 
had an insinuating address, which enabled him to gain the 
confidence of people whom he sought to win to his 
opinions. Connecticut had favored Leisler s seizure of 
the government, but Livingston detached it from his in 
terests. The project for an attack on Quebec was in 
dorsed by the New England colonies, who also advised an 
invasion of Canada by the lakes. For this purpose there 
must be harmony between the contending factions in 
New York, and they advised the Albany convention to 
submit to Leisler. The convention accepted the advice, 
and allowed Leisler s commissioners to take possession of 


the city government and of the fort. Leisler adopted the 
project for the invasion of Canada as his own, and as 
sumed control of the necessary preparations, consenting, 
however, that Fitz John Winthrop, of Connecticut, should 
be commander-in-chief. While the preparations were go 
ing on he did not intermit his persecutions of Living 
ston. Warrants were issued, and his house was searched 
for evidences of his guilt as a public enemy. Some 
priestly regalia and the books of a Jesuit missionary, 
which had been deposited with him, were unearthed, and 
made the occasion of fresh proclamations. He was posted 
as an absconding malefactor, and his property was at 
tached. It was not safe for him in Albany, and he re 
mained in New England until General Winthrop was 
ready to place himself at the head of the little army which 
had been collected at Albany. Under his protection and 
by his side Livingston marched home. To the deep dis 
gust of Leisler, Winthrop made Livingston s house his 
headquarters. Livingston was safe while Winthrop re 
mained in Albany, but as soon as the campaign began he 
again disappeared, and did not show himself to the public 
until Leisler s fall. It is not singular that he should wish 
to be present when his enemy was executed. Undoubt 
edly he had been active in the prosecution which had con 
demned the leaders of Leisler s faction to an ignominious 
death, and he could plead in justification the injustice and 
the wrongs he had suffered at their hands. Milborne on 
the scaffold caught sight of him among the spectators, 
and exclaimed : " You have caused the king that I must 
now die, but before God s tribunal I will implead you." 

We now find Livingston in Albany engaged in his for 
mer occupations, and holding a confidential correspond 
ence with Governor Sloughter, who did not live long. 
For some unexplained reason, Livingston was not a favor- 


ite with the next governor, Colonel Fletcher, who did not 
highly esteem his services. He put him aside in his con 
ferences with the Indians, employing instead the secre 
tary of the colony. He made little. or no effort to have Liv 
ingston s accounts with the government adjusted, or the 
money due him refunded. He treated him with formal 
courtesy, but nothing more. As Fletcher joined the anti- 
Leisler faction, Livingston was disappointed in not meet 
ing with the recognition that his services and sacrifices 
deserved. He was disgusted, and resolved to appeal in 
person to the throne for justice. Fletcher did not under 
stand the man. He did not dream that Livingston s little 
body contained a soul which would not brook neglect and 
injustice ; and which was capable of seeking revenge by 
means, and through instruments, the most effectual. Be 
fore he sailed for England, he procured from Fletcher a 
paper which was important in his designs. It could not 
well be refused. It was a certificate as to the justice of 
one item of his claims. It was all he asked for. With this 
he could manage the rest. 

He was unfortunate on his voyage. The ship lost her 
rudder, floated for a long time at the mercy of the waves, 
and was at last driven upon the coast of Portugal. After 
being five months at sea, subsisting seventeen weeks on a 
pint of water and a little cocoanut a day, he escaped from 
the wreck and travelled through Portugal to a port in 
Spain, whence he sailed for England. He addressed him 
self without delay to the business he had in hand. His 
old friend, Governor Dongan, was then in England, and 
rendered him important service. His address and man 
ners were quiet and insinuating, so that, with Dongan s 
assistance, he had little difficulty in making the acquaint 
ance of gentlemen around the throne, who became his 
friends and future correspondents. When he had put his 


business in proper shape, and had interested the king s 
advisers, he memorialized the lords of trade. He stated 
that he had come to England to have his claims for advan 
ces to the government of New York adjusted and reim 
bursed, alleging that owing to the wants of the province. 
Governor Fletcher had diverted to other uses the money 
raised by act of Assembly to pay him. Then he opened 
his attack on Fletcher. He had no expectation that his 
claims would be paid in New York, "by reason of Colonel 
Fletcher s proceedings there." The lords of trade per 
mitted him to call several witnesses to prove what those 
" proceedings " were. Before he had finished the testimony, 
it was made to appear that Fletcher was a bad man, and 
quite unfit for his position. 1 

These proceedings had a wonderful influence on public 
opinion. Soon after, Livingston formally asked the lords 
of trade to have his accounts considered and adjusted. 
More than this, he asked to be confirmed for life in his 
several offices, with the usual salaries and fees, and also 
to be appointed secretary for Indian affairs for life, with 
an annual salary of one hundred pounds sterling. 

His accounts were in admirable shape. Besides ten 
barrels of powder taken from his stores by Leisler, there 
were six other items, which, including interest at eight per 
cent, amounted to ,5,725 65-. 7^., New York money. The 
lords of trade, with a favorable report, referred the ac 
counts to the lords of the treasury. After consideration 
by that board all his claims were allowed, and in their rc- 

1 It is evident that men were no better then than now. At the begin 
ning of the proceedings before the Board of Trade, " Captain William Kid 
(afterward the pirate) sworn says that John Tutall the sheriff of New York 
spoke to him to get his people from on board his vessell they being Inhab 
itants of New York to vote at the election about three months since, for 
such persons as the Governor desired should be elected." 


port to the king they recommended that he be confirmed 
in his several offices, and that his salary as secretary of 
Indian affairs be fixed at one hundred pounds sterling per 
annum. The king acceded to the recommendations of his 
lords in all particulars. Some of his claims were paid in 
England, and the remainder was ordered to be paid in 
New York. 

Having laid the foundation of serious troubles to Flet 
cher, who at home had treated him so unfairly, with a 
fair amount of cash in his pocket, and the king s orders on 
the government of New York to pay what was still due 
him, but more than all, with his life commissions in hand, 
he sailed for home, after an absence of about two years. 
Governor Fletcher was in Albany when he arrived in New 
York. He hastened thither and presented his credentials. 
His reception was any tiling but cordial. Fletcher had 
been informed of the charges against him, and the inves 
tigation that Livingston had provoked. He was very 
angry, and asserted that the charges were false, claiming 
that ail the members of the Council, two of whom were 
Livingston s own brothers-in-law, would testify to his good 
behavior, not meddling in the least with the revenues or 
other matters outside of his official duties. When, there 
fore, Livingston presented himself, Fletcher treated him 
w r ith rudeness and disdain. Notwithstanding the king s 
sign-manual to his commissions, he suspended him from 
all his offices. 

Subsequently Livingston presented a petition to the 
governor and Council, praying that his accounts might be 
paid as directed by the king. No attention was given to 
this request, but the Council considered his commissions, 
and unanimously (Peter Schuyler not voting) agreed upon 
a report : 

That for the offices of collector of the excise, receiver 


of quit-rents, town clerk, clerk of the peace, and clerk of 
the common pleas, he had been sufficiently paid and re 
warded by salaries and fees, " inasmuch that he has there 
by raised himself from nothing, to be one of the richest 
men in the province." That the office of receiver had 
always been discharged by the sheriffs ; and that there 
was no such office as secretary of Indian affairs, all solemn 
treaties and conferences with the Indians having been 
the work of the governor himself ; all that Livingston 
pretended to do therein was to render from Dutch into 
English, having no knowledge of the Indian language, or 
influence with the Five Nations ; and that in the present 
impoverished state of the finances and of the people in 
consequence of the war, the salary would be an intolerable 

The report also alleged that Livingston was an alien, 
born of Scotch parents in Rotterdam, consequently dis 
qualified to hold any place of trust relating to the treas 
ury ; and concluded with the recommendation that he be 
suspended from the offices of receiver, collector, and sec 
retary, until the king s pleasure be further known. 

Livingston immediately wrote to the Duke of Shrews 
bury, one of the ministers, complaining of the treatment 
he had received in the face of the king s orders and com 
missions, alleging that Fletcher was at the bottom, for the 
Council under his control must submit to his dictation. 
Shrewsbury was his warm friend, and had shown him 
much kindness at court. 

Fletcher, on the other hand, wrote to the government, 
accusing Livingston of false representations, or he could 
not have procured such favors. He attacked his private 
character, and said that he had unjustly made a fortune 
out of the provincial government, " never disbursing six 
pence, but with the expectation of twelve pence in re- 


turn;" that, " beginning as a little bookkeeper, he had 
screwed himself into one of the most considerable estates 
in the province ; " that " he is known to all men here to 
have neither religion or morality. His whole thirst is to 
enrich himself by any and every means. Yes, it is re 
ported, he said he would rather be called Knave Living 
ston than Poor Livingston." 

Livingston made an able reply to the report of the 
Council. It was true, he said, that he rendered the Indian 
speeches from the Dutch translation into English, but 
that was not the whole of it. He revised the manuscript, 
recorded it in the books, and furnished the governor with 
a copy. This work had to be done whenever the Indians 
appeared before the governor or the commissioners, forty 
or fifty times a year. He was not foreign-born, but 
Scottish, born after King James I. came to the throne, 
when all Scotchmen were recognized as Englishmen ; and 
that he had lived in the province of New York twenty-two 
years, owned lands and houses of some value ; but now, 
forsooth, it is alleged, "I am an alien." As to his prop 
erty, whatever it was, he had gained it by industry and 
prudence. If he had made anything by subsisting the 
troops, it was because no others could or would do it. He 
had collected quit-rents, and remitted them to the re 
ceiver-general, without fee or reward. If others wished 
the office on the same terms, he would gladly surrender it. 

Fletcher s administration was drawing to its close. He 
wished to stay, and sent over some friends to intercede in 
his behalf. It was of no avail. Livingston s demonstra 
tion against him was producing its fruit. No efforts could 
retard its growth. 

Livingston, while in England, had made the acquaint 
ance of many men among the ruling classes, some of 
whom were his correspondents, and kept him informed as 


to all matters relating to the colony. He became ac 
quainted with Lord Bellomont, who had been selected as 
Fletcher s successor. He learned that Bellomont sympa 
thized with the friends of the late Jacob Leisler. Several of 
them were in England, working for the removal of Fletcher, 
and for the appointment of a man more friendly to their 
interests. The attainder of Leisler, and the confiscation 
of his property, they sought to reverse. It could only be 
done by a governor opposed to the present ruling party 
in the province. Livingston also learned that public 
opinion was forming against large grants of land in New 
York, and that efforts would be made to vacate some pat 
ents already issued for some large tracts, termed " extrava 
gant grants." Exercising his usual caution and shrewd 
ness, he sought to make a favorable impression on Bello 
mont, and arranged to make his peace with Leisler s friends 
and relatives. When he learned from his correspondents 
that the time had come for Fletcher s removal, and Bello- 
mont s appointment, lie knew that the time had come also 
for a change in his politics. He accordingly abandoned the 
party with which he had acted during the time of Leisler s 
usurpation, and years after, in order to join the Leislerians. 

Lord Bellomont was appointed Governor in March, 1697, 
but did not arrive in New York until April, 1698. He was 
a man of strong passions, and of a temper that could brook 
no opposition, yet withal honest in his convictions. He 
was thoroughly committed to the Leislerian party. In his 
instructions is a paragraph directing him to examine the 
affairs relating to Robert Livingston, and to learn why the 
king s orders of 1695 had not been obeyed. 

One of the first things he did on his arrival was to order 
an investigation. Fletcher was summoned to appear be 
fore the Council to prove his allegations against Living 
ston, and to justify himself in suspending his commissions. 


He did npt appear, and the Council declared that they 
could not be judges in a matter as to which they had al 
ready expressed an opinion, and were now a party. They 
had now nothing to offer in justification of the suspension. 
They could only say, that they knew nothing to the preju 
dice of Livingston s reputation, arid believed him to be the 
fittest man in the colony to contract for the subsistence of 
the troops. They therefore referred the whole matter to 
his Excellency to be determined by his individual judg 
ment. He duly examined the case, and decided that Liv 
ingston s claims were just, and should be paid. As to his 
commissions, he found him fit and capable. In his report 
to his superiors, he made no recommendations, leaving it 
to them to remove his suspension, and restore him to his 
offices, in their own time and pleasure. 

A full year afterward the Lords of Trade, in one of their 
letters, said that they had noted the report, but as no one 
had appeared for Livingston, they supposed the business 
had been arranged, and so let it rest. Livingston promptly 
acted upon the hint, and directed his solicitor to present 
his case, and ask for an adjustment. He was directed to 
lay the matter before the king, through the Secretary of 
State. This was done. But nc\v revelations were made 
as to some of Livingston s past transactions, especially his 
relations with the pirate Kidd, which shook the confidence 
of Bellomont in his integrity, who communicated his sus 
picions to the government, and final action on the claims 
was again deferred. 

Bellomont had been warmly attached to him, so much so 
that when he had suspended several members of the Coun 
cil, and appointed Leislerians to the vacancies, Livingston 
was one of them. This appointment was acceptable on 
many accounts. It gratified his ambition as a politician, 
and made him the peer of the men who, a few years be- 


fore, under the inspiration of Fletcher, had poured such 
contempt upon him. The affair of Kidd, however, clouded 
liis enjoyment, for it embarrassed the settlement of his 
claims, involving so large a portion of his estate. Pirates 
had long infested the coasts of the English colonies, where 
they had been in a measure patronized and protected. 
The harbors of Long Island within the Sound had been 
their principal rendezvous. They brought "cargoes of In 
dia goods, with gold and precious stones, plundered from 
English East India merchantmen, and found a market or 
concealment. They had become an intolerable nuisance 
to the government and to honest traders. Efforts were 
actively made to suppress them, but with little success. 

Livingston, on his way to England in 1695, conceived a 
project which he believed would drive them from the seas, 
while it would enrich its projectors. After he had made 
the acquaintance of Lord Bellomont he explained to him 
the project and solicited his counsel. It was a device 
somewhat questionable as to its morality, a sort of modi 
fied piracy. Armed ships were to be employed to cruise 
in the Indian seas in search of piratical vessels. When a 
capture was made with a cargo of stolen goods, the pirates 
were to be punished as they deserved, and their merchan 
dise turned over, not to the rightful owners, but to the 
owners of the ships making the capture. Bellomont ap 
proved the project, and agreed to join him in fitting out 
the first cruiser. He took an active part in the business, 
and interested other noble lords in the enterprise even 
the king was said to have been a shareholder. Livingston 
was appointed agent of the company. He was authorized 
to buy a ship, arm it, supply it with stores, and hire officers 
and crew. Among his acquaintances was one Captain 
Kidd, a resident of New York, who was master of a mer 
chant ship, and a man of courage, as had been shown on 


some trying occasions. He happened to be in London. 
Livingston succeeded in securing his service as captain of 
the anti-piratical craft. 

Bellomont for himself and his noble partners, whose 
names do not appear, entered into a written agreement 
with Livingston and Kidd. He engaged to furnish four- 
fifths of the capital invested in the enterprise. After pay 
ing the crew, he was to receive four-fifths of the plunder. 
Livingston gave his bond to Bellomont for his faithful 
performance of all his undertakings in the premises, as 
also did Kidd, with a penalty of twenty thousand pounds. 

The ship was ready to sail in the latter part of February, 
1696. She first came to the coasts of New York and New 
England to procure a full complement of men, and to 
look into the haunts of pirates. After securing a crew 
she sailed for the East Indies. Not successful in taking 
pirate ships, Kidd himself became a pirate. His capt 
ures in the eastern seas soon became notorious, and made 
his name a terror to honest merchantmen. Fletcher was 
aware of his presence near New York when collecting 
his crew, and after he sailed wrote to the Lords of Trade 
that Kidd had shown his letters-patent for the suppression 
of piracy, and had collected a crew of notoriously bad 
fellows, and added : " It is believed that if they are not 
successful, it will not be in Kidd s power to control them ; 
they will have money far fas ant nefas." It was afterward 
reported, and Kidd alleged in his defence that the crew 
mutinied and forced him, in order to save his life, to com 
mit unlawful depredations on the commerce of the seas. 

Bellomont, smarting under the exposure of his connec 
tion with Kidd, and the use made of it by Fletcher and 
his political enemies, charged Livingston as the author 
of all the trouble and scandal. He said that Livingston 
introduced Kidd to him, visited his house with him, made 


all the arrangements, and drew up all the papers with his 
own hand. When Kidd made his appearance on the 
coast in the early summer of 1699, Bellomont was in 
Boston. By a decoy letter he induced Kidd to visit 
Boston, where he was arrested. Bellomont in his report 
to the Board of Trade did not spare Livingston. He said 
that Livingston had hurried to Boston to embezzle Kidd s 
rich cargo, and get released from his bond. He went fur 
ther, and said that he now suspected him of complicity with 
Kidd. In this he wronged his old friend. Livingston, 
aware of these reports, and of Bellomont s great irritation, 
went to Boston to vindicate himself from unjust charges. 
He appeared before Bellomont and his Council, and suc 
cessfully acquitted himself. His explanations seem to 
have been entirely satisfactory to Bellomont, although he 
did not withdraw his injurious aspersions made to the 
Board of Trade. Of these Livingston at the time had no 
knowledge, or he doubtless would have secured their 
modification, if not withdrawal. Afterward Bellomont 
treated him with courtesy, and corresponded with him as 
usual on Indian affairs and other public business. But 
his self-love was wounded. He did not regard Livingston 
as his warm personal friend as of old, nor henceforth "the 
best man in the province." He was disposed to say ill- 
natured- things of him. On one occasion he said : " The 
soldiers in Albany are worse used than here, to Living 
ston s only satisfaction [Livingston yet furnished sub 
sistence], for he pinched an estate out of their poor 
bellies." At another time he said: "Graham has only 
one friend in the province, Livingston, who has not quite 
so much cunning as he." He never could forget the ex 
posure of his unfortunate connection with Kidd. It preyed 
on his mind. He could not forgive Livingston. At last 
he resolved to remove him from the Council, and it was to 


have been done the night before his sudden death. This 
saved Livingston for the time. 

After the death of Bellomont, Lieutenant-Governor Nan- 
fan being absent, the administration of the government de 
volved upon the Council, of whom two members were anti- 
Leislerian. Livingston, knowing that Bellomont had not 
regarded him as a friend for some time before his death, and 
aware of his intention to suspend him, now joined the mi 
nority against the party with which he had been affiliated 
some four, years. He knew quite well that a new governor 
would soon be appointed, that in all probability he would 
be a man of opposite politics, and he was now preparing 
himself to be one of the governor s party. When Nanfan 
returned, and assumed control of affairs, be found means 
to conciliate him, and make himself useful to his adminis 
tration. He had addressed a long letter to the Lords of 
Trade, in which he was lavish in praises of the late gover 
nor, but slyly insinuated some things to his prejudice, just 
enough to give the impression that, notwithstanding all 
his protestations of honor, and his declamations against the 
corruptions of his predecessors, he had had an eye to his 
own interests. It was the custom of the Five Nations, 
Livingston said, in their conferences, to make presents in 
exchange for those they received. The greater the presents 
they received, the more beaver skins they gave, which were 
always treated as the governor s perquisites. At the last 
conference held by his late Excellency, so great and valu 
able were the gifts of the governor presented in his own 
name, but chargeable to the revenues of the province, 
that the Indians were fairly taken off their feet. They 
had not expected so much, and did not come prepared 
to reciprocate. They felt themselves obliged in honor 
to procure more beavers. With the presents the Earl 
had given them, they went to the traders and bought 


beavers, which the next day they laid at the governor s 

Soon afterward he wrote again. He said that he had 
intended to embark for England on urgent private busi 
ness, and public as well : first, to vindicate himself before 
the Lords of Trade from the aspersions of Lord Bellomont 
as to his connection with the pirate Kidd, and the embez 
zlement of his cargo ; second, to procure a settlement of 
his claims, for he had exhausted his estate in subsisting 
the troops, and was now forced to borrow money at ten 
per cent. True, the Earl had granted him warrants on the 
treasury in liquidation, but had immediately afterward pro 
cured an order in Council stopping payment ; lastly, he 
wished to confer with their lordships upon certain schemes 
he had suggested in a previous letter for the better se 
curity and protection of the colony. But he had been 
constrained to defer his voyage, because Lieutenant-Gov 
ernor Nanfan wanted his services in his approaching con 
ference with the Indians, and thought his presence essen 
tial. The convention with the Five Nations had been 
held, and was a great success. Large presents were ex 
changed, of which the poor province bore, as usual, the 
greater part of the expense. Besides the one hundred 
and thirty beaver skins contributed to Nanfan s private 
purse, they gave to the king a deed for their hunting- 
grounds lying north of the lakes Ontario and Erie, and 
east of Lake Huron. Livingston modestly took to him 
self some credit for the success of the negotiations. Nan- 
fan seemed so pleased with his services, that, on the asking, 
he certified to his valuable assistance, and recommended 
the Lords favorable consideration of his peculiar circum 
stances, that he might obtain speedy relief in the payment 
of his claims and restoration to his offices. 

After Nanfan had closed his public conference with the 


Indians at Albany, a delegation of the principal sachems 
visited him in the fort. Their business apparently was to 
confer with him more particularly as to some of their rela 
tions still held as prisoners in Canada, notwithstanding the 
peace. In reality it was to demand that Livingston should 
be sent to England as their agent, and represent their 
wishes to the throne. They said that they not only desired 
that effectual means should be taken to release their friends 
from prison, but that the influence of the French priests 
in seducing their people away from their country should be 
counteracted by English clergymen residing among them. 
Send Livingston without delay, they said, " and then we 
are in hopes we shall have a good issue of our business." 

The Indian agency was ridiculed by the old partisans of 
Leisler, who said that it was not so much the request of 
the Indians, as of Livingston made through them. It was 
one of his old tricks to lessen his own expenses, and procure 
more consideration abroad. Their old prejudices were 
aroused. Nanfan, as the brother-in-law of Bellomont, was 
soon in full sympathy with them. Their distrust of him 
grew with what it fed on rumor and dislike. In October 
following, the Assembly enacted a law requiring him to 
account for the money he had received as collector of ex 
cise and receiver of quit-rents, and authorized the seizure 
of his property as a defaulter. This act and other legisla 
tion of a like nature aroused the anti-Leislerian party. 
They had been shut out from public employment, and 
now their estates were attached. A petition to the king, 
reciting their grievances and asking relief, was widely 
circulated, and received a long list of signatures. It was 
believed by Nanfan and his party, not without reason, that 
Livingston had taken an active part in the agitation, and 
in all probability was its chief promoter. To punish him 
Nanfan suspended him from the Council. 


Although he had turned against the party by whom 
Belloaiont and Nanfan were supported, and had joined his 
old friends in their vigorous address to the throne, he was 
not implicitly trusted. He had to take other measures to 
regain their confidence. His friends in England had kept 
him informed as to all matters relating to the province, 
and had given him notice that Lord Cornbury would soon 
be governor of New York, and that he was not a Leislerian 
like Bellomont. He trimmed his sails accordingly, and 
joined in an address of congratulation to be presented to 
his lordship on his arrival. 

In Lord Cornbury s first conference with the Five Na 
tions, July, 1702, Livingston was recognized as Secretary 
of Indian Affairs, and acted in that capacity. But from 
the first he was not a favorite with Cornbury, who in after 
years gave public expression to his dislike. He was not 
restored to the Council, and was treated with marked neg 
lect. His dalliance with the Leislerians had much to do 
with his present position. He was not trusted by either 
party. He now had little hope of satisfactorily adjusting 
his affairs with the government. He returned to the proj 
ect which had been laid aside at Nanfan s solicitation, and 
now resolved on his deferred voyage to England. His 
great success on his former visit gave him encouragement. 
Moreover, he could conceal his true motives under the 
veil of an Indian agent. True, he had no governor s com 
mission, but then, was it not well known to the Lords of 
Trade, that the Five Nations had urgently requested such 
a commission for him ? Did they not know that the In 
dians had begged him to present their condition to the 
throne, and ask for relief? Did they not know of the In 
dians appeal for ministers of the gospel to give them re 
ligious instruction ? ^ 

He sailed from New York on June 2, 1703. The voyage, 


like the first, was unfortunate. On the English coast, near 
the British Channel, his ship was captured by a French 
privateer. The captors, after plundering it, allowed the 
ship to be ransomed. Livingston lost some valuable 
private papers, but concealed a package sent by Lord 
Cornbury, which he sent to the Board of Trade with a 
pathetic letter detailing his misfortunes. He resorted to 
his old tactics after his shipwreck. After relating the 
incidents of the capture by the privateer, he says : " I 
have been a servant of the crown twenty-eight years, and 
have launched out all the small fortune I have, besides in 
curring considerable debts, in victualling her Majesty s 
forces. To secure the payment of what is due me from 
the crown, I was constrained to leave my family and busi 
ness, and have now met with this disaster." 

On his arrival in London he shrewdly addressed himself 
first to the affairs of the Five Nations. In his memorial 
to the Lords of Trade, after alluding to their wishes to 
have him act as their agent, he shows how useful they 
have always been to the colony, and were still. " They 
fight our battles, and are a living barrier against the en 
croachments of the French. In the wars they have suf 
fered exceedingly by the loss of men, both in battle, and 
by the French priests, who have seduced large numbers 
of them to leave their country and live in Canada. They 
now earnestly appeal for protection, especially against the 
influence of the priests. They desire religious instruc 
tion, but prefer Protestant teachers. Let Protestant mis 
sionaries be sent among them, and they will be gladly 
welcomed. Their people will be taught the true religion, 
and they will no longer permit French priests to reside 
among them." He then passes to a brief statement of the 
condition of the province, interspersing it with praises of 
Lord Cornbury, who was a cousin of Queen Anne, then 


on the throne. He makes no allusion to himself, his ser 
vices, or his affairs. 

The Lords of Trade advised him to consult with the 
Bishop of London, who put him into communication with 
the Society for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts, 
by whom he was invited to attend a missionary meeting to 
be held at the Archbishop s palace. His negotiations 
resulted in securing two clergymen of the Church as mis 
sionaries to the Indians. He was thus engaged appar 
ently a full year, devoting the entire time to the affairs of 
his constituents, the Five Nations. 

In August, 1704, he again memorialized the Board of 
Trade. It was now on his own individual business. He 
asks that his suspension from the office of secretary by 
Governor Fletcher may be annulled, and he be " restored 
to the capacity of receiving his salary, according to the 
recommendation of the late Lord Bellomont, now amount 
ing to eight hundred and seventy-five pounds sterling." 
The Lords of Trade took his memorial into consideration. 
They found his statements to be true, and that notwith 
standing his suspension, he had since been serviceable in 
Indian treaties. They made a favorable report to the 
queen, who by order in council removed the suspension, 
and restored him to all his rights under the commis 

So far, well. But he was not yet satisfied. His other 
commissions from the king in 1695 had been discredited. 
No one of the governors, not even Bellomont, had caused 
them to be respected. He now wished them confirmed, 
or new commissions issued by the queen. He believed 
her sign-manual would be respected, especially by the pres 
ent governor, Cornbury, who prided himself on his near 
relationship to the sovereign. He waited and worked 
nearly a year longer. His patience and efforts were re- 


warded with success. On September 29, 1705, the queen 
issued her mandate : 

" I hereby restore, confirm, constitute and appoint you, 
Robert Livingston, to be our town clerk, clerk of the 
peace, clerk of the common pleas, in our county and city 
of Albany, and the secretary, or agent of the government 
of New York to the Indians." 

He returned home. But Lord Cornbury and the Coun 
cil did not respect his new commission more than the old. 
He was under a cloud which the sun of the queen s favor 
could not lift. He first presented his credentials to Lord 
Cornbury, who ordered them in October, 1706, into the 
hands of the secretary of Council, with directions to exam 
ine King William s commissions, together with the proceed 
ings of the Council thereon, and lay the papers before the 
governor and Council. The secretary made haste slowly. 
It was not until September, 1708, that the business was 
ready for the action of the Council. The queen s commis 
sion was then ordered to be recorded in full. Livingston 
now presented a formal request to have his salary paid, or 
adjusted. The Council refused, alleging that the office of 
secretary was useless and burdensome ; and ordered that 
it should be so represented to the queen. All the mem 
bers of the Council were agreed in this disposition of the 
petition, except Peter Schuyler, who did not vote. 

When Lord Cornbury was about to be recalled, Living 
ston determined to make another effort to have his com 
mission recognized, and secure his unpaid salary. The 
Council had been reorganized, the new members being, as 
he believed, more favorable to his interests. He hoped 
tli at as the governor was about to retire, he would be bet 
ter disposed. He sent in his petition, November 18, 1708. 
It was laid on the table. 

Within a month after the arrival of Cornbury s succes- 


sor, Lord Lovelace, Livingston addressed to him a memo 
rial, reciting a history of his case, requesting him to make 
himself acquainted with all the facts, and recommend him 
to her Majesty for relief. Lovelace consulted his Council, 
who again objected to the utility of the office of secretary. 
Of course no action was taken. Livingston asked them to 
reduce their objections to writing, and furnish him with a 
copy. This was a preliminary step to further proceedings. 
But Lovelace died before he had time to make a thorough 
investigation into all the matters involved. The recogni 
tion of the office, and the payment of the salary were again 
deferred. It was a sore disappointment. 

Robert Hunter, the next governor, was a warm friend 
of Livingston. They were both Scotchmen, and as men 
of their nationality in the colony were very few, they 
formed and maintained a lasting friendship. Through 
Hunter s partiality his fortune was largely advanced. 
The governor had been directed by the queen to settle a 
colony of Protestant Germans, who had been driven from 
their country by the religious wars of Europe, and were 
in search of a new home. He bought of Livingston six 
thousand acres of his manor on which to locate them, and 
then gave him the contract of furnishing their supplies. 
In various other ways he proved his friendship to Living 
ston s advantage. There were times when he had grave 
doubts of his fidelity and honor, but Livingston s explana 
tions were always accepted, and the friendship continued. 
Even after he returned to England his kindness to him 
was useful. He bore testimony to the government, that 
Livingston had been very serviceable to him, as well as to 
Burnet, his successor ; and he commended him for favor 
able consideration. 

During the brief administration of Lovelace, Livingston 
had been elected to the Assembly from Albany County, 


and at its second session, in September, 1710, he succeeded 
in procuring an act relieving his estate from sequestration 
under the law of the Assembly passed in Lieutenant- 
Governor Nanfan s time. 

In less than six months after Hunter had assumed control 
of the government, the Council took into consideration the 
accounts and claims of Robert Livingston, and after a full 
investigation they audited them for payment. Although 
this was done, payment of his salary was not made for a 
year afterward. The sachems of the Five Nations now 
came to his assistance. In a convention at Albany they 
made an urgent request, that Governor Hunter should lay 
the business before the queen, and seek to have his salary 
as secretary paid in full. 

Hunter s partiality to Livingston, and his dealings with 
him, occasioned remark in England. They were criticised 
before the Lords of Trade, who considered the subject of 
such grave importance that they ordered an investigation. 
Lord Cornbury, now the Earl of Clarendon, was sum 
moned as a witness. He did not appear, but wrote a 
letter to Lord Dartmouth, in which he severely com 
mented on Hunter s transactions with Livingston, and 
gave utterance to his old dislike. These proceedings 
placed Hunter on his defence. His agents in London 
presented an admirable argument, which settled the ques 
tion in his favor. They say of Livingston, that " he has 
always been known as a careful, industrious, and diligent 
man, who by these more than by other means hath got a 
considerable estate." " He honorably cleared himself 
from the charges of fraud and peculation." " His offers 
for subsistence (for the Palatines) were reasonable, for his 
facilities to provide supplies were better than others, hav 
ing a brewery and bakery on his premises near the Pala 
tine settlement." 


The Assembly of 1714 passed a money bill for the relief 
of public creditors. All claims of whatsoever nature, ex 
cept those named in the act, were repudiated as fictitious, 
and were never to be paid. The prohibition in this act of 
the legislature had reference to Livingston s claim for 
salary as secretary, for interest, and unliquidated balances 
for the subsistence of the troops, for which payment had 
been refused for twenty years, notwithstanding the di 
rections of King William and Queen Anne. Livingston 
was not the man to rest quietly under such a rebuff. The 
man who could endure starvation and shipwreck, who 
could make two voyages to England, running the risks of 
perils by sea and of public enemies, who could remain 
away from his house and business many successive years 
to obtain justice, was not the man to be so suppressed, and 
defrauded of his rights without another struggle. He was 
fertile in resources. 

The year before he had applied by petition to the gov 
ernor for a new patent of his manor, in which it should 
be permitted to have a representation in the Assembly. 
The petition was laid on the table by the Council. Now, 
by an arrangement with the governor, it was taken up, 
and favorably considered. A new patent was issued, 1715, 
which contained the privilege he sought. The next year 
he took his seat in the Assembly, as the representative of 
his manor. 

Hunter had dissolved several assemblies because they had 
not passed the acts he recommended, and had in other ways 
annoyed him. At last, in 1716, one was elected, a majority 
of whose members were willing to follow his directions 
an assembly devoted to his interests. Of this body Liv 
ingston was a leading and influential member. At its 
session in 1717, he procured the passage of an act attach 
ing his whole manor to the county of Albany. Before 


that half of it had been within the bounds of Dutchess 
County. The same law provided for the election of cer 
tain town officers, and for the payment of its member just 
as others were paid. He then introduced a money bill 
authorizing an issue of bills of credit to the amount of 
forty-one thousand five hundred and seventeen and a half 
ounces of plate, equal to 41,517-^^ Spanish silver dollars, 
to be applied to the payment of such of the public credit 
ors as had been omitted or excluded from the act of 1714. 
Under his manipulations, and by favor of the Governor, 
this bill was passed through the Assembly and Council, 
and received the approval of the executive. Of this large 
amount of money Livingston received enough to liquidate 
all his claims. It was now twenty-tw r o years since his first 
visit to England, since the governor and Council had re 
fused to pay what was due him. He had finally triumphed 
over all opposition, and compelled a recognition of his 
claims. The act had not been passed without difficulty. 
He had been obliged to make some concessions to public 
opinion, and to the opposition of the minority in the Leg 
islature. He promised to make no further claims forever 
on the government for his salary as secretary. 

Livingston was elected speaker of the Assembly in May, 
1718, and held that position for seven years, when age 
and infirmities obliged him to resign. The House was de 
voted to the politics of Hunter and of his successor Burnet, 
and was not dissolved, until the new members, elected in 
place of those who died, reversed the majority. It had a 
longer existence than any other colonial assembly. 

His manor and politics occupied so much of Living 
ston s attention after he became speaker, that the duties of 
his several offices had to be performed by deputies and 
clerks. In 1720, at the age of sixty-six, he thought it 
time to retire from the offices he had held so long in Al- 


bany. But with his usual thrift and Scottish shrewdness, 
he wished the salaries and fees to be retained in his 
family. They had laid the foundations of his estate, and 
been its chief support for nearly fifty years, until they 
seemed a part of it. Why should they now pass into the 
hands of a stranger ? He took Governor Burnet into his 
confidence as to his son as his successor, but did not give 
him any hint about the salary, only about the office of sec 
retary. Burnet had not been in the country long enough 
to know the ins and outs of Livingston s character. He 
had had a good report of him from Hunter, and probably 
knew that he was now serving as secretary without salary 
according to the arrangements of 1717. Did he dream that 
the question of salary would be revived ? Perhaps not. 
He fell into the trap, at all events. 

In November, 1720, Burnet wrote to the Lords of 
Trade : " Robert Livingston, speaker of the Assembly, 
desires to have his son Philip, a worthy and capable man, 
appointed to his place as secretary of the Indian affairs. 
This I earnestly recommend, because Robert Livingston 
was always serviceable to Brigadier Hunter, and has been 
of the greatest use to me both in the Assembly and in 
Indian affairs. The act prohibiting the pernicious trade 
(with Canada) is chiefly owing to him." Philip Livingston 
was appointed the following year. 

The prohibitory act referred to was a favorite measure 
of Burnet, as a means to divert the fur trade from Canada 
to New York. English goods for the Indian trade were 
cheaper and better than the French. The Indians pre 
ferred them, and the Canadian merchants found it to their 
advantage to procure them from New York and Albany tc 
supply the demand. Burnet believed that if this trade 
could be broken up, the far Indians from the west and 
northwest would bring their furs directly to Albany, to 


exchange for English goods, and in this way the trade 
would be enlarged, while the English influence over dis 
tant tribes would be superior to that of the French. Liv 
ingston was early informed that Hunter in all probability 
would not return, and that Burnet would succeed him. 
He also had hints of Burnet s proposed policy. Shortly 
before his arrival, he addressed a memorial on Indian affairs 
to President Schuyler, in which he took strong ground in 
favor of prohibiting the Canadian trade. He urged 
Schuyler to take the initiative, and place a guard at the 
carrying place (Fort Edward) to prevent the transporta 
tion of goods. 1 At the first session of the Legislature 
after Burnet s arrival, the prohibitory bill was introduced 
and owed its. enactment to Livingston s influence and 
activity. Burnet was greatly pleased. 

As time passed, he made himself more and more ser 
viceable. Burnet was vain of his literary attainments, his 
pedigree, and more than all, of his personal appearance. 
His vanity was his weakness. Livingston, a good judge 
of men, was not slow in learning how best to serve him 
self by ministering to the governor s foibles. So well did 
he stand in Burnet s estimation, that on one occasion, after 
holding a conference with the Indians at Albany, he in 
duced the governor to adjourn the Council to his manor- 
house on the Hudson, and there finish up his business. 
Their friendship did not last through his term, as it did 
with Hunter. 

After five years of intimacy, Burnet began to regard him 
very differently. He complained that Livingston had se 
cured for his son the offices which he resigned, and a salary 

1 The French traders employed Indians under direction of white men to 
carry goods by canoes up the Hudson, across the carrying place to Wood 
Creek, and thence through Lake Champlain. 


for secretary of one hundred pounds payable from the 
quit-rents. This was unreasonable, for the money derived 
from the quit-rents could be used to better advantage in 
other directions. It gave him no solace to recollect that 
he had enabled, by his recommendations, "old Livingston " 
to secure the places. Livingston was no longer " my ser 
viceable friend " he was now " old Livingston." He was 
no longer speaker, and now it appeared to Burner., that 
when in that position " he made a show of, rather than 
render any valuable service, for at the present session of 
Assembly, he tried to procure another important colonial 
office for a member of his family." The truth was, that 
the confidence of the people and of the Assembly had 
been gradually drifting away from the governor. Living 
ston had resigned his speakership, and Adolph Philipse, 
whom Burnet had removed from the Council, was elected 
in his place. Burnet had lost his popularity, and no one 
could help him. In mortification and chagrin he turned 
against his old friend. 

The exact date of Livingston s death is not known. He 
resigned the speaker s chair in 1725, on account of failing 
health. In November, 1727, he gave evidence before a 
committee of the Assembly. His name does not again 
appear in the records. He probably died in 1728. 


To be possessed of a large estate was the great passion 
of Robert Livingston. It was for this that he sought office, 
as the surest means to obtain ready money, with which to 
speculate, or to lend at a high interest. It was for this 
that he economized and saved. For this he went to Eng 
land, remaining away from home years on each occasion. 
For this he changed his politics with the change of gover- 


nors. For this he joined the party which afforded him 
the best facilities to improve his fortune. 

Within a few years after he came to Albany, large tracts 
of valuable lands could be bought of the native proprie 
tors for a nominal consideration. New Yorkers, who had 
accumulated more capital than was required in their busi 
ness, invested the surplus in lands lying near the city. Al 
banians were not slow to follow the example and secure 
large plots, either individually or in companies. Living 
ston s position gave him unusual facilities for selecting 
lands in the best localities. 

He had been only five years in the country when he 
applied to Governor Andros for leave to purchase of the 
Indians a tract on Roelof Jansen s Kill, with the creek, on 
the east side of the Hudson. His petition was granted, 
November 12, 1680, but he did not complete the purchase 
until three years afterward, when he procured a deed from 
some Mohegan Indians of lands on the Kill, consisting of 
"three flats, with some small flats, together with the wood 
land," the bounds running from one stream to another, 
thence eastward into the woods to a " cripple Bush." The 
deed was dated July 12, 1683. For this, Governor Don- 
gan gave a patent, November 4, 1684, in which the flats 
are said to contain two hundred acres, and the woodland 
eighteen hundred acres, but the boundaries of the tract are 
indefinite. On June 3, 1685, Livingston petitioned for a 
license to buy another tract of three hundred acres on the 
same creek, claiming that on examination the first tract 
did not prove satisfactory. The land he now proposed to 
buy was " called by the Indians Tackhanick behind Pott- 
hook " (Claverack). The Indian deed is dated August 10, 
1685. The bounds are tolerably definite ; that is, from 
creek to creek, from tree to tree marked with his initials, 
and from hill to mountain, all with their proper Indian 


names. The number of acres, however, is not stated. 1 The 
same month, Governor Dongan issued a patent for the 
land described in the deed, being " about three hundred 
morgens, or six hundred acres." A year later, July 22, 1686, 
these two tracts were, by patent, erected into a manor, at a 
yearly quit-rent of twenty-eight shillings. The bounds of 
the manor are definitely given, but the number of acres 
therein is not stated. This was of little consequence, now 
that the limits were by these several instruments estab 
lished as accurately as they could be in a formal survey. 
There would be time in the future to learn the acreage. 
Livingston took possession and began his improvements. 
In 1694 lie had built his first manor-house, and had three 
or four tenants. 

Now occurs a transaction which is difficult to explain, 
except on the theory of some previous understanding. 
In October 26, 1694, he sold to the old Recorder of Al 
bany, Dirk Wessels (Ten Broeck), in consideration of fif 
teen pounds and an annual rent of ten shillings, two par 
cels of land, one on the river containing six hundred acres, 
the other in the interior, lying on the creek, measured by 
" men s treads," or paces, which was afterward found to 
contain twelve hundred acres, being the best land of the 
manor. Why this sale ? Livingston was not in need of 
this small amount of money, nor of the annual rent. It ij 
a tradition in the Ten Broeck family that Dirk Wessels 
first conceived the project of buying the whole tract of 
the Indians, and commissioned Livingston to make the 
purchase that Livingston was not true to the trust, but 
bought it in his own name. It is more probable that, a 3 

1 On April r, 1686, Livingston s brother-in-law, Philip Schuyler, sent a 
petition to the governor and Council for a license to buy a certain piece of 
land known as Roeloff Jansen s Kill. Leave was granted on the usual 
terms. But we find no Indian deed or patent. Why the petition ? 


Ten Broeck was engaged with others in land speculations, 
he agreed with Livingston to take a portion of his Indian 
purchase, leaving him free to bargain in the names of both, 
or alone, as he should elect. If he had determined to 
buy for himself, why did he not petition the governor ac 
cording to law ? Had he done so, it would have been on 
the records. Ten Broeck, after lie had secured his deed, 
built a house for himself on the twelve-hundred-acre farm, 
to which he removed in due time, and there spent the last 
years of his life. I have not found any indication that he 
was on unfriendly terms with Livingston. Had he been 
deceived, his displeasure would have appeared, and be 
come manifest to those who study the history of the times. 

For the first few years, by reason of the wars with 
Canada, the settlement and development of the manor 
were slow. In 1702 Lord Bellomont writes, "I am told 
Livingston has on his great grant of sixteen miles long, 
and twenty-four broad, but four or five cottages, occupied 
by men too poor to be farmers, but are his vassals." 

After the close of the war, Livingston made more rapid 
progress in his improvements. He erected flour and 
timber mills, and a new manor-house. The mills were a 
source of large income, as farmers were settling in con 
siderable numbers on the manor and adjacent places. 
Their simple products commanded a ready market in New 
York and in the West India Islands. In 1710, when Gov 
ernor Hunter was seeking a place on which to settle the 
exiled Palatines, he found that the Livingston manor 
afforded the most eligible locality. He bought of Living 
ston six thousand acres for four hundred pounds. He 
settled the larger number of the exiles there, and provided 
for the rest on the west bank of the river. These poor 
people had been driven from their homes in Germany, 
and had come to America with no possessions of their 


own. The were literally " poor in all things." They had 
to be provided with food and clothing for a year at least, 
or until they could procure a living by their own industry. 

To Livingston was awarded the contract to furnish 
them with " bread and beer" for the term of six months. 
There was great complaint that he would defraud the 
governor. But there is no indication of it in his accounts. 
They are made with much particularity, such as a straight 
forward business man would render, methodically, neatly, 
accurately. He was on the Board of Control which Gov 
ernor Hunter had organized for the government of the 
Palatines. The agent whom Hunter had appointed 
charged him at one time with cupidity and with seeking 
to manage all other supplies as well as bread and beer. 
At the same time he informs the governor of some things 
Livingston had said or done, which might be interpreted 
as reflections on himself. Hunter s wrath was aroused, 
and he exclaims, " This proceeding of Livingston is most 
villainous. He is under many obligations to me, but he 
is the most selfish man alive." The charges and insinua 
tions were untrue, or Livingston found means to appease 
the governor s anger. Nothing more is said about it, and 
their friendly intercourse continues. Dongan and Hunter 
alone of all the English governors were on good terms 
with him when they retired from office. 

The Palatines were disappointed in their settlement and 
condition. They had fled from their own country pur 
sued by a cruel soldiery. They had sought safety and 
protection in England, then the champion of the Protes 
tant cause. There it was difficult to obtain employment, 
more difficult for the government to support them, be 
cause of their utter poverty and their numbers. It was 
decided to send them to New York, where they could be 
provided with lands, and could by their labor determine 


whether naval supplies could be furnished from the forests 
of the province. But they received the impression that 
they were to be settled on farms of their own. Instead of 
that, they now found themselves placed upon a small 
parcel of land contiguous to pine forests belonging to the 
queen, and required to make tar and pitch for her ships. 
They were disappointed and uneasy. They considered 
their condition to be little better than that of slaves. 
Under the influence of a few restless spirits they became 
turbulent and rebellious. They gave both Hunter and 
Livingston trouble and perplexity. Troops were required 
to subdue them and establish order. The bad ones were 
sifted out and expelled. The better sort then settled 
down quietly to their work. But new troubles arose. 
The queen s government had stipulated with Hunter that 
the expense of their settlement and subsistence should 
be provided for in England on the governor s drafts. The 
drafts came back protested. The ministry had been 
changed. The men now in power " knew not Joseph." 
They suffered his drafts to go to protest, and his appeals 
for justice to lie on their table. He exhausted his private 
income and fortune for their support. When these failed, 
after a struggle of two years, the poor exiles were left to 
shift for themselves. 

During these years Livingston had managed to preserve 
the confidence and friendship of Hunter. He was then in 
a position to assist the party to which he was attached, 
and to render it important service, to Hunter s adminis 
tration particularly. He had accumulated a large fort 
une, and was perhaps the richest man in the province, 
with one, or at the most two, exceptions. He was known 
to be persistent, and as a rule successful, in the enter 
prises which he undertook. Hunter appreciated the value 
of such a man, provided he could be firmly attached to 


his interests. Up to that time Hunter had been opposed 
by the Assembly, and although he had dissolved that legis 
lative body at different times he had not secured a new 
one more supple than the old. It was the ambition of his 
life to have an Assembly who would work with him in 
harmony for a better government, and, as he believed, for 
the prosperity of the province. To secure such an one he 
had been willing to stretch his prerogative, and make 
sacrifices not inconsistent with his honor. The sixteenth 
Assembly had been dissolved, August n, 1715. Living 
ston s recent patent added another member to the House, 
who would be trustworthy not only as a legislator but as a 
politician. A new election was ordered. The result gave 
him such an Assembly as he had desired, an Assembly 
ready to co-operate with him in the measures he should 

Livingston s confirmatory patent passed the seals on 
October i, 1715. It not only granted representation, but 
it made his title secure. In 1714 he had caused a survey 
of the manor to be made under the direction of the sur 
veyor-general. He had had doubts as to the validity of 
the old patents, especially should a governor like Bello- 
mont have to deal with them. 

Up to that time the bounds and limits had been in dis 
pute ; Indian names for creeks and rocks and hills were 
not trustworthy. In the survey that had been made the 
metes and bounds were carefully noted, and drawn on a 
map. Hunter s patent follows the survey from point to 
point and notes the distances in miles. Now there could 
be no mistake as to names or limits. This made the title 
to the land within the lines secure against any attack on 
account of the excess of acreage over the number of acres 
named in the Indian deeds and in the first patents. Al 
though it does not give the number of acres, the survey 


computes the area of the manor to contain one hundred 
and sixty thousand two hundred and forty acres. 1 It was 
now believed to be secure against any attack, even that 
under the pretext of an " extravagant grant." A title 
based upon a legal survey with the autograph of Robert 
Hunter attached he believed to be entirely safe, and be 
yond the reach of any governor or legislature to invali 

A controversy soon arose, however, as to his northern 
line. Hendrick Van Rensselaer, who owned the Claver- 
ack Patent, claimed that it encroached on his lands. 
After much discussion Livingston yielded, and consented 
that his north line, beginning at the river where Van Rcns- 
selaer s south line commenced, should extend " east by 
south in a straight line twenty-four English miles, as far 
as it goes." An indenture was accordingly made and ex 
ecuted to that effect on October 30, 1717, Livingston re 
nouncing all claims for lands north of said line. 

Robert Livingston had finally settled the limits of his 
large landed estate, known as the Livingston Manor, and 
remained in undisturbed possession until his death. By 
his will he devised thirteen thousand acres in Clermont to 
his second son, Robert, and all the residue to his eldest son, 
Philip. Philip, the second proprietor, was not disturbed 
as to title or limits. He was a merchant, and resided in 
New York, spending his summers at the Manor House, 
and superintending the improvements on his estate. His 
son, Robert, succeeded him as the third proprietor, but lie 
had hardly come into possession before he began to be 
harassed by his eastern neighbors, the people of Massa 
chusetts. The western part of the manor, lying near the 

1 The veracious Judge Jones, in his History of New York, says with 
his usual accuracy when animadverting on his political opponents, that 
there were three hundred thousand acres. 


Hudson, had a considerable population. The portions 
lying distant from navigable waters were occupied more 
slowly, arid had few inhabitants. Massachusetts, by her 
charter, claimed the lands lying west of her eastern bound 
ary to the Pacific Ocean. She had long sought to make 
settlements within the province of New York. Now as 
her population increased she pushed them westward, 
and gradually encroached on lands within the limits of a 
sister province. 

In April, 1752, Livingston wrote to Governor Clinton, 
and entered complaint against the trespassers from Massa 
chusetts. A long correspondence bet\veen the governors 
of the two ^provinces followed, but settled nothing. The 
trouble continued ; legal measures were resorted to, and 
proclamations w r ere issued by both governors. Officers 
were sent to remove the offenders, and to arrest the most 
obnoxious. At one time, Livingston s officers and friends 
were arrested, and locked up in Massachusetts jails ; at 
another, Massachusetts officers were incarcerated at Al 
bany. The Legislatures of the two colonies were asked to 
interpose, and settle the boundary between the provinces. 
Committees were appointed, and conferences were held. 
A temporary boundary was proposed by New York, but 
rejected by Massachusetts. Arrests and imprisonments on 
both sides continued. Threats were made to take Living 
ston dead or alive. Riots followed, and one man was killed. 
The trouble extended all along the line. Van Rensselaer s 
Claverack Patent was involved, and his life was threatened. 
The sheriff of Albany, while in the discharge of his duties, 
was taken by a mob, and hurried off to the jail at Spring 
field. In 1756, a truce was called, and the combatants 
ceased their strife. The next year hostilities broke out 
afresh. A riot occurred, and two men were killed. Lieu- 
tenant-Governor De Lancey issued a proclamation for the 

282 RIOTS. 

arrest of the murderers. They were arrested and taken to 
the jail in Albany, where they were kept eighteen months 
without trial. They were never tried, but were exchanged 
for New Yorkers in Massachusetts prisons. After 1757, 
there was peace for five years. Meantime the Massachusetts 
men had involved in the quarrel the poor Stockbridge 
Indians, who were persuaded to claim the disputed terri 
tory as native proprietors, and sell their claim on the Liv 
ingston manor to those who sought to gain possession. 
After the sale and purchase were made, the old claimants 
with a new title formed a strong combination to gain pos 
session of the lands, and oust the legal proprietors. A riot 
followed their first attempt, in which several lives were lost. 
Lieutenant-Governor Golden now issued his proclamation, 
commanding "all his Majesty s subjects in the counties of 
Albany and Dutchess to render efficient assistance to the 
civil officers," for the arrest and conviction of the disturb 
ers of the peace. The claimants and rioters were in 
timidated, more perhaps by the bloodshed they had caused, 
than by the proclamation, and for a time there was com 
parative quiet. The fire was smothered, not quenched. 

In 1766, the riots, under the leadership of one Robert 
Noble, broke out afresh, and extended into the adjoining 
country. Noble resided in Claverack on lands belonging 
to the younger branch of the Van Rensselaer family. The 
sheriff of Albany was directed to arrest him ; but he was 
determined and desperate. After a severe struggle, in 
which two men were killed and seven wounded, he made 
his escape. This affair, however, had a tendency to put 
an end to the riots. Men s minds were soon occupied with 
more momentous affairs, and Livingston for many years 
was left in peace. 

The boundary between New York and Massachusetts 
was finally settled, and the claimants ceased their annoy- 


ance. The third proprietor possessed more than an ordi 
nary business capacity. He spared no labor or expense 
in the development of his property. Mills of various 
kinds were erected, churches were built, and immigration 
promoted. Iron ore was found ; works for its reduction 
and manufacture were established at Ancram, named after 
the first proprietor s native place in Scotland. 

The Revolution was approaching. The public mind 
was occupied with politics, and the questions involved 
raised new issues. Land titles ceased to be topics of dis 
cussion. The proprietors of the old manor, and all bear 
ing their name, with a few unimportant exceptions, took a 
decided stand in favor of independence. During the war 
that followed, and for some years after its close, their title. 
and possession of their broad acres were undisputed. 

But in 1795 another effort was made to dispossess them. 
The old methods of riots and arrests were abandoned. 
The title was now attacked by the tenants, incited and 
encouraged by the envious and disaffected. A petition, 
numerously signed by the tenants of the manor, was sent 
to the Legislature. They claimed that they were suffer 
ing in various particulars from the heirs of Robert Living 
ston, and prayed for relief. They referred to Dongan s 
patents, and alleged that they had been procured by false 
representations, but made no allusion to the confirmatory 
patent granted by Hunter. They affirmed that the lands 
procured by falsehood and misrepresentation rightfully 
belonged to the State, and asked the Legislature to insti 
tute proceedings for the recovery of the people s rights. 

The committee to which the petition was referred re 
ported adversely, and this was approved by the House on 
March 23, 1795. Three years later the proprietors u com 
piled a map from authentic sources and actual surveys," 
showing the topography, the location of farms, residences, 


churches, mills, and villages. The north line differs ma 
terially from that in the map of 1714. It is not straight, 
but at a point near the centre diverges to the north by a 
right angle for some distance, and thence east. 

After the failure of 1795 to break the title, there was a 
season of comparative quiet continued for nearly forty 
years. Then a combination was formed by the tenants of 
the old manorial estates, including those of large landed 
proprietors in other parts of the State, termed " anti-rent 
ers." It was a civil association with a military organiza 
tion. It was their purpose to resist the payment of rents. 
The tenants of the Van Rensselaer and the Livingston 
Manors, being the most numerous, were the projectors 
and leaders, giving laws and directions. The assistance 
of the courts was invoked by the landlords, but their man 
dates were disregarded, arid their officers resisted in the 
discharge of their duties. The military power of the State 
was brought into requisition. Collisions between the 
militia and the tenants occurred at different points, with 
out any serious results. Means were found by both parties 
to avoid rencounters in which blood might be shed and 
life endangered. Nevertheless the rents were not paid. 
Landlords and officers were intimidated by bands dis 
guised as Indians, and some property was destroyed. 
The anti-renters carried their grievances into politics, 
throwing their votes for the party which would give 
them the most favorable legislation. In 1844, they peti 
tioned the Legislature to set aside as defective the Van 
Rensselaer title, and put the tenants in legal possession of 
the farms they occupied. 

The petition was referred to the Judiciary Committee 
of the Assembly, the late Judge William Allen being chair 
man. Anti-renters of known ability were on the commit 
tee, and a favorable report was anticipated. But after a 


long and thorough investigation of the title, of the pedi 
gree of the three owners as the descendants of the first 
patroon, and of the facts, the committee unanimously re 
ported against the prayer of the petition. The report was 
affirmed by the House. This put an end to the combina 
tion, and to the anti-rent war, although resistance to the 
collection of rents in isolated cases, with bloodshed and 
loss of life, is still continued. 

The landlords, however, particularly the Livingstons, 
were tired of the strife. They adopted measures of com 
promise, selling to their tenants the lands they occupied 
at reduced valuations. Only small portions of the old 
manor now remain in the hands of Robert Livingston s 

Few men in the colonial days were more successful than 
Robert Livingston. A younger son of a poor exiled cler 
gyman, he came to this country with nothing but his hands 
and his brains on which to depend for future advancement. 
In less than a year after his arrival in Albany he was in 
possession of an office which gave, in fees, a respectable 
income. Other offices were created by Governor Dongan 
apparently for his sole benefit. The first, he held for 
nearly fifty years, when he resigned it with the others into 
the hands of his son. He was successful as a trader when 
he chose to invest in merchandise. As a government con 
tractor, none could compete witli him. By economy in 
his expenses, he accumulated money, and having money 
he had good credit with business men when he found it 
profitable to use it. On his manor he erected flour- and 
saw-mills, a bakery and a brewery. With these appliances 
he was thoroughly equipped for the subsistence of troops, 
or other bodies of men. He could furnish supplies cheaper 
and better than any of his contemporaries, and make more 
money. His prosperity made him the envy of competi- 


tors, who spared no pains to disseminate distrust and sus 
picion, so that government officials were ready at times to 
accuse him of peculation. Yet there is no evidence on 
record that he did not adhere to the letter of his agree 
ments. He was a fine penman, and a neat accountant 
The bills he rendered to the Government are specimens of 
neatness and accuracy. His great ambition was to secure 
an estate equal to the largest. He may have been pru 
dent to meanness, but that he was dishonest in his trans 
actions, is hardly possible. His motto seems to have been, 
" economy in expenses, honesty in business." By these 
means he obtained what he desired, an estate large for 
the times, which became within the next two or three 
generations the second largest in the State. His descend 
ants for some generations were as noted for their intelli 
gence, wealth and patriotism, as their ancestor was for his 

According to the record of his family Bible, Robert 
Livingston had nine children, five sons and four daugh 
ters. His eldest son, John, died young. Philip, his second 
son, succeeded him as the second proprietor of the manor. 
His third son, Robert, by his father s will, inherited thir 
teen thousand acres of the manor. His fourth son, Wil 
liam, died young. 

Philip Livingston, the second proprietor of the manor, 
married Catharine Van Brugh, a descendant of Anneke 
Jans. He succeeded his father in the various offices that 
he had held in Albany, and in 1725 was appointed by 
Governor Burnet to the Council. In 1710, he served with 
the expedition which captured Port Royal. After its re 
duction, he made an overland journey to Quebec with a 
French officer, as bearer of despatches. The journey was 
begun in the middle of October. They did not reach Que 
bec until the i6th of December, having endured great hard- 


ships, and for six days before reaching the French settle 
ments having lived on moss, leaves and berries. He was 
in public life from early manhood until his death in 1750. 
He died in New York, and was buried on the manor. His 
funeral was ostentatious and expensive, costing five hun 
dred pounds. 

Philip Livingston had five sons. Robert, the eldest, was 
the third proprietor of the manor. Peter Van Brugh, the 
second, was a merchant in New York City. John, also a 
merchant in New York, married a lady of French descent. 
His sons followed their mother s family in the Revolution 
to swell the ranks of the Tories. Philip, the fourth son, 
was loyal to his country, and was one of the signers of the 
Declaration of Independence. William, the fifth son, was 
the " war governor " of New Jersey during the Revolu 
tionary War. 

Robert, the third son of the first proprietor of the 
manor, resided on the estate which his father left him, at 
Clermont, Manor of Livingston. He had one son, Robert 
R., who was a Justice of the Supreme Court of the Colony. 
His son, Robert R., jun., was a member of the Second Con 
tinental Congress, Secretary of Foreign Aifairs, Chancellor 
of the State of New York, and Minister to France. 

Gilbert, fourth son of the first lord of the manor, was 
not so fortunate as his brothers. He became involved in 
debt at an early age, from which his father extricated him, 
and in his will bequeathed to him one-seventh part of the 
" Saratoga Patent." It was on this land that Burgoyne 
surrendered to General Gates, half a century later. The 
Rev. John H. Livingston, D.D., long a prominent clergy 
man in the Dutch Church, was his grandson. 

Among the descendants of Robert Livingston were sev 
eral men of eminence. Besides those mentioned above, 
was Brockholst Livingston, son of William, the governor 


of New Jersey ; Edward Livingston, brother of the Chan 
cellor, and several others. Few American families include 
so many men of eminence and celebrity. Certainly Rob 
ert Livingston founded an estate and family equalled by 
none in the State. None rendered more important ser 
vices to the national cause in the Revolutionary War; none 
were more efficient supporters of republican institutions 
after its close. 

Robert Livingston, jun., was the ancestor of another 
branch of the Livingston family. He was the nephew of 
Robert Livingston, the first proprietor of the manor, and 
came to Albany at the request of his uncle to assist him 
in his offices and business. He married, in 1697, a niece 
of his uncle s wife, Margareta, eldest daughter of Colonel 
Peter Schuyler. 1 After remaining in the service of his 
uncle until his cousin Philip was old enough to take his 
place, he began business as a merchant in Albany, and 
continued so until his death. He accumulated a consider 
able estate, which, with the property his wife received from 
her father, made him rich and independent. 

Like all Albanians of education and enterprise, he was 
more or less engaged in politics, almost as a matter of ne 
cessity. He was frequently employed by government in 
their negotiations with the Five Nations, and was one of the 
Commissioners of Indian Affairs from 1715 to 1720. He 
was delegated as agent of the governor to visit Canada on 
important public business. He was also commissioned at 
different times to hold negotiations with the Onondagas 
and Senecas in their own countries. In all these positions 
he transacted the business and performed his duties to the 
satisfaction of his official superiors. He was a member of 
the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Assemblies, from 1711 to 1715. 

1 The marriage license is dated July 26, 1697. 


In 1710 he was appointed, by Governor Hunter, Mayor of 
Albany. He held the office nine years continuously, a 
longer term but one than any other in colonial times or 

He did not have the ambition of his uncle to acquire a 
large fortune, or to hold public office. He was contented 
with a moderate income, and an independent position. 
His uncle was not altogether pleased with him on this ac 
count, and reproved him for his want of ambition. The 
uncle s family partook of the same feeling. On one occa 
sion, Samuel Vetch, a merchant of Boston, and a son-in- 
law of Livingston, senior, committed some business to him. 
Not hearing from him as promptly as he wished, he wrote 
him a sharp letter, beginning, " D r Cousin, my woife and I 
are equally surprised that we have not had a line from you 
this two months. . . . We entirely disobeyed my father 
and mother-in-law, by putting our business in your hands, 
which he says will be very ill-managed." Vetch closes his 
scolding letter very sweetly. He wishes him to write, giv 
ing him full particulars as to his business. He then re 
quests him to give him some information as to the state of 
the frontiers, and directs him in conclusion to address the 
letter to him, "for her Majesty s service, and send it to 
Westfield, whence it will be sent by express, (free of ex 
pense to him), your loving cousin, Sam 1 . Vetch." Vetch 
was a Scotchman. 

In 1719, after his long service in the mayoralty, Robert 
Livingston, jun., wished to retire. His father-in-law, 
Peter Schuyler, was then at the head of the government, 
and yielded to his request. He appointed Myndert Schuy 
ler, another friend of Governor Hunter, then in England. 
For this Schuyler was reprimanded at the instance of 
Hunter. In his reply he said, u I relieved him at his own 
request. I could not have had any other motive, for he 


is my son-in-law for whom I have a great affection ! " Bur- 
net, who succeeded Hunter, showed that his explanation 
was not satisfactory, by appointing another in the place of 
Myndert Schuyler. But two years afterward, when he had 
had time to become acquainted with the politics of the 
province, he reappointed Myndert Schuyler. 

Robert Livingston, jun., died in Albany, 1725, three 
years before the death of his uncle. His widow survived 
him more than twenty years. In his will, dated April 14, 
1725, he mentioned three sons, James, Peter, and John, 
and two daughters, Angelica and Janet. Angelica married 
John Van Rensselaer, of Claverack, whose daughter, Cath 
erine, became the wife of General Philip Schuyler. Janet 
married Colonel Henry Beekman, of Rhinebeck, and was 
deceased at the date of the will. 

James Livingston married Elizabeth Kierstede, and set 
tled in New York. He was a prosperous merchant. His 
eldest daughter married Peter R. Livingston, a son of the 
third proprietor of the manor. Another daughter married 
William Smith, the historian of New York, and Chief Jus 
tice of Canada after the Revolution. His son, Robert 
James, married a sister of the historian ; Robert James 
son, Maturin, married a daughter of Governor Morgan 

Peter, second son of Robert Livingston, jun., while on 
a trading expedition, was killed by the Seneca Indians 
near Geneva, New York, and left no descendants. 

John, the third son, married a daughter of General Abra 
ham Ten Broeck, of Albany. He resided for a time in 
Montreal, Canada. When the war of the Revolution com 
menced, he removed to Stillwater, New York, and prob 
ably resided on a portion of the Saratoga Patent allotted 
to his grandfather, Peter Schuyler. His son James raised 
a regiment composed of New Yorkers, then residents of 


Canada, and French Canadians, and joined the army of 
General Montgomery on his march to Quebec. He was 
at the battles of Stillwater and Bemis Heights, and re 
mained in the service until 1781, when his regiment was 
reduced. A daughter of Colonel Livingston married Peter 
Smith. She was the mother of the large-hearted man and 
philanthropist, the late Gerrit Smith, of Peterboro, New 

The descendants of the two Robert Livingstons, uncle 
and nephew, are very numerous, and widely scattered 
through the United States. By intermarriage it has be 
come difficult to distinguish one branch from the other. 


ABRAHAM ISAACS VERPLANCK, 1 the first American ancestor 
of the family, came to New Amsterdam at an early day, 
probably about the same time that Director Kieft arrived, 
in March, 1638. To the latter he gave a note for five hun 
dred and twenty guilders, dated May i, 1638. This is the 
first time his name appears in the records. It is possible 
that the note was given in consideration of a farm at Pau- 
lus Hook (Jersey City), which he bought of the West In 
dia Company, and parts of which he leased to others, in 
the following October, for tobacco plantations. A year 
or two afterward, not being prepared to pay the note, he 
induced two of his friends to go on his bond, and gave 
them a mortgage on the farm as their security. 

It does not appear that, during his long residence of 
nearly sixty years in the province, he held any public posi 
tion. He was with the expedition against the Swedes in 
1655, and was a witness to one of the Indian deeds on that 
occasion. He signed the petition of the^citizens to Direc 
tor Stuyvesant, in September, 1664, urging him to surren 
der to the English without resistance. With these excep 
tions his name is not found attached to any public paper. 
He did not seek to be a great landowner. Besides the farm 
at Paulus Hook, he had another on the Delaware of two 
hundred acres, and a lot in Smith s Valley, in New York 
City, on which he lived. He was not a man possessed of 

1 The name is also written Ver Planck, but more frequently in the early 
records simply Planck. 


a large property, and did not take rank with the rich men 
of New York. 

He married his wife, Maria Vigne, probably before he 
emigrated from Holland, for besides the six children bap 
tized in New York, the first in 1641, there were three older 
ones. Of the nine children, there were three sons and six 
daughters. One of his daughters married David Pieterse 
Schuyler, of Albany. One of the sons died young. Isaac, 
the youngest, married Abigail Uytenbogart, settled in Al 
bany, and had eleven children baptized in the Dutch 
Church of that city. Gulian, the eldest, after serving a 
term of years as clerk for Allard Anthony, a prominent 
merchant of New York, and another term with Peter Cor- 
nelise Van der Veen (whose widow married Jacob Leisler), 
commenced business for himself about 1661, and soon be 
came a prosperous merchant. Unlike his father, he en 
gaged in politics, He was appointed a schepen in 1673, 
and again in 1674, by the Dutch governor, Anthony Colvc. 
After the province was finally surrendered to the English, 
Governor Andros selected him as one of the aldermen of 
the city for three successive years, 1677-79. ^ n l68 3 tne 
city was divided into six wards, and the election of alder 
men was conceded to the freemen. Meantime, until the 
day appointed for the election, temporary officers were ap 
pointed by Governor Dongan, and Gulian Verplanck was 
selected as alderman of the North Ward. He died a few 
months afterward, while in his prime. 

Gulian Verplanck was married to Hendrickje Wessels, 
on June 20, 1668. According to the Verplanck family 
records, he had eight children, of whom only four are re 
corded among the baptisms of the Dutch Church, the 
youngest, Gelina, after his death. His eldest son, Samuel, 
married Ariantje, daughter of Balthazar and Maritje 
Lookermans Bayard, a grand-niece of Governor Stuyve- 


sant. His second son, Jacobus, married Margareta, young 
est daughter of Philip and Margareta Van Slichtenhorst 
Schuyler, of Albany, September 8, 1691. 

Jacobus Verplanck, with his bride, returned to his resi 
dence in New York. At the baptism of his only child, 
Philip, June 9, 1695, his step-father, Jacobus Kip, and his 
wife s sister, Mrs. Gertrude Schuyler Van Cortlandt, stood 
as sponsors. On June n, 1699, he and his wife were spon 
sors at the baptism of a child, and his name does not again 
appear. He probably died toward the close of that year, 
or early in 1700. His widow, with her young son, returned 
to her mother in Albany. 

Philip Verplanck married his second cousin, Gertrude, 
only daughter of Johannes, eldest son of Stephanus and 
Gertrude Schuyler Van Cortlandt. He was appointed en 
sign of a military company, February 27, 1722, and in Octo 
ber of the same year Governor Burnet made him sheriff of 
Albany County, which position he held one year. While 
sheriff, a prisoner, who had refused to pay a fine of ten 
pounds, escaped from jail. Two years afterward the Com 
mon Council of Albany directed their attorney to sue the 
late sheriff for the amount of the fine " and charges." In 
1724, one of his children was buried in the church, which 
place of sepulture was only accorded to tkose who were 
willing to pay a round price for the privilege. Four of his 
children were baptized in the church, the last, June 4, 1727. 

We next meet Philip Verplanck as a member of the Pro 
vincial Assembly, to which he was admitted, June 22, 1734, 
as the representative of the Cortlandt Manor. He retained 
the position continuously until 1768, an exceptionally long 
term of service. The manor by its charter was enitled to 
representation, but had not improved the privilege until 
Verplanck was elected. 

Stephanus Van Cortlandt, the first proprietor of the 


manor, by his will, April 14, 1700, devised to his eldest son, 
Johannes, "a Neck of land at the entering of the High 
lands, just over against Haverstraw, known by the Indians 
by the name of Moanagh," together with an equal share 
with his other children in the other lands of his manor, and 
of other property. It was to this splendid estate that 
Philip Verplanck removed his family from Albany, and 
made it his permanent residence. It was soon known by 
his name, which it retains to the present time. 


A LAW dictionary, printed two hundred years ago, bound 
in calf, in good preservation, not a leaf missing, on the title 
page of which is the name of John Collins written in two 
places, and now in the library of Mr. George Evans, of Al 
bany, contains the following records : 

" Memorandum. 

1701, November y e Second 1701, I John Collins was mar- 
ryed to Mrs. Margaret Verplanck wid w of Jacobus 
Verplanck, Daughter of Mr. Philip Schuyler. 

1704, July the thirteenth 1704 at 9 o clock in y e morning 
my son Edward was borne, and christened the thir 
tieth of D month, my Lord Cornebury Godfather, 
Marya Schuyler Godmother. 

1712, Novbr y e 26 th 1712, my Son Samuell was borne at 
seaven o clock in the morning, and christen d y e thir 
tieth day of same month, Colo. Richard Ingoldsby 
and Killian Van Rensselaer Godfathers, Sister Eliza 
beth Schuyler Godmother, and died y e 22 d December 

1715, December y e 12" 1715 my Daughter Margaret was 
borne at 3. o clock in the afternoon, and was chris 
tened y e 25" D. Robert Livingston Jun r Esq r God 
father, Alida Livingston, and Maria Van Rensselaer, 

April y e 13" 1728, my father John Collins died at his 
Majesty s Garrison of Schenectaday, he being then 
Commander of the same. 

1733, December the u" I Edward Collins, was married 


by Petrus Van Dryssen, Dutch minister, to Margaret 
Bleecker, only Daughter of Rutger Bleecker. 
1748, May y e 15" my mother, Margaret Collins, Dyed at 
about half an hovver past six in the morning." 

John Collins was a lieutenant in Captain Henry Hol 
land s company of the English army stationed at Albany. 
He retained his rank and position until his death. His 
duties were not laborious or confining, the routine drill 
and guard mounting being left to inferior officers. When 
detachments were ordered off on duty, he assumed com 
mand, and accompanied them. In 1711, he was in com 
mand of thirty soldiers who were despatched to the Liv 
ingston Manor to quell the riotous demonstrations of the 
Palatines. In various abortive attempts to invade Canada, 
he was with his company on the expeditions, and was in 
command of the fort at Schenectady when he died. 

With the profession of arms, Collins united that of the 
law. Early in 1703, he appeared in the courts as attorney 
of various litigants. On his first appearance, it was ques 
tioned by the court, whether he could legally represent 
his absent client without a power of attorney, which he 
was obliged to procure before he could proceed with the 
case. Thereafter he seems to have been recognized as an 
attorney in regular standing. His frequent appearance 
before the courts and juries would indicate that he was a 
man of ability, and that he had a large practice. His so 
cial position was assured in the best society of the city. 
He and his wife served as sponsors at the baptism of Pat- 
roon Van Rensselaer s children, on two occasions. 

Except as Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Collins held 
no important official positions. He was a member of the 
Indian Board from 1720 to 1728, having been appointed 
by Governor Burnet. His military office excluded him 


from a career as a civilian. Why he retained his subordi 
nate rank in the company occupying the fort is difficult to 
determine. His talents and acquirements, supplemented 
by influential friends and connections, were sufficient to 
place him in high positions in the government. He dab 
bled in land speculations, but only to a limited extent. The 
first and most valuable patent granted him was procured 
through his wife. The tract contained two thousand acres. 
It was situate on the north side of the Mohawk River, near 
the present village of Fonda, and was the site of the old 
Indian Village of Caughnavvaga. Its original inhabitants 
had been converted by Jesuit missionaries, and had fol 
lowed their teachers to Canada, where they settled, and 
became a scourge to their countrymen and their Dutch 
neighbors. The Indian deed for the land is in a volume 
labelled " Indian Deeds," in the office of the Secretary of 
State. It is quoted by W. L. Stone in his Life of Brant, 
for the purpose of proving that J3rant was a Mohawk In 
dian name fifty years before his hero was born. The deed 
is an interesting document in some respects. I quote it 
for a purpose other than that of Mr. Stone, to show that 
the Mohawks remembered their friends, and were not un 
grateful for friendship and favors : 

" To all Christian people ; know ye, that we, Hendrick, 
Cornelis, and Ezras, native Indian proprietors and owners 
of the Maquas country, in consideration of the love, re 
spect and affection, which we bear to Mrs. Margarett Col 
lins, youngest child of Mrs. Margaret Schuyler, late of Al 
bany, deceased, from whom in her lifetime we received 
great friendship and particular good services, and also be 
fore and since her death from the said Margarett Collins, 
her daughter, now wife of John Collins ... do give 
and grant to said Margarett Collins, and her son Edward 
Collins, to whom also (as her sonn) we bear great love and 


affection, all that tract of arable or meadow land lying on 
the north side of the Maquas River, from the creek called 
Yondutdenough Schase to another creek known by the 
name of Oghrecghhoonge with the said creek and the land 
thereto adjoining, and of the woodland twice as much as 
of the arable or meadow land," J etc. 

The deed is signed by the Christian Indians named, and 
by nineteen others, men arid women, among them one by 
the name of Brant with a wolf as his mark, and is dated 
July 10, 1714. 

A patent was issued by Governor Hunter on November 
4, 1714, to John Collins, Margaret Collins his wife, and 
Edward Collins his son, for two thousand acres, to each 
six hundred sixty-six and two-thirds acres. After John 
Collins death, his widow sold her portion to her son Ed 
ward, June 4, 1728, for the consideration of three hundred 
pounds. In the deed she describes her land as commonly 
known by the name of Collindale, or Cochniwaga. Years 
after, Collindale was dropped, and the old Indian name 

Collins was engaged with Cadwallader Colden and 
others in negotiations for other tracts of land in the Mo 
hawk country. A letter of his on the subject will bear 

"Albany, October y e i7th, 1722. 
" Sir, 

" Since you left us, my wife has been in the Indian 
country, and Van Slyck had purchased what he could at 
the upper end of the land, she purchased the rest from 
Ingnosedah to his purchase. She has gone through a 
great deal of trouble and hardship about it, being from 

1 Hendrick, the first name in the deed, was a convert of Dominie Dellius. 
He went to England with Colonel Schuylcr in 1710. He was killed in 
battle, under Sir William Johnson at Lake George in 1755. 


home almost ever since you left us, and prevailed with the 
Indians whilst there (with trouble and expense) to mark 
out the land where the mine is into the woods. Mrs. 
ffeathers has been slaving with her all the while, and had 
had enough to do with that perverse generation to bring 
them to any terms. I refer you to Mr. Van Home, to 
whom I have writ an account what we shall want from 
New York for these two purchases, and something more 
fully, tho not a word of marking into the woods for to 
secure the mine, his Excellency (Burnet), you know not 
being acquainted with that difficulty. Pray let us know 
what you have done about the patent for the first tract. 
My duty to his Excellency. My best respects to Mrs. Col- 
den, and dispose of me among the rest of our partners to 
the best advantage. 

" I am S r 

" Yr. very humble servt. 

" My wife joins with me in 
our respects to all friends 

The Ma c (Peter Van Brugh) 
will not give me leave 
to name particulars. 

" To Doctor Golden, one of the Gents, of his Majesty s 

"At New York, This." 

The words " our partners " give some foundation to the 
rumors which reached the English government, that Col- 
den, Surveyor-General and Lieutenant-Governor. was in 
terested in land speculations. It is but just to say that 
he solemnly denied the charges. It seems strange to us, 
in the light of the old records, how he could reconcile his 
denial with the facts. 

Collins son Edward was a lawyer, and a man of some 
enterprise and influence. He married Margaret Bleecker, 
daughter of Rutger Bleecker, Recorder and Mayor of Al- 


bany. He died in March, 1753, leaving no children. His 
widow, by will dated April 28, 1760, left her estate to her 
brothers, John R. and Jacob Bleecker. The lineage of 
John Collins and Margaret Schuyler in the direct line was 
extinguished with the death of their son Edward. Their 
daughter Margaret married Kitchen Holland, an English 
officer, at one time commandant at Oswego. They had 
three children. 

The fortunes of Philip Schuyler s youngest daughter, 
after the death of her first husband, were less conspicuous 
and brilliant than her sister s. Had she married for her 
second husband a civilian, and not an English subaltern 
officer, her life might have been more satisfactory, less of 
it spent among the Indians to secure their lands for her 
husband and his friends, and her name might have been 
perpetuated by families of fortune and influence. As it is, 
there is no one by the name of Collins to remember her, 
and it is quite doubtful whether she has any Verplanck 
descendants who know anything more of her than her 


LITTLE .is known of the early life of Peter Schuyler, the 
son of Philip Pieterse. While records and official docu 
ments furnish us abundant material for judging of his 
public career, the destruction of family papers leaves us 
in great ignorance of his private life. We know that he 
was born September 17, 1657, and that he was buried on 
February 22, 1724, having died two or three days before. 
We know that he was married twice : first to Engeltie 
(Angelica) Van Schaick, a daughter of his father s old 
friend and copartner in the new village at Esopus, and in 
the purchase of the Half Moon tract ; and secondly, in 
1691, to Maria Van Rensselaer, daughter of Jeremiah Van 
Rensselaer, the managing director of Rensselaerwyck. 
The date of his first marriage is not known, but is sup 
posed to have been in 1681 or early in 1682, for in De 
cember, 1682, he paid the church for the use of the small 
pall, 1 indicating that he had buried a child. 

We are without information, too, about Schuyler s 
schooling, education, and early pursuits. The early 
Dutch settlers in Albany had established schools, and 
Latin or grammar schools existed feebly in Manhattan. 
It was not until Schuyler was eight years old that the first 

1 The church kept two palls, one for adults and the other for children, 
charging ten guilders for the use of the large, and five guilders for that of 
the small one. 


English school was opened in Albany by John Shutte 
under a license from Governor Nicolls. English was, of 
course, made the official language after 1664, but Dutch 
continued for many long years to be the family tongue of 

In 1682 Peter Schuyler was already a deacon of the 
Dutch church, and in 1683 became its treasurer, positions 
which he held at intervals until the duties of his public 
and official life compelled him to withdraw from active 
participation in the church government. Over each page 
of his account book he inscribed the words Laits Deo. 
Among the receipts for May, 1683, we notice an item of 
three hundred guilders, given by his father Philip, and 
after his death one of ten guilders from Margaret Schuy 
ler for the use of the pall. 1 

1 The collections taken up in the church were for the poor, for whom a 
physician was employed at a stated salary. The yearly contributions were 
usually in excess of the expenditures, and the surplus was placed out at 
interest on good security. The receipts for 1683 were 55692 guilders and 
the expenses 2,651 guilders. Peter Schuyler turned over to his successor 
the following church property : 

12,073 guilders in money and obligations. 

2 cows, loaned out to poor members. 

i silver goblet, containing 16 pieces of foreign money, held as collateral 
for a loan of 200 guilders. 
10 ells of serge cloth. 

15 ells of bleached and unbleached Osnaburg linen. 
8 schepels of wheat. 
A list of the debts due the church. 

1 new pall, and 2 old ones. 

2 table cloths, and 7 napkins. 
2 silver cups. 

I earthen can with a silver lid. 

1 pewter, and I earthen can. 

2 pewter baisins, and I large pewter plate. 
I duster, and I scrubbing brush. 

The certificate of audit and inventory was signed by the pastor, Gideon 
Schacts, and co-pastor "Dell," or Godfrey Dellius. The treasurers of the 
church held office only one year. When their terms expired, their accounts 


Let us turn to Peter Schuyler s public career, and let us 
endeavor to find out from records and documents what sort 
of a man was this who was beloved by the Iroquois as Quidor 
(for Peter, pronounced Keedor), " the Indians friend," who 
was respected and feared by the French in Canada as one 
of the great obstacles to their schemes of conquest, who 
was known and appreciated both in England and New 
England, who has been called " the brave " by Bancroft, 
" the celebrated " by William Smith, who wrote a history of 
New York, only thirty years after his death, and who was 
termed by Drake " the Washington of his times," but whose 
memory has been overshadowed by the illustrious deeds of 
a kinsman, and who is now almost forgotten. 

As Peter Schuyler s fame rests chiefly on his success in 
dealing with the savages, a quality which has never been 
entirely lost in the family, it will be necessary to take a 
preliminary survey of the state of the province, and of the 
Indians with whom he had to deal. 

Albany was a frontier town. Between it and New York 
the only place of any consequence was Kingston. At 
wide intervals along the river were a few isolated 
farms. At the east the nearest village was Springfield on 
the Connecticut River. To the north for thirty miles 
farmers were here and there settled. At the west was 
Schenectady, a small village of agriculturists, poorly pro 
tected by palisades. The native tribes of Indians along 
the river, who were so numerous when Hudson sailed up 
it in 1609, were now reduced to a few wandering savages, 
of no consequence as enemies or friends. North, on the 

were examined, and if correct, a certificate of audit signed by the pastor 
and committee was attached. After a time the custom fell into disuse, and 
a treasurer was continued from year to year without an audit. This prac 
tice ruined the finances of the church. One of its treasurers, it was found, 
when too late, had used the funds for private speculations. 


east side of the Hudson, at the confluence of the Hoosac 
River, was a small settlement of eastern Indians, known as 
the Schaghticokes. Fleeing from their enemies at the 
east, they were permitted to find refuge in this province, 
and were thereafter treated as friends. Beyond them, 
there were no settlements of whites or Indians on this 
side of the St. Lawrence, except a small French fort on 
the river which forms the the outlet of Lake Champlain. 
The French, long before the English had begun their 
colonies, had discovered and explored the St. Lawrence 
River, had made a few settlements in Nova Scotia and on 
the main land and had built a fort at Quebec. They 
claimed the country south to the Kennebec River in 
Maine, and all the territory whose waters find an outlet 
in the northern lakes, and the St. Lawrence, by the 
right of discovery and occupancy. This claim, if allowed, 
would have extended their southern frontier into the heart 
of New York, and placed them as near neighbors to 
Albany. The English resisted the claim, and asserted 
their right to the country as far north as the St. Lawrence 
and the great lakes through a title derived from the Five 
Nations, or the Iroquois Confederacy. The dispute was 
not settled until the conquest of Canada in 1760, after a 
series of wars accompanied by much suffering and blood 
shed. It will be seen by a glance at the map, that the 
chief danger to Albany was from the French in Canada. 
They could secretly muster their forces at Montreal, and 
by a rapid march along Lake Champlain and down the 
Hudson could capture the frontier towns by assault, almost 
before they were suspected of being in the neighborhood. 
While the Dutch were in possession of the province, no 
attempt had been made to disturb them. The two nationali 
ties had preserved the peace, the one having no occasion to 
assert its claims to territory, the other contented to pur- 



sue its trade, and occasionally to rescue some French pris 
oners from the hands of the Indians. When the English 
gained possession, the old animosities between them and 
the French in Europe formed a new field for their exer 
cise. But Albany in its exposed position was never at 
tacked by the hereditary enemy of the English. It owed 
its safety to the Five Nations of Indians, known to the 
French as the Iroquois Confederacy. The English gov 
ernors acknowledged the fact. One said, "they are a bet 
ter defence than so many Christians ;" another called them 
" our bulwark;" another, "the only barrier between us 
and the French." The English governors were not alone 
in this opinion ; the governors of Canada gave similar 
testimony to the French government. 

The Five Nations were five distinct tribes of Indians 
under different names, but speaking the same language, 
and governed by the same unwritten laws and usages. 
They were united in a confederacy for war and mutual 
protection. They had no history except tradition handed 
down from one generation to another. The articles of 
their confederacy could only be learned by long acquaint 
ance with their customs. They asserted that their alliance 
had existed for ages. They were known to the Dutch and 
English as the Maquas or Mohawks, the Oneidas, the On- 
ondagas, the Cayugas, and the Senecas. By the French 
they were called by other tribal appellations, and grouped 
under the general name of the Iroquois Nations. 

In 1614, when the Dutch built their little fort on an 
island in the Hudson, and until 1630, the Mohawk nation 
occupied the valley of the Mohawk River, as far west as 
the German Flats ; the Oneida nation, the territory along 
the tipper Mohawk, including Oneida Lake ; the Ononda- 
ga nation, the country west of the Oneidas to the outlet 
of Cay uga Lake, and north to Lake Ontario the Cayuga 


nation, the country south and southwest of the Onondagas 
to the Susquehanna River, and to Seneca Lake ; the Sen 
eca nation, west of the Cayugas to Lake Erie, north to 
Lake Ontario, and south to the headwaters of the Susque 
hanna. They called their country the Long House with 
Two Doors, of which the eastern was kept by the Mohawks, 
and the western by the Senecas. In after years, they ex 
tended their limits in all directions by conquest, and were 
sovereign over a country of vast extent. Their Council 
House, or capital, was at Onondaga, and its fires were kept 
burning by the central nation. 

The Five Nations claimed to be an ancient people, but 
there is little to sustain the claim ; on the contrary, from 
the best information obtainable, we are led to the opposite 
conclusion. The Cayugas and Oneidas were termed by 
themselves the younger branches ; while the Mohawks, 
Onondagas, and Senecas, lived in what appeared to be old 
settlements, with villages protected by stockades. The 
Oneidas, in 1677, had but one town newly settled, and with 
little cleared ground. The Cayugas, at the same time, had 
three small villages, no one of which was stockaded. The 
Onondagas, Mohawks, and Senecas, claimed to be the 
oldest nations, but which of the three was the oldest was 
disputed. The Onondagas set up some pretensions to the 
honor, but it was not conceded by the others. 

They all probably originated from one tribe or family 
which had been driven out from its original home by 
stronger enemies, and had found a new home in Central 
New York. The lessons of bitter experience taught them 
that there was safety in numbers and unity. When their 
numbers became too large to be sustained in their particu 
lar district of country, a colony was detached to occupy 
some fertile places along the lakes and the watercourses 
in the vicinity, near enough to seek the protection of their 


old home if disturbed by enemies. Thus the work went 
on until the Long House was built, probably not much 
before the advent of the Dutch. Having sprung from 
one tribe, they united as one family for mutual protection 
from enemies, and when strong enough for war, they 
united to make their forays the more successful. In 
their manners and customs they differed but little from 
the other savage tribes of North America. They were 
savages in the fullest meaning of the word. They had 
no conception of a deity, no religious rites, and few super 
stitions. They had no schools, no idols, no altars. A sort 
of married relation existed, but no longer than suited the 
caprice or pleasure of either party. When they separated 
the children remained with the mother. They were not 
cleanly in their habits, their persons, or their dwellings. 
Their cooking was of the plainest kind, and their food un 
savory, oftentimes repulsive. Their women cultivated 
their corn and vegetables, and performed all the drudgery 
in house and field. The men devoted themselves to war 
or hunting, and when at home were idle and listless. Their 
knowledge of manufactures was limited. They made 
their bows and arrows, spears and war clubs, pestles to 
grind their corn, and stone axes. They were unacquainted 
with the use of metals. They knew how to dress deer-skins 
for moccasins, and furs for apparel. Their beads, or wam 
pum, used for money or ornaments, were procured by bar 
ter from the Indians of Long Island, where they were 
manufactured from shell-fish by a slow and tedious process. 
In winter, their clothing consisted of skins, furs, and moc 
casins, fastened together by vegetable fibres or animal sin 

The population was comparatively small for the extent 
and fertility of the country they occupied. The Dutch 
formed no estimate of the number. Their nearest approach 


to a census was in 1673, after they had reconquered the 
province. At a council of war held in New York, the 
delegates from Albany said: "A present is required for 
the Five Nations, consisting of ten castles (villages), a sum 
of 1,000 florins Hollands," that is, about ten pounds ster 
ling of that date, equivalent to $500 nowadays, for each 
castle. The villages were not large, and of course the in 
habitants were not numerous, 

The English and French estimates as to the number of 
their fighting men, or warriors, substantially agree. The 
governor of Canada in 1671, says, "the Iroquois Nations 
can turn out about 2,000 warriors." In 1677, an English 
man made an extended tour through their country, visit 
ing all the cantons. He estimated that the Mohawks had 
about 300 fighting men, the Oneidas 200, the Onondagas 
350, the Cayugas 300, the Senecas 1,000 in all 2,150. These 
were about the numbers as estimated by French and Eng 
lish governors at different times up to 1697, when Governor 
Fletcher said that the number had been reduced from 2,500 
to 1,280 by war and desertion. Four years later a French 
officer wrote : "The Five Iroquois Nations can muster only 
1,200 warriors at most." 

If these were approximately correct, the population, 
men, women, and children, could not have largely exceed 
ed fifteen thousand. If an ancient people, their popula 
tion should have been larger, notwithstanding the num 
bers lost in war. Such losses were recovered to some 
extent by the adoption of prisoners taken in battle a 
common custom. In 1713 they adopted an entire tribe, 
settled them on their territory, near Oneida Lake, and al 
lowed them to retain their tribal name the Tuscaroras 
from North Carolina. 

Their country was one of the finest in the world to sus 
tain a large population, even that of Indians. Its large 


extent of bottom land of a sandy loam was well adapted 
to their kind of cultivation, performed with sharpened 
sticks. Its numerous lakes and rivers afforded an abund 
ant supply of fish, and the forests abounded with game. 
For war or defence its situation and facilities were unsur 
passed. Its waters flow into the ocean by the Hudson 
River ; into the lakes on the north, and thence to the sea by 
the St. Lawrence ; into the Chesapeake Bay by the Susque- 
hanna ; and on the west, through the Alleghany River and 
its tributary streams, into the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. 
Through the lakes and rivers the Iroquois, in their light 
canoes, could easily reach any part of their Long House 
and concentrate their warriors to resist invasion, or to in 
vade the countries of their enemies. 

The Five Nations were, with rare exceptions, the only 
tribes of North American Indians who had united into a 
confederation. They thus were enabled to preserve 
peace between themselves, and with their united strength 
become almost invincible in war. They were considered 
by both French and English the bravest and most warlike 
nation in America. Like all other savages, they were 
cruel and barbarous. If they did not adopt their prisoners 
taken in war, they put them to death with horrible tor 
tures. In the end they usually burnt them at the stake, 
and sometimes ate them. 

Before the arrival of the whites they had been engaged 
in wars with other tribes, living at the north. When Hud 
son was exploring the river which bears his name, in 
search of a northwest passage, Champlain was on the lake 
which bears his name in company with some savages who 
were on the way to fight the Mohawks. It chanced that a 
party of the latter was on the lake in search of their ene 
mies. It was near nightfall, and the hostile parties, as if 
by mutual agreement, landed on the shore to wait until 


the morrow, and then engage in battle. Champlain s fire 
arms won the victory for his friends. Six years later, in 
1615, Champlain accompanied a large party of Huron 
warriors to fight their enemies, the Onondagas. After a 
long march from Lake Huron by rivers and little lakes, 
and across Lake Ontario, they came to the enemy s coun 
try. After a march of four days they approached an In 
dian town fortified by four rows of palisades, thirty feet 
high. Notwithstanding the firearms of Champlain and 
his party of Frenchmen, the attack was repulsed with loss. 
The invaders were discouraged and retreated to their own 

At this time the Five Nations were warlike and had 
enemies with whom to contend. There is no evidence, 
however, that they were superior in battle to others, or 
had yet entered upon a career of conquest. On the other 
hand, their country proper seems to have been confined 
to the territory already described. It did not even extend 
to the Hudson River below the mouth of the Mohawk. 
In 1626, a party of Mohegan Indians having a castle on 
the east side of the river opposite Albany, felt themselves 
strong enough to cope with the Mohawks. They crossed 
the river and marched into the Mohawk country, but were 
defeated. In 1630, Van Rensselaer s agents bought lands 
extending from the mouth of the Mohawk River twenty- 
four miles, down to Beeren Island, not from the Mohawks, 
but from the Catskill or Mohegan Indians. Soon after the 
Dutch settled on the river, the Mohawks were supplied 
with firearms in exchange for furs. The traders made a 
large profit on the guns and ammunition, and in Europe 
another large profit on the furs. They had no fear that, 
as long as they observed their treaty obligations, the 
weapons would be turned against themselves ; on the con 
trary, they obtained more furs and peltries. 


Thus through the Dutch traders the Five Nations were 
supplied with the weapons which had been so disastrous 
to them in 1609, and had well-nigh conquered their capital 
in 1615. They quickly learned to use them with skill, and 
were not slow in turning them against their enemies, find 
ing them as effectual in war as in killing game. They 
now entered upon a career of conquest and spoils. In a 
few years, the Indians on the Hudson River were sub 
dued, and paid tribute to their conquerors. Those of 
New England heard their fame, and feared their prowess. 
But the enemies whom they chiefly fought were the 
Hurons, the Algonquin tribes on the St. Lawrence, and 
their French allies. They had not forgotten their discom 
fiture on Lake Champlain. They were now prepared to 
take their revenge. The distance was great, but the way 
was comparatively easy. Through Lakes George and 
Champlain, and down the Sorel, they floated in their bark 
canoes. For food each man carried a little parched corn, 
and for the rest depended upon game they might kill on 
the way. Reaching the St. Lawrence, they would lay in 
ambush waiting for their prey, or float down the river to 
meet unguarded travellers. They were sometimes seen as 
low down as Quebec. By their frequent captures, and 
the torture of their prisoners, they soon became the terror 
of the river. No one outside the walls of fortified towns 
was safe. No party of voyagers hoped to reach its desti 
nation in safety unless guarded by a band of soldiers. 
Priests and traders, women and children, Indians and 
soldiers, were captured, and alike tortured and burnt. 
The spirit of their old enemies, the Algonquins, on the 
St. Lawrence, was broken, their warriors were killed, their 
tribes were scattered. They ceased to be an enemy to be 
feared, or longer worthy of attention. 

The Iroquois then turned upon the great Huron nation, 


Who occupied the country west of the lake that bears their 
name. They were a kindred race, but they were allies of 
the French. The Jesuits had flourishing missionary sta 
tions among them. They had several villages partially 
protected by stockades, and a larger population than the 
Iroquois. Their country was remote, and another large 
nation, called the Neutrals, lived between them and the 
Five Nations. The latter found means to conciliate the 
intervening tribe, that they might take no part in the war. 

There had been a state of \var between the two nations 
for some years. Small parties of the Iroquois had invaded 
the Huron country. On some occasions they had been 
successful ; at others they had been defeated. The time 
had now arrived, 1648, to strike a decisive blow. In the 
summer of this year a large war party destroyed two vil 
lages of the Hurons, taking many prisoners back with 
them to their country. Early in the following spring a 
thousand Iroquois warriors were among the Huron villages. 
They laid waste the country and forced the people to take 
refuge on an island in the lake. The next year the mis 
sions were abandoned, many of the priests having been 
killed in the invasion. The miserable remnants of a great 
Indian nation sought asylum under the walls of Quebec. 

The Neutrals, occupying a district of country along the 
northern shores of Lake Erie and Niagara River, were in 
their turn destroyed, or driven away. In 1655 the Eries 
living on the southern shores of the lake were attacked, 
their fort carried by assault, the people butchered, and the 
nation utterly destroyed. 

The Five Nations had now conquered a vast territory, 
extending north to the Ottawa River and Lake Superior, 
and west to the head of Lake Erie, which they claimed by 
right of conquest, and kept for their "hunting grounds." 
At the east, to the Connecticut River, the Mohegans were 


their tributaries. At the south their conquering progress 
was held in check, for a time, by the warlike Minquas, or 
Delawares, and kindred tribes living along the Susque- 
hanna River. Twenty years later these too were subdued, 
and a way was opened for the all-conquering Iroquois to 
the remote south. Their career of victory had not softened 
their manners or disposition. They had become more 
proud and haughty. But while pursuing their conquests 
over their savage neighbors, civilization was gaining its 
victories, and securing a position on the borders of their 
nation and conquered countries, which was destined in little 
more than a century to absorb the whole. The" French 
were pushing their way up the St. Lawrence with their 
semi-military colonization. The English in the east were 
extending their settlements northward and westward, 
crowding out their vassals. The Dutch were quietly gain 
ing possession of some of the best lands of this most war 
like nation, and thrusting their farmers into the heart of its 
country. Soon after the erection of the first Dutch fort in 
1614, near Albany, a treaty had been made between the pale 
faces and the natives, including the first of the Five Nations, 
and their relations had always since been amicable. When 
the English took the province, it w r as almost their first meas 
ure to hold a conference with the sachems of the Five Na 
tions, and make a treaty on the basis of that already exist 
ing. The first article of the new treaty stipulated that the 
Indians should have from the English the same "wares 
and commodities " that they had from the Dutch. 

From the time that the Five Nations had obtained fire 
arms there had been active hostilities between them and the 
French, with a brief interval or two of rest. The French 
had made various efforts to conciliate them. Missionaries 
had been among them. Presents had been sent to them. 
But no efforts had produced the desired result. The 


French now resolved on war and extermination. They 
held the Mohawks as the most responsible for the injuries 
which they and their Indian allies had received, because, 
except when the Hurons and other tribes in their vicinity 
were destroyed, the raids into Canada had started from the 
Mohawk River. Against them vengeance was first di 
rected. New France, as Canada was called, had been 
struggling for existence for a hundred years or more. 
It was now taken under the protection of the king, who 
sent out twelve hundred soldiers for its defence. 

Preparations were immediately made for an invasion of 
the Mohawk country. Distance and winter could not de 
ter them. M. de Courcelles, the newly appointed gover 
nor, with an army of five hundred men, began his march 
of three hundred leagues on January 9, 1666. Their route 
was over frozen rivers and lakes, and through a pathless 
wilderness. It was in the middle of a northern winter, 
with several feet of snow on the ground. Each man, offi 
cer and private, carried his own provisions and blankets, 
besides his arms. They had no tents, and at night they 
slept on the snow without a shelter. One cannot but ad 
mire their courage while condemning their folly. After 
a march of over thirty days, the little army, exhausted 
and with broken spirits, arrived near Schenectady. The 
advance, falling into an ambuscade prepared by the Mo 
hawks, was driven back with the loss of several killed and 
wounded. The army had not reached its destination, and 
there were many miles of weary marching before it. The 
repulse of the advance brought a halt to care for the 
wounded, and to hold a council of war. Meantime messen 
gers had been sent to Schenectady and Albany notifying 
the authorities of the enemy s presence, and a deputation 
came to Courcelles to learn the reason why he had invaded 
the territory of His Britannic Majesty in time of peace. He 


apologized for his intrusion on the ground that he did not 
know that the province had changed rulers. Fie was with 
out provisions, and procured a supply from Schenectady. 
His wounded were sent to Albany for care and nursing. 
He then began his march against the Mohawk villages, but 
soon turned northward. The army endured great suffer 
ings before it reached the friendly forts on the Richelieu, 
and had accomplished nothing, except to exalt the pride 
of the Mohawks, and make them more intractable than 

The result of this expedition was so unsatisfactory to 
the French that they determined to undertake another. 
M. de Tracy, the Lieutenant-General, a large and portly 
man, and nearly seventy years old, commanded in person. 
His army was composed of six hundred regulars, six hun 
dred militia, and a large force of Indian auxiliaries. Fort 
Anne, recently constructed on an island at the foot of Lake 
Champlain, was the base of operations. Courcelles, whose 
winter campaign had resulted so disastrously, led the van 
with four hundred men, and began his march four days 
before the main army was ready, as if animated with a de 
sire to retrieve his reputation. The lake was traversed in 
light batteaux and bark canoes, of which there were three 
hundred, carrying from five to six persons each. With 
music and banners the flotilla presented a picturesque ap 
pearance, such as never before had been seen in the soli 
tudes of America. Arrived at a point on the west side of 
the lake, now called Ticonderoga, they disembarked, and 
carrying their little vessels across the peninsula, launched 
them on the transparent waters of Lake St. Sacrament, now 
Lake George, from the head of which the army marched 
through an unbroken forest toward the Mohawk vil 
lages. Tracy had been secret in his preparations, and had 
hoped to take his enemies by surprise. But long before 


he reached his destination, he had been discovered by the 
Indians, whose scouts from the mountain-tops were silent 
spectators of the hostile array. On their near approach, 
the Mohawks, conscious of their inability successfully to 
oppose so large an army, forsook their towns and sought 
concealment in the forests. The French prepared to at 
tack the first castle they met on their line of march, but it 
had no defenders. They pushed on to the next, and found 
it deserted ; to the third, but found no enemy. At the 
fourth and largest all the warriors must have concentrated. 
On the French marched in battle array, prepared to invest 
the strongly fortified town. They were surprised at the 
silence within and without the walls. It was deserted like 
the rest. The unaccustomed noise of twenty French drums 
had frightened the simple natives more than the sight 
of the army. 

Tracy, unable to pursue the fleet-footed savages and 
hunt them in their hiding-places, burned the villages, 
took possession of the country in the name of France, and 
began his homeward march. He had incurred a large ex 
pense, and made a great display, but had accomplished 
nothing, except to arouse among the Mohawks a lasting 
determination for revenge. When Tracy started on his 
expedition there were sachems of two of the Five Na 
tions in Canada for the purpose of making a treaty of 
peace. War expeditions heretofore had been conducted 
through the Mohawk country. It was believed that the 
Senecas, Cayugas, and Onondagas took no part, and they 
were recognized more as friends than enemies. After 
Courcelles winter expedition the Senecas and Oneidas sent 
their sachems to Quebec, and before Tracy s inarch had 
come to an understanding with him. But in the spring of 
1667 peace was concluded with all the Iroquois nations, 
the Mohawks included. None knew better than the 


French how difficult it was to hold them to their prom 
ises. Subsequently hardly a year passed but suspicions 
were awakened as to their fidelity. In 1671 Courcelles 
made a fatiguing journey to Lake Ontario with a consid 
erable force for the purpose of overawing them. His 
successor, Count de Frontenac, in 1673, made a similar 
journey, and at Cadaracqui (Kingston) met sixty of the 
Iroquois sachems, and renewed the treaty. By an elo 
quent speech and large presents he procured leave to 
erect a fort on the spot where the conference was held. 
Frontenac knew better how to manage Indians than any 
other governor of New France. During his term of of 
fice ten years Canada was not molested by the forest 
warriors. The treaty stipulations were well observed by 
both contracting parties. Meantime the warlike Iroquois 
carried their arms to the south and west, subduing tribe 
after tribe. They extended their conquests to the Illinois 
and Ohio Rivers, down the Mississippi, and south almost 
to Florida. With their Dutch muskets they conquered an 
empire of large extent. 

Count de Frontenac was succeeded by a man remark 
able for large promises and disappointing performances 
a man of inferior ability, of little or no tact, and ignorant 
of the Indian character. After Frontenac s departure it 
soon became evident to the Canadians that the Iroquois 
had forgotten their engagements, and were prepared for 
open hostilities whenever occasion was given ; in truth, 
that they were -neither allies nor friends, and that there 
could be no permanent peace until they were effectually 
subdued or wholly destroyed. 

M. de la Barre, now military governor, shared these 
sentiments, and prepared for the work of subjugation or 
destruction. He alleged in justification of his proposed 
invasion of the Seneca country, that the " Senecas had 


plundered seven hundred canoes belonging to French 
men, and had arrested fourteen of the latter whom they 
detained as prisoners nine days." He left Quebec on July 
9, 1684, with three hundred men, and at Montreal he was 
joined by another detachment of two hundred and fifty, 
and by a large body of Indians. At Fort Frontenac 
(Kingston) he detached a part of the army to take position 
at La Famine on the south side of Lake Ontario, which 
he soon after joined with all his forces. This was in the 
country of the Onondagas, and a long distance from the 
Senecas. Here he was met by some Iroquois sachems, 
none of whom were of the nation against whom the ex 
pedition was directed. They succeeded in detaining him 
on various pretexts until his provisions began to fail and 
sickness to appear among the troops, when, despairing of 
reaching his destination, he made a treaty of peace and 
left the country. By the officers of the army he was con 
sidered a failure. "The army," says another official, 
" consisted of nine hundred French and three hundred 
savages. Another force of six hundred men from the 
west was on the march to join him. Besides these a thou 
sand Illinois were on the way to attack the Iroquois in 
rear. Yet nothing is done. The peace he made has as 
tonished all the officers and men, who have manifested 
much displeasure and a supreme contempt for the gen 

Governor Dongan of New York had protested against 
this expedition of De la Barre as a trespass upon the ter 
ritory of his royal master. He had been instructed to 
protect the Five Nations, but to preserve the peace be 
tween his government and New France. When the Sene 
cas heard of the intended invasion they appealed to him 
for assistance. Under his instructions the only aid he 
could render them was to furnish ammunition, and write 


to the French governor warning him not to break the 
peace between the two countries by attacking the subjects 
of the English king. To the warning De la Barre gave 
no attention, because he asserted that four of the Five 
Nations at least had placed themselves under French 
protection, and were occupying territory belonging to 

The French had extended their explorations of the con 
tinent far to the west, and at various important points had 
built forts, and had made alliances with the Indian na 
tions. They were laying the foundations of a vast empire 
in the western hemisphere, and could not be delayed in 
their progress by a few native warriors. They considered 
the English themselves as intruders in the country which 
they had discovered, and that, if allowed to remain, they 
should be confined to a narrow strip of coast along the 
Atlantic. The English were firmly seated in New Eng 
land and Virginia, and had acquired all the rights of the 
Dutch to the country lying between those colonies. 
True, the conception of an extended empire beyond the 
Atlantic had not yet penetrated the English mind, but 
with their usual policy of holding fast to all they got, the 
English were not disposed to surrender any territory or 
any advantage they had secured. It was apparent to their 
governors and other officials in New York that the safety 
of the province depended largely on the fidelity of the 
Five Nations to their interests. 

The Indians were quick to discover the rivalries and 
jealousies between their two European neighbors, and 
that they were claimed by both as subjects and vassals. 
While they emphatically repudiated fealty to either, their 
policy was to make the most for themselves from the situ 
ation. Presents from the one were quite as desirable as 
presents from the other, especially if the presents were 


guns and ammunition. They swayed from one to the 
other, and on some occasions had delegations of sachems 
at Albany and Quebec at the same time. Whichever gave 
the largest present secured for the time being their prom 
ise of fealty and allegiance. In the wars which sprang up 
in Europe and extended to the colonies they attached 
themselves to the most successful, and yet pursued a 
policy not to offend, if possible, the unfortunate. They 
played the one against the other, while they reaped ad 
vantages from the stipends each conferred, and were se 
cure from their aggressions. 

It was the policy of the English to hold the Five Na 
tions attached to their interests, as a bulwark against the 
encroachments of the French, and as a means of securing 
trade. The place appointed for holding conferences was 
Albany, as midway between the capital of the province, 
where the governor resided, and the villages of the Sene- 
cas, the western nation. Here the sachems of the Five 
Nations came to confer with the governor on all questions 
relating to their common interests, or in his absence with 
his representatives. These conventions were held on 
the requisition of either party. Generally the governor 
would call them by sending messengers to the Indians, an 
nouncing that he would be in Albany on a certain day, and 
requesting the sachems to meet him. Sometimes, how 
ever, the sachems would demand a conference on an ap 
pointed day, to which a willing assent was usually given. 

It was the policy of the French to conciliate the Five 
Nations, and to detach them from their English alliance, 
so that their own intercourse and trade with the western 
nations would not be interrupted, and that no opposition 
would be offered to the extension of French dominion. 
For this purpose, Montreal was appointed as the place to 
meet them in council instead of Quebec, the capital, al- 


though Quebec was chosen whenever it suited the conven 
ience of the governor. Priests were sent to instruct the 
Indians in religion and to influence their councils. If in 
this way they could not be won over, then they were to be 
conquered or destroyed. 

It became the policy of the Indian confederacy to derive 
all the advantage possible from their European neighbors 
by submitting themselves to each in turn, while maintain 
ing their independence of both. The French governor 
they called "Father," and the English governor "Corlaer." 
The English and Dutch were their u Brothers." Yet they 
insisted that they were the "oldest nation " on the conti 
nent, and that both Father and Corlaer should yield them 
precedence. The Albany and Montreal council fires were 
relighted at each conference, but their own at Onondaga 
was always burning. The Englisk were their near neigh 
bors, and furnished them with supplies whenever required. 
It was a long and dangerous journey to Montreal, and 
goods were dear. From the English they would often re 
ceive large gifts, which were easily distributed among their 
people. The French bestowed presents more sparingly, 
which were conveyed home with much labor and risk. On 
the whole, they were more inclined to Corlaer and the 
Brethren, than to their Father, and when circumstances 
obliged them to choose between the two, they usually at 
tached themselves to the English. 

At Albany, while the province w r as Dutch, Indian affairs 
were managed by the magistrates and the leading men of 
the colony. After the English occupation, they were man 
aged for some years in the same way, although the gover 
nors had a supervising control. In Canada, Indian affairs 
were in the hands of the governor, whose only assistants 
were the Jesuit missionaries. In one respect he had an 
advantage over the governor of New York. He had a 


larger force of regular soldiers, and could, when required, 
compel all the men of the province able to bear arms to 
join the ranks. On occasion he could assemble an army 
large for the time and the country. The Indians were 
awed by a display of numbers giving an impression of 
power. On the other hand, the governor of New York 
had only three or four companies of regulars, sufficient 
only to garrison the forts. When he required a larger 
force, he could procure it by enlistments alone. The Eng 
lish government, unwilling to bear the expense of even a 
regiment, left the people of the colony to protect them 

From the preceding pages the reader may form some 
idea of the situation of the country when Peter Schuyler, 
at the age of twenty-seven years, began to take an active 
part in public affairs. - His abilities, and his fitness for the 
duties imposed upon him, were appreciated by Governor 
Dongan, by whom, in March, 1685, he was appointed 
lieutenant of cavalry in the militia of Albany, from which 
in a few years he rose to the rank of colonel, the highest 
grade conceded to a native New Yorker. It will be well 
to bear in mind that the officers of the militia, whatever 
their rank, were subordinate to the commandant of the 
fort, although he might be only a lieutenant of the regular 
forces. A month later, Peter Schuyler was appointed by 
Governor Dongan Judge of the Court of Oyer and Ter- 
miner, for the term of one year, and in the following Oc 
tober, a justice of the peace. On July 22, 1686, Albany 
was incorporated as a city, and Peter Schuyler was ap 
pointed its first mayor. By the charter the mayor and 
aldermen were authorized to hold a court for the trial of 
offenders against the laws. As a specimen of the punish 
ments inflicted in those days, the following will serve. 

A negro slave had broken into the house of the Lu- 


theran minister and stolen a box containing the poor fund. 
He was arrested, and confessed his guilt. The court, "con 
sidering how evil consequence it is and bad example it is 
for y e negers, have ordered y e s d neger to be whipt throw 
the towne att y e cart tale by y e hands of y e hangman forth 
with, as an example to oy rs , and his master to pay y e 

Peter Schuyler, as mayor of Albany, was chairman of 
the Board of Commissioners for Indian Affairs. In the 
absence of the governor, the commissioners received dele 
gations of Indian sachems, and advised with them on all 
topics relating to their common interests. In all their in 
tercourse they were guided by the governor s instructions, 
and communicated to him the matters considered in con 
ference, as well as all important news from the Indian 
country. Much depended upon the wisdom of the board 
whether the Five Nations were held to a faithful observ 
ance of their engagements as friends of the English, or 
became indifferent and drifted to the French. Although 
Albany was remote from the capital of New France, yet, 
by means of spies and Indians, the board was kept in 
formed of the intentions of that government relating to 
matters affecting themselves or their allies, the Five Na 
tions. It was difficult for either colony to keep their state 
secrets. In and about Albany were settled several French 
Huguenot families who had been expelled from Canada 
because they were Protestants, or who had voluntarily 
escaped from the severe military discipline. Some of 
these persons still held communication with residents of 
that province. It was suspected that certain individuals 
were not what they appeared, but were paid informers. 
On the advice of the Jesuit missionaries, a large section of 
the Mohawk nation had removed to Canada, and had taken 
a permanent residence there. In time of peace, and some- 


times in war, they informed their old friends of French 
designs. Such information was usually made known to 
the governor of New York, or to the magistrates of Al 
bany. By such means the government of each province 
had speedy intelligence of the designs of the other. 

De la Barre proved a failure as an executive officer. 
When the news of his barren expedition against the Sene- 
cas reached France, the king kindly wrote to him that his 
years did not permit him to support the fatigues insepa 
rable from his office, and that he had therefore selected 
Monsieur de Denonville to serve in his place. The Mar 
quis de Denonville arrived in Canada in August, 1685. 
His instructions required him to secure a solid and lasting 
peace with the Iroquois, and for this purpose he was to 
use force, if necessary, to humble their pride. Looking 
over the situation, he soon came to the conclusion that 
force must be used, for they are "insolent and haughty, 
and by their insults to the Fretich they will soon give oc 
casion to punish them." Dongan was early informed of 
his disposition, and wrote him a friendly letter of warning, 
not to attack the subjects of his king, nor to build a fort 
at " Niagara within my master s territories." To this letter 
Denonville made a courteous and complimentary reply, 
but in writing to his minister he complains of the Eng 
lish for furnishing arms and ammunition to the Iroquois, 
and says that he finds it expedient in his correspondence 
with Dongan to dissimulate, because he is not in a condi 
tion to be angry. He suggests a remedy for the evils to 
which Canada is exposed by reason of the Iroquois, who 
were so uniformly supported by the English. If some 
arrangement could be made by purchase or exchange to 
give France possession of the province of New York, it 
would then be easy to control these warlike nations, or 
utterly to destroy them. 


Later, he wrote to the prime minister that he had be 
come convinced that war was an absolute necessity for the 
safety of Canada, and for its trade with the far Indians, 
but was fearful that the great expense to be incurred 
might prove an insuperable obstacle. He was frank, and 
stated the difficulties of the undertaking, as well as the 
large force it would require. After all, he might invade 
the Indian country and destroy their villages, but might 
not be able to conquer them, because they could retreat 
to the vast forests, where it would be impossible to hunt 
them. But, besides the interests of trade and the glory of 
France which demanded it, war was absolutely necessary 
for the sake of religion, " which can never spread except 
by the destruction of the Iroqtiois." 

His arguments were convincing, and his plans for a 
campaign against the Senecas were approved by the king, 
who expected to learn "before the close of the year (1687) 
of the entire destruction of those savages." If he made 
any prisoners, they were to be sent to France to work in 
the galleys. 

Denonville now hastened his preparations for the inva 
sion of the Seneca country. On June 7, 1687, there was 
mustered in the camp on St. Helen s Island, near Montreal, 
an army consisting of 832 regulars, 1030 militia, and 300 
domiciled Indians, 1 in all 2162 men. A detachment was 
sent off in advance of the main army to Fort Frontenac, 
to surprise and capture some Iroquois who were living on 
the north shore of Lake Ontario in peace and friendship 
with the French, if not under their protection. A large 

1 These were Indians of various tribes, among them some Mohawks and 
others of the Five Nations. They were converts to the Roman Catholic 
faith, but lived in villages of their own. In habits and practices they were 
little changed from their old state of barbarism. They were as savage and 
cruel us their unconverted countrymen. 


number of men, women and children were seized without 
resistance, and thrust into prison. These were the only 
prisoners taken on the expedition. In accordance with 
the king s instructions, fifty of them were sent to Quebec, 
baptized, and then sent thence to France to become galley- 
slaves. This was an act of treachery and baseness hardly 
to be equalled by their savage enemies. It was not for 
gotten by the Iroquois. In after years they made fearful 

Denonville and his main army, after almost incredible 
hardships in ascending the river, arrived at Frontenac, 
July i. He now received the welcome intelligence that 
1 80 French and 400 Indians from the western posts and 
mission stations had arrived at Niagara, and were impa 
tiently waiting the command to march. The same letters 
gave another item of news, which was nearly as gratifying 
as the first that on their way down they had captured two 
parties of English traders sent out by Governor Dongan 
to trade with the Indians of the upper lakes, and had con 
fiscated their goods. Although it was a time of peace be 
tween England and France, Denonville held that these 
parties were trespassers on French territory and rights, 
and that it was perfectly justifiable to employ war meas 
ures for their own protection. But he pleaded, in justifi 
cation, that Dongan had furnished the Senecas with guns 
and ammunition. 

On July 4th, the army broke camp at Fort Frontenac, 
and began its march for the Seneca country. The route 
was across the lake to La Famine, and thence along the 
southern shore to Irondequoit Bay, where it arrived on 
the 1 2th. The French and Indians from Niagara joined 
it on the same day. 

Denonville was now at the head of an army of nearly 
three thousand men. Surely the force was large enough 


to conquer an enemy who at the most could place in the 
field less than twelve hundred warriors. Some days were 
spent in constructing a fortified camp, in which four hun 
dred men were stationed to protect the boats and canoes. 
On the 1 2th the army took up its line of march through 
the forest for the Seneca villages. The next day the 
French fell into an ambuscade, and were rather roughly 
handled. The general ordered a halt for the day. On the 
i5th he reached the first village, and found it deserted, 
except by an old man, whom they made a prisoner. He 
was conducted before Denonville for examination, after 
which he was turned over to the priest for baptism, and 
then " knocked on the head." Several days were spent 
destroying corn, new and old, estimated to amount to 
one million two hundred thousand bushels ! Seeing no 
enemy, and unable to follow them in the forests, the army 
returned to the lake. The four hundred men left in camp 
were alive and well, to the great joy of the general, 
who had feared that they might have been routed and 
destroyed. Denonville sailed from Irondequoit for Niag 
ara, where he formally took possession of the country, 
and erected a fort in which he left a garrison of 100 men. 
Returning, he reached Montreal on August i3th. The 
" Senecas were badly frightened," is the substance of his 

Shortly after Denonville made his report, he again wrote 
to the French ministry that although the pride of the 
Senecas was humbled, the safety of Canada was not as 
sured. It was now necessary to prepare for another cam 
paign against the Onondagas and the Cayugas. Were it 
not for the English this would be unnecessary, but by sup 
plying the Iroquois with guns they were the greatest ene 
mies to the peace and prosperity of the province. He 
again urged his government to gain possession of New 


York by exchange or conquest, and blocked out a plan for 
its capture in time of war. 

The campaign of Denonville was not barren of results. 
He had invaded the Iroquois country to humble them, and 
bring them to terms. He had only awakened their wrath 
and passion for revenge. They were not humbled or 
weakened. The confederate nations joined the Senecas 
in prosecuting the war. They swept the lakes and rivers. 
The French trade was annihilated. Early in September 
some Mohawk sachems came to Albany and reported that 
a party of two hundred and eighty men of the Five 
Nations had been out against the French at Fort Fron- 
tenac, when they had burned the buildings outside the fort 
and taken five prisoners. They had waylaid some French 
canoes on the river, and had killed eight men. They had 
taken four prisoners, and had caused such a panic that a 
number had thrown themselves into the river, and had 
been drowned. A few days later it was reported that more 
prisoners had been taken, and that some were being tor 
tured to death by the Mohawks, as was customary. Peter 
Schuyler immediately hastened to their relief. He suc 
ceeded in rescuing one poor man from the jaws of death. 

The Iroquois invaded the island of Montreal in No 
vember, and killed five farmers there, and others in divers 
places. They spread themselves in all directions, burning 
and killing, so that there was no safety outside the forts. 
They became so bold that a party of twenty attacked a 
fleet of canoes under a convoy of one hundred and twenty 
men, and after killing several, put the others to flight. 
They were here, there, everywhere, killing, scalping and 
burning. The garrison in Fort Niagara was forced to 
abandon it for want of supplies, and few of the one hun 
dred men reached a place of safety. The French were 
reduced to a state of helplessness. Denonville tried in 


vain to negotiate a peace through the missionaries. He 
was in no condition to resume the offensive by an invasion 
of the Onondaga country, as he had purposed, and spent 
the year 1688 in efforts to secure a peace with the ene 
mies he had determined to subdue or destroy. 

In 1689 the Iroquois, to the number of 1500 men, in 
vaded the Island of Montreal, and laid waste the country 
up to the very gates of the fort, taking many prisoners. 
Many of these were tortured and killed in their usual 
barbarous manner. A detachment of eighty Frenchmen 
were sent to occupy a fort, where protection could be 
given to the neighboring farmers. They were defeated 
by the Indians, and utterly destroyed. Three months later 
the Iroquois made a descent on the Island of Jesus, oppo 
site Montreal. They burned the houses, and captured all 
but two of the inhabitants. In these campaigns the In 
dians destroyed a large amount of property, killed two 
hundred of the people, and took one hundred and twenty 
prisoners. The French were in consternation, and worn 
out with incessant labor and watching. When at the 
lowest depths of despondency, their spirits were revived 
by the arrival of their old governor, the Count de Fron- 

Immediately after Denonville s expedition against the 
Senecas, in 1687, there was much uneasiness in Albany, 
lest the French, flushed with their victory, such as it was, 
should turn against the place which had given aid and 
comfort to their enemies. There were rumors that they 
were preparing to invade the province, for the purpose of 
punishing the English and Dutch, to whom they attributed 
their failure to humble the Iroquois. It was known that 
Denonville was urging his king to demand of King James 
the recall of Dongan, and by purchase or exchange to gain 
control of the province of New York. It was also known 


that if New York could not be secured by such means, 
plans had been carefully considered to take it by force. 

Peter Schuyler. as mayor of Albany, was chairman of 
the Board of Commissioners for Indian affairs, and as 
such, in the absence of the governor, he conducted all 
negotiations with the Five Nations and other Indians. 
To him any news from Canada was first communicated, 
and he transmitted it to the governor at New York. Early 
in September of this year, two Frenchmen, then residents 
of Albany, returned from a visit to Canada, and gave in 
formation which was considered so important, that one 
of them, Antonie Lespinard, was sent direct to Governor 
Dongan for examination. Among the items of news was 
one of startling import, that the French were prepared to 
make a winter expedition against Albany, and were de 
termined to take and burn it, because of the assistance the 
people were giving to the Senecas. 

Shortly afterward he wrote to the governor : " The va 
rious reports which come daily to us, as to the intentions 
of the French, induce us to look after our safety." The 
situation was so critical, that some of the more timid 
among the people were preparing to leave for a place of 
greater security. The removal of able-bodied men would 
leave those who remained less able to protect the place. 
The mayor therefore urged the governor to prohibit such 

Dongan was induced by such reports to spend the win 
ter in Albany, and to strengthen the garrison with 200 ad- 

1 Antonie Lespinard probably came from Canada to Albany, where he 
resided several years. He had a son in school in Canada, and on this oc 
casion had been to visit him. He seems to have been well known to 
Denonville, with whom he had several confidential interviews. He re 
moved later to New York, which he made his permanent residence. After 
his death his widow sold his real estate in Albany. Lispenard Street, 
New York, preserves his name and memory. 


ditional men. For a further protection he would induce 
the Five Nations to station 500 of their men in the vicin 
ity. He said, " I will do what is possible to save the gov 
ernment." These timely precautions were soon known 
in Canada, and the French were not so eager for their 
threatened winter raid. Meantime the Mohawk and On- 
ondaga sachems had a conference with the mayor, the 
one protesting that they were for war against the French, 
the other intimating that their hearts began to weaken. 
Both parties were well pleased with the presents they 
received, as well as with the assurance, that the governor, 
with the garrison of New York, would spend the winter on 
the frontiers. Their hearts grew stouter, and their resolve 
to continue the war bore the fruit we have seen on the 
St. Lawrence River during the autumn. 

Governor Dongan seems to have understood the situ 
ation of the province he was appointed to govern better 
than any of his predecessors. He had learned to know its 
value, and its future promise, provided the country of the 
Five Nations was included in its limits. In his corre 
spondence with the home government, he had shown that 
the Five Nations had placed themselves under the Eng 
lish, and if their territory w r as to be preserved, they must 
be protected from the French. His representations had 
at last made an impression, and he received instructions, 
dated November 10, 1687, to afford them all needful as 
sistance and protection. He was also directed to give 
notice to the governor of Canada, that King James, "after 
mature consideration, had thought fit to own the Five 
Nations or Cantons of Indians, and to protect them as his 
subjects." He was to warn the people of Canada not to 
molest them ; and if they did not heed the warning, but 
persisted in their invasions, he should resist them by force 
of arms. 


Commissioners were appointed by the English and the 
French governments to settle the boundaries between 
New York and Canada. They could not agree, except to 
recommend a suspension of hostilities until more definite 
information was procured. The question as to which the 
country of the Five Nations belonged was still an open 
one. The French claimed it, and, taking advantage of the 
doubt, did not cease to claim it, and held themselves at 
liberty to assert their jurisdiction by renewed efforts to 
subdue their refractory subjects. Believing that Dongan 
was the main obstacle in their way, they solicited the king 
to demand his recall. If he were removed, they imagined 
that they could settle the boundary question by the com 
plete subjugation of the Iroquois, when, as their succes 
sors, they would have an open way to deal with their Eng 
lish enemies in Albany and New York. King James was 
under obligations to Louis XIV. of France, and when the 
demand was made for the recall of the wise and energetic 
Dongan, he yielded a ready assent. On April 22, 1688, 
the order directing him to turn over his government to 
Sir Edmond Andros was approved by the king. As a 
solace to Dongan s spirits, he directed him to repair, as 
soon as convenient, to his royal presence, when he would 
receive " marks of royal favor and assurance of satisfac 

The New England colonies from their first settlement 
had governed themselves according to the terms of their 
several charters. They were little republics, choosing 
their own officers and making their own laws. The ar 
bitrary James II. had a few years before cancelled their 
charters, and consolidated them under one government, 
known as the " Dominion of New England," of which he 
appointed Sir Edmond Andros governor. New York and 
New Jersey were united to the Dominion in April, 1688. 


Although James sought to conform his kingdom to the 
French model, and was a great admirer of Louis XIV., he 
was not willing to surrender any of the territory to which 
he had a just claim in order to swell the possessions of 
France. He accordingly instructed Andros to defend the 
Five Nations, as the subjects of England, from French en 
croachments, and to use force if necessary. 

Andros arrived in New York on August n, 1688, and 
wrote to Denonville at once, demanding the release of the 
prisoners, both English and Indians of the Five Nations, 
whom he claimed, according to instructions, as subjects of 
his king. In September he held a conference with the 
sachems of the Five Nations at Albany, which resulted in 
drawing them still closer to the English interests. The 
Indians complained that their friends who were prison 
ers in Canada were not surrendered, and were reluctant 
to give up the French who were in their hands until a 
mutual exchange had been arranged. Further, they came, 
with " tears in their eyes, lamenting that the French had 
treacherously stolen several of their people, and sent them 
to France." 

Andros hastened his return to New York, leaving Peter 
Schuyler in charge of the Indian Department, to the du 
ties of which he gave much of his time and attention. His 
agents among the Five Nations kept him informed of all 
that happened among them. One, writing from Onon- 
daga, relates the difficulties he had met with while trying 
to induce that nation to send their sachems to Albany to 
meet the the governor. A Jesuit missionary had resided 
at Onondaga some years, and had acquired great influence 
with them. He induced a considerable number to incline 
to the French, and exerted all his influence against send 
ing a deputation to Albany. The nation was divided in 
council, and at first was inclined to listen to the advice of 


the priest, but was finally persuaded to send chiefs to meet 
the governor. After their return the nation again swung 
over to the English. Schuyler s correspondent wrote, De 
cember 28, 1688, that the Five Nations had agreed to make 
another hostile expedition with 900 men into Canada. 
They had been so often deceived with fair promises, which 
were never kept, so often made to believe that the galley 
slaves were to be returned, who never came, that they had 
become angry, and determined on revenge. In the next 
summer they accomplished their purpose. The result we 
have seen. 

We now come to a period in the history of New York 
when Indian affairs were of less absorbing interest, and 
all were more or less occupied with the incidents of revo 

Protestant England soon wearied of the rule of the 
Catholic James. His son-in-law, William, Prince of Or 
ange and Stadtholder of Holland, was invited to take pos 
session of the throne. With an army of 15,000 men he 
landed in England in November, 1688. The leading men 
of that kingdom joined his standard. James, deserted by 
his friends, and by his own children, fled to France, and 
was succeeded on the throne by the Prince of Orange and 
his wife as King and Queen of England. 

When the news of the revolution was received in New 
England, Governor Andros was in Maine. On his return 
to Boston the people arrested him, and held him a pris 
oner. The charter form of government was restored, and 
Andros sailed for England The other New England 
colonies followed the example of Massachusetts, and the 
Dominion fell to pieces. In New York the excitement was 
intense. A large majority of the people were Dutch, or 
of Dutch descent. They had not forgotten their father 
land. They adored the dear old name, the Prince of 


Orange. And now one occupied the throne of him who 
in time of peace had subjugated their adopted country ! 
What might not be expected from a Dutch prince as King 
of England ? 

The population of New York was Protestant in religion. 
Tiie proceedings of the Catholic king had aroused their 
jealousies, lest he should interfere with their religious lib 
erties. The mere rumor, that the Prince of Orange with 
an army had landed in England, caused intense excite 
ment. When it was known that King James had fled, and 
that the prince had been proclaimed king, the excited 
populace knew no bounds to their enthusiasm. In the 
absence of Andros, Lieutenant-Governor Nicholson was 
the chief officer in New York. He had not the qualities 
to guide the councils of the province in time of civil com 
motions and revolution. War had been declared between 
England and France. The few soldiers left in garrison 
by Andros, when he undertook his eastern expedition 
against the Indians, were not sufficient to defend it in case 
the French should undertake the conquest of the province. 
There were six militia companies in the city and vicinity 
whose assistance was required, and it was arranged that 
each company in turn should occupy the fort to hold it 
against any sudden attack. 

The authorities had received no official notice of the 
changes in England, and, until such notice was received, it 
was their duty to proceed with caution and maintain the 
government in peace and quiet. Nicholson and his three 
councillors were Protestants, but, because they had re 
ceived their appointment from a Catholic king, their 
orthodoxy was doubted. It was known that they had re 
ceived intelligence of the landing of the Prince of Orange, 
but had not published it. It was hence suspected that 
they were holding the province for the old king, and 


would turn it over to the French, as the friends and allies 
of James, as soon as a fleet should appear in the bay. 
The people could not understand that it was the duty of 
these men to obey their instructions until they were coun 
termanded and new ones given. Affairs were rapidly ap 
proaching a crisis. Andros was in prison. The villages 
on the eastern end of Long Island had again renounced 
their allegiance to New York. The enlisted men, who 
had spent the winter with Governor Dongan at Albany, 
were in open rebellion because they had not been paid. 
The Indians of the Five Nations were wavering in their 
allegiance ; and reports, believed to be trustworthy, were 
in circulation, that the French of Canada were about to 
cross the northern frontier with a powerful army. 

The citizen-soldiers, who w r ere cheerfully working on 
the fortifications, were at last wrought up to a high state 
of excitement by these facts and rumors. On May 31, 
1689, they sent an unsigned and badly worded paper to 
Nicholson and the Council, declaring their intention to 
guard and hold the " fort for the Power that now govern- 
eth in England." They refused to obey the authority of 
the Council, or the commands of the colonel of the regi 
ment, and demanded the keys of the fort. Nicholson, 
although a soldier, had not the courage to refuse the de 
mand, and the keys were delivered. Two days afterward 
it was the turn of the company commanded by Jacob 
Leisler to watch. He entered the fort with forty-nine 
men, resolved to remain until he was joined by all the 
militia. The other five captains and four hundred men 
hastened to place themselves under his command. 1 

1 As Jacob Leisler for nearly two years occupied the most prominent 
position in the affairs of New York, terminating his career by an igno 
minious death, much curiosity has been awakened to know something of 
his personal history. There is little to learn, and about that little writers 


Lieutenant-Governor Nicholson, taking counsel of his 
fears, resolved .to return to England, and secretly left the 
city. Leisler, as commandant of the fort, was master of 
the situation. He issued a proclamation, that he should 
preserve the Protestant religion, and hold the fort, until 

do not agree. I shall only give such facts as I have^collected from the old 
documents and other authentic sources. 

The West India Company employed a few soldiers in the forts of New 
Netherland. They were enlisted in Holland, and sent over from time to 
time by their ships. On the list by the ship Golden Otter, from Amster 
dam, April, 1660, appears the name Jacob Leyseler, from Frankfort. 
Under the name is this entry : 

" for his musket fi3-8 
Bed and chest 3. 10 
owes Hendrick Stendericker loan by a transfer f5o." 

In a letter to William Jones, of New Haven, Leisler says, "la ger 
mane." It appears, then, that he was a German by birth, and a soldier; 
that he was too poor to pay for his musket, bed, or chest, and for other 
necessary articles of outfit ; and that he was obliged to borrow fifty florins 
on pledge of his soldier s pay. Less than three years after he left Hol 
land, he married Elsje Tymans, widow of Peter Cornelise Van der Veen. 
Elsje Tymans was the daughter of Tyman Jansen, a ship carpenter, 
and Maritje Jans, sister of the Anneke Jans of Trinity Church farm 
notoriety. After the death of Tyman Jansen, his widow married Dirk 
Cornelisen Van der Veen, by whom she had one son. Her second hus 
band was deceased before August 29, 1648", and on July IT, 1649, she 
married Govert Lookermans, her third husband. Shortly after her mar 
riage to Lookermans, there was a settlement of her second husband s 
estate in the Surrogate s Court. It was ordered that she pay to her son two 
thousand guilders when he came of age half the money due by the West 
India Company, and half the estate in the fatherland belonging to his father. 
The balance of the estate was allotted to her. This settlement shows that 
she had a considerable property. How much she and her daughter Elsje 
had from her first husband, Tyman Jansen, does not appear. It was 
not a trifle, if real estate in New York and on Long Island had any 
value. Tyman Jansen, when he died, owned a large block (646 square 
rods) fronting the East River, in the neighborhood of Hanover Square, 
and some large tracts on Long Island. Maritje Jans brought to her 
third husband, Govert Lookermans, quite a large estate for the times. 
Lookermans by a previous marriage had two daughters, one of whom mar 
ried Balthasar Bayard, a nephew of Director-General Stuyvesant, and the 


the arrival of a governor appointed by the Prince of 
Orange. The citizens chose a committee of safety, who 
commissioned Leisler " Captain of the fort." In their 
address to the king, the militia and citizens protest their 
loyalty, and justify their seizure of the fort because 

other Dr. Hans Kiersted, a grandson of Anneke Jans. By his second 
wife, Maritje Jans, he had one son, Jacob, who left the province, and set 
tled in Maryland. He conveyed away portions of his second wife s real 
estate ; among others, a house and lot on Pearl Street to Peter Cornelise 
Van der Veen, shortly after his marriage with Elsje Tymans. Jacob Leis 
ler, four years after his marriage with Van der Veen s widow, obtained a 
patent for this property from the governor. Govert Lookermans died in 
testate in 1671, and the settlement of his estate occasioned a long and bit 
ter controversy between Leisler and the general heirs, Bayard, Kiersted, 
and Jacob Lookermans. There is little doubt but that this affair im 
parted some bitterness to the political differences of 1689 to 1691. The 
estate was not finally settled until after Leisler s death. On September 
10, 1691, the surviving executor of Lookermans widow petitioned for a 
discharge, alleging that he had closed his trust ; and about the same time 
Balthasar Bayard, in behalf of his wife and her sister, Mrs. Kiersted, peti 
tioned for letters of administration. In 1694, when Colonel Fletcher was 
governor, these parties and Jacob Lookermans, in a paper addressed to 
the Council, proposed to make an arrangement with the government for 
opening a new street (Water Street) through land in front of Lookermans 
former dwelling. It is to be presumed that the estate had then been 

Leisler s marriage with Elsje Tymans connected him with many of the 
leading families of the city and province. It also enabled him to leave the 
service of the West India Company, if he had not done it before, and enter 
the mercantile business, as the successor of his wife s former husband. 
He was successful as a trader, and within a few years had accumulated a 
considerable property. His education was deficient, if a correct judgment 
may be formed by his correspondence while in public life. Whatever early 
education he had was in German. Coming to New Amsterdam as a 
Dutch soldier, he must necessarily have learned the Dutch language. 
Four years after his arrival the English took possession, and he was 
obliged to know something of the English tongue. He did not master it. 
He knew something of three languages, but not enough of either to write 
an intelligible letter. Letters written by himself are curiosities. Most of 
them over his name were written by a clerk or secretary. The following is 
an extract from a letter to Governor Treat, of Connecticut, written by him 
self : 


there were a " few papists " in office, and they feared that 
they might be betrayed. The Committee of Safety as 
sumed the functions of government, and performed the 
duties devolving on municipal and civil officers while 
waiting for instructions from the crown. Becoming im 
patient, and wanting a chief in name as well as in fact, 
they appointed Leisler commander-in-chief. A mayor, 
sheriff, and clerk were elected by the people, and con 
firmed by the commander-in-chief, who at the same time 
appointed aldermen, assistants, and constables. John 
Biggs, who had been sent to England by Nicholson with 
despatches, and for instructions, returned on December 9, 
with a letter from the kkig, addressed, " To our loving 
friend, Francis Nicholson, Esq., their majesties lieuten 
ant-governor and commander-in-chief of the province of 
New York. And, in his absence, to such as for the time 
being take care for the preserving the peace and adminis 
tering the laws in their majesties province of New York 
in America." He was ordered to proclaim the king 
and queen according to the form indorsed, and to take 
upon himself the government until further instructions. 
Nicholson having fled, and Hie members of Council hav- 

"Honnorable Ser Affter noon I gath a letter off Cap* Milborne, War- 
off Bovest is com off, part thereoff being off suth greath moment, thought 
necesary to send to your Honour post away, that you ma also Juge the 
State en condition we leike to be in, iff we do not store en despath away 
ower forces." 

Leisler had seven children, two sons and five daughters, baptized in the 
Dutch Church. One son, Jacob, survived him, but died without children. 
His eldest daughter, Susanna, married Michael Vaughton, a custom-house 
officer ; Catharine married Robert Walters, an Englishman ; he was a 
prosperous merchant and member of the Council. Mary married, first, 
Jacob Milborne, her father s secretary; secondly, Abraham Gouverneur, 
whose name became famous in the annals of New York. Hester, the 
fourth daughter, married Barent Rynders, merchant, of New York. Fran- 
cina, the youngest, married Thomas Lewis, merchant, also of New York. 


ing been silenced, Leisler assumed that the despatches 
were addressed to him, as in the absence of Nicholson he 
was for the time being preserving the peace and adminis 
tering the laws. It was a mere assumption. In the ab 
sence of a governor and lieutenant-governor, the Council, 
or its oldest member, was chief executive. Nor had he 
administered the laws as he found them. He only ad 
ministered the laws as made and interpreted by himself 
and the Committee of Safety. The mayor and sheriff had 
always been appointed by the governor according to law. 
They had now been elected by freeholders contrary to 

Leisler now assumed to be lieutenant-governor, and ap 
pointed a new Council, composed of men who were his 
supporters and admirers. The revolution was complete. 
The old government was displaced. The old members of 
Council were no longer recognized. The new government 
received a ready support and obedience from a majority 
of the populace. The religious sentiment of the age con 
tributed to this result. The revolution, however, was not 
effected without a struggle. The members of the former 
government and their friends offered a determined oppo 
sition. Philipse, Bayard, and Van Cortlandt had been 
long in office. They were Protestants, members of the 
same church as Leisler, and, like him, office-bearers. As 
their opponents, they had accepted the results of the 
English revolution, and were cordial supporters of the 
king now on the throne. But they had lost to a consider 
able extent the confidence of the masses ; more because 
they had been office-holders under a Catholic king than 
for any other reason. Leisler had become the idol of the 
hour, not because of his abilities or character, but because 
he had put himself forward as the champion of the Prot 
estant religion, and was in command of the fort. 


Philipse, the eldest of the old councillors, soon sepa 
rated himself from his associates, and bowed to the storm. 
He was too rich to be a leader in times of revolution. 
Van Cortlandt and Bayard were obliged to fight the battle 
without his assistance, but they had friends in the city and 
in the country who gallantly supported them. They were 
the party of order. It was their motto, " Make haste 
slowly." When the rumors first reached New York, that 
the Prince of Orange had landed in England, they wished 
to hear the result before they committed themselves. 
Twice before, in the short reign of James, there had been 
attempts at revolution, which had only resulted in the 
death of the leaders, and in the dispersion of their fol 
lowers. This new invasion might come to a similar end. 
Why not wait ? But when William was seated on the 
throne, they were as earnest as their opponents in the 
support of the doctrines of the revolution. 

The new government of England had much to do at 
home ; so much, that the affairs of the colonies were neg 
lected. New York received no official notification of the 
changed order of affairs for more than a year after James 
had left his kingdom. Late in June, 1689, a printed proc 
lamation of William and Mary found its way to the hands 
of Leisler. By beat of drum he assembled the people in 
front of the fort, and read to them the unofficial paper. 
He then called on Mayor Van Cortlandt to publish it in 
the usual form. 

This Van Cortlandt declined to do, because it was not 
official, and for this he was roundly abused by Leisler and 
his patriots, who called him papist, rogue, and traitor. 
Soon after another private proclamation was brought to 
the mayor, of no more authority than the first. It pur 
ported to be an order of the king and queen, confirm 
ing all persons being Protestants in the offices they held 


on December i, 1688. This he consented to have pub 
lished, as an offset to the one Leisler published. Certainly 
one was as authentic as the other. If Leisler accepted the 
first, he should have yielded obedience to the second ; but 
this he refused, and when the commission to take charge 
of the Custom House, appointed by the Council and the 
aldermen, attempted to enter upon their duties, he with a 
guard of soldiers confronted them and ordered them away. 
He was especially bitter toward Bayard, who was attacked 
by his adherents, and was forced to leave the city to save 
his life. Leisler told Philipse, that if he again met with 
the Council the " Divell should take him." He feared the 
divell) and did not again meet the Council until Leisler 
could do him no harm. The night before the mayor s 
court-day, Leisler sent word to him, that if he attempted 
to hold court, "the people would hale him out by the legs." 
The other members were in like manner intimidated, and 
the court was not held. Van Cortlandt remained in the 
city until the middle of August, when he was obliged to 
leave to avoid further insults, and to escape the dangers 
with which he was threatened. After a time he returned to 
look after his private business, but kept himself secluded. 
Before January 7, 1689, he with his wife again sought a 
place of safety. Leisler followed him with a warrant for 
his arrest, in which was included Nicholas Bayard and 
four others, but he managed to elude the officers and keep 
himself concealed. 

Bayard had made himself very obnoxious to Leisler. 
He had kept up a correspondence with Andros, the late 
governor, and had written to some of the English minis 
ters, in which he had spoken of Leisler and his supporters 
in no measured terms. One such letter had been inter 
cepted by Leisler. Of all the members of the late govern 
ment, he was the most bitter and troublesome. His arrest 


was prosecuted with zeal. He was forced to return to the 
city on private business, and to see his only son, who was 
ill and not expected to live. The officers were soon on his 
track, searching the vessel on which he arrived, and pri 
vate houses where he was supposed to be concealed. He 
escaped, and again went into hiding. The next time he 
ventured to return he was not so fortunate. Leisler, aware 
of his presence in the city, ordered the officers, with a 
guard of soldiers, to search his house. They broke it open, 
and while searching said that they were " ordered to take 
him dead or alive." They did not find him "at home, "but 
in a house near by they seized him, and " in a most abu 
sive manner dragged him to the fort." William Nicoll, a 
friend of Bayard s, was captured at the ferry hidden in 
the ferryman s house. The poor woman who had suffered 
him to .occupy one of her rooms was also arrested. 

Leisler was much elated at the capture of Bayard, who 
was put into irons and thrust into the dungeon of the fort. 
Occasionally he was chained in a chair and carried about 
the walls, as an exhibition to the populace. On his ear 
nest petitions the rigor of his confinement was mitigated, 
but he was detained in prison until released by Governor 
Sloughter. While Leisler was thus occupied, the more 
distant towns were left to manage their own affairs with 
little interruption, except an occasional message or letter. 

On July i, 1689, authentic news reached Albany that 
William and Mary had succeeded to the throne of Eng 
land. On its receipt, the mayor, Peter Schiryler, called a 
meeting of the Common Council, and it was voted to pro 
claim their majesties without delay. At noon a procession 
was formed at the City Hall and marched to the fort, 
where proclamation was made in English and Dutch, amid 
the firing of cannon and other demonstrations of joy. The 
procession returned to the City Hall, where the ceremonies 


were repeated, and the day closed with bonfires and fire 

The citizens were harmonious arid settled down to their 
usual occupations, unmindful of the excitement which fol 
lowed the news of the revolution in New England and 
New York. The city government proceeded as before, 
and all was peace and good feeling. In less than a month, 
however, there were rumors that Leisler intended to estab 
lish his authority over the city, turn out the old officers, 
and make changes generally to conform to the order of 
administration he had inaugurated in New York. The 
Albanians were chiefly of Dutch descent, and altogether 
Protestant in religion. They were united, peaceable, and 
quiet, patiently waiting for a governor appointed by the 
Prince of Orange, now King of England. They saw no 
reason why they should be disturbed, and the community 
distracted by factions. They had had some experience of 
Leisler and his friend Milborne in their church troubles, 
some years before, and were not now disposed to submit 
their necks to his yoke. His rule must be short. Why, 
then, for a brief space only, should they accept his au 
thority ? 

A convention of the civil and military officers was called 
on August ist, to consider the situation, and it determined 
that public affairs should be managed by the mayor, Com 
mon Council, justices of the peace, and commissioned offi 
cers of the city and county, until orders came from the 
throne. To this agreement the people yielded a willing 
assent. There was no change in the government or its 
officers. They were the supreme authority of the city and 
county of Albany, as opposed to a faction in the city of 
New York which set up pretensions to govern the whole 

War had been proclaimed between England and France, 


and it became the first duty of the convention to prepare 
for defence against the French of Canada. Fifty persons 
were required each to hang a gun, powder, and balls in 
the church. Palisades were set up in place of those that 
were decayed, and a new battery was built in the north 
ern wall. Some Frenchmen, settled on farms at Still- 
water, and on the river above, who were suspected of 
holding correspondence with the enemy, were arrested 
and brought to the city. Some of the inhabitants were 
beginning to remove to places remote from the frontiers. 
The convention issued an order forbidding them to leave 
the city or county without permission, on pain of being 
pursued as " fugitives, cowards, runaways, vagabonds." 
Reports were brought that a French and Indian army was 
on the march for the borders. Messengers were imme 
diately despatched to Kinderhook, Claverack, and other 
hamlets, to give the settlers warning. An alarm was 
given at Greenbush which occasioned much uneasiness, 
lest the enemy were at their gates. In the midst of their 
commotions there came a message of relief. The Onon- 
dagas sent one of their sachems to announce a great vic 
tory over the French at Montreal. The joy on this occa 
sion was of short duration ; for immediately came the 
report that the French were on Lake Champlain on their 
march against Albany. Scouts were ordered out, and 
men were sent to assist the Mohawks in fortifying their 
villages. The repairs on the fort and stockades of Al 
bany were not yet complete. It was believed that there 
was such imminent danger that a full convention was 
called for consultation, which decided that in view of the 
great danger, and of their inability to defend themselves 
without assistance, help must be sought from abroad. An 
express was sent to " Captain Leisler and the other militia 
officers of New York," asking for one hundred men, six 


hundred pounds of powder, and other ammunition. Be 
fore the convention adjourned, a message was brought that 
three farmers had been killed by the French at Saratoga. 
Two detachments were sent successively to the scene of 
the murders. There was hurry and excitement, but no 
confusion. Gentlemen arrived from New England to 
hold a conference with the Mohawks. A committee was 
appointed to assist them. New forts were ordered to be 
built at several outlying places for the protection of the 
inhabitants. A delegation was sent to Schenectady to 
arrange the differences which had suddenly broken out 
among the people. A justice of the peace was sent to 
Ulster County to procure twenty-five or thirty men. A 
small force was enlisted to garrison the fort at Saratoga. 

The express to Leisler now returned, not with words of 
cheer and encouragement, but with private letters from 
him to two members of the convention, Captains Wendel 
and Bleecker, asking them to send two men to join his 
Committee of Safety at New York ; and then something 
might be done. 

The convention was disheartened, but did not despair. 
Robert Sanders was despatched to enlist Indians along 
the river and at Esopus for scouts. A subscription was 
made, to pay for one hundred enlisted men. Only three 
hundred and sixty-seven pounds were pledged not half 
enough. The truth was that the people were poor ; their 
trade for three years had been of little account, because 
of the war of the Five Nations with the French ; their 
preparations to resist the French in case of an invasion 
had drawn heavily on their resources. They were at last 
convinced that they must appeal to the New England 
colonies. They therefore resolved, since no assistance 
could be expected from New York, to solicit the govern 
ments of Massachusetts and Connecticut each for one 


hundred men, to garrison the forts and protect the fron 
tiers during the ensuing winter. Letters were accordingly 
written to the governors of those colonies on September 
23d, to which replies were received a month later. Mas 
sachusetts excused herself, because of her own w r ar with 
the French and Indians, which required a large force 
to protect her frontiers. Connecticut answered that she 
would send eighty men, with their officers, but would ex 
pect the convention to provide for the officers pay. The 
offer was promptly accepted, and a committee delegated 
to visit Hartford, to convey the thanks of the convention 
and to make the final arrangements. 

Although no instructions had as yet been received from 
England, the convention voluntarily took the oath of alle 
giance to the king and queen, and the next day adminis 
tered it to the officers and soldiers in garrison. Lieuten 
ant Sharp, having taken the oath, was left in command of 
the fort. The militia-officers of Esopus, and the men of 
their companies, had promptly pledged their assistance in 
case Albany should be threatened by an invading army. 
The convention now believed that arrangements had been 
made to render the frontiers secure without the aid of 
Leisler and his committee, and was anxious that he should 
know it. Alderman Van Schaick was in New York, and 
he was requested to give this information. For the large 
amount of expense incurred, the city treasury had pro 
vided in part, and Robert Livingston, the town clerk, had 
advanced the remainder. 

A rumor now reached the convention, that Leisler, 
although refusing to give any assistance where it was 
needed, had resolved to send up a detachment of soldiers 
to overthrow the present government. Van Schaick, who 
was still in New York, was directed to investigate the ru 
mor, and, if true, to prevent such a procedure by all the 


means in his power. " For," said they, "a new governor 
(Frontenac) has arrived in Canada, and fresh troubles and 
complications are likely to arise with the Indians, espe 
cially should the present government in Albany be dis 
turbed." Van Schaick, learning the truth of the rumors, 
hastened his return to Albany, and reported to the conven 
tion that Leisler intended to overthrow the government 
by an armed intervention, and occupy the fort with other 
officers and men, alleging that the present officers were 
papists who could not be trusted. 

They now decided to consult their constituents, who 
were assembled at the City Hall by an alarm rung on the 
church-bell. After discussion, the meeting resolved to 
support the convention as the only lawful government, 
and to oppose Leisler. Forty of the leading inhabitants 
signed a pledge to that effect. Leisler s efforts to gain 
control, by creating divisions in the party of law and order, 
were bearing fruit. Two of the prominent members of 
the convention withdrew, and soon afterward were found 
among Leisier s supporters. It became apparent that, for 
the sake of harmony, some concessions should be made to 
the jealousies slowly creeping into the community. Sus 
picions as to Lieutenant Sharp s fidelity, although he had 
taken the oath of allegiance, found circulation. Yielding 
to the pressure, the convention put Mayor Schuyler in 
command, and conducted him to his quarters within the 
fort on November 8, 1689. 

The next day three sloops, with a company of soldiers, 
arrived from New York. A committee of the convention 
boarded one of the vessels to learn the object of their 
visit. Jacob Milborne, who appeared to be in command, 
replied to the questions of the committee by asking an 
other, "Is the fort open to receive me and my men?" 
" No," was the prompt reply. " The mayor is in com- 


mand, and will hold it." Milborne was invited to land and 
call on the convention. He accepted the invitation, and 
when he arrived, he found the hall packed with an anxious 
and curious crowd of citizens. Without noticing the con 
vention, he began to address the crowd, in the style of a 
demagogue, telling them that now the time had come 
when they could throw off the yoke of tyrants and make 
themselves free. King James was a papist and usurper ; 
all that had been done under his administration was void ; 
all his appointments were illegal ; now was the time for 
the people to choose their own officers, both civil and 
military. The convention was so surprised at this per 
formance, that they made no immediate reply. On being 
taunted with their silence, " Time enough," said Dirk Wes- 
sels, the recorder. " It ought not to be expected that we 
should reply off-hand to such a strain of eloquence. The 
convention has provided quarters for the men, if they are 
here with good intentions, and the billets are now on the 
table." Milborne then delivered a letter signed by Jacob 
Leisler and others, but addressed to no one in particular. 
It was a remarkable document, as the revolution in Eng 
land was cited as a precedent for the revolution in New 
York v "Humbly tracing the steps (of the Prince of 
Orange), and laying hold of the encouragement given by 
so royal an example, we have prevented the raging inter 
est of the Roman Catholic party and their adherents in 
this province." There was no Roman Catholic party ; 
scarcely half a dozen of that profession in the whole prov 
ince. But the religious conscience was the surest element 
of success, and Leisler freely plied it with false state 
ments. The letter commissioned Milborne to take charge 
of Albany, and protect it from its enemies. After the 
letter was read, quarters for the men were again offered, 
but declined. The next day a letter was received from 


Adam Vrooman, of Schenectady, enclosing letters sent to 
him from Milborne, which revealed the plans and inten 
tions of Leisler so fully, that the convention became more 
guarded and watchful in their intercourse with Milborne 
and his associates. The mayor, suspecting the intentions 
of the New Yorkers, had remained at his post in the fort 
to guard against surprise. 

For several days negotiations between the convention 
and Milborne continued, the upshot of which was that they 
refused to accept Leisler s supremacy, but offered to re 
ceive the soldiers and provide for them to the best of their 
ability, on condition that they submitted to their authority. 
When Milborne failed here, as he had gained a consider 
able party, composed chiefly of such as were not entitled 
to a voice in the business, he undertook to get possession 
of the fort by force. Me succeeded in putting one foot 
within the gate, but was thrust out. He and his men re 
tired a short distance, faced about, displayed the king s 
flag, and loaded arms. The mayor and other members of 
the convention were not intimidated, but proclaimed from 
the parapet that they held the fort for the king ; and that 
Milborne and his seditious troops would be held respon 
sible for any blood that might be shed in the contest, and 
for the disorders which might follow. Some Mohawks, 
who had come to the city for aid in fortifying their castles, 
were astonished spectators of the scene. On learning the 
cause, they loaded their guns, and said that they would help 
their friends. They finally declared that they would fire 
on Milborne and his troops unless they retired. Dominie 
i Dellius and others tried to pacify them. This was diffi 
cult, until Milborne withdrew and dismissed the troops. 
The firmness and tact of the friends of order probably 
saved the city from great disorders and bloodshed. 

Milborne failed to accomplish what had been intended 


to take possession of the fort and government of the city. 
But he raised factions, and caused divisions among those 
who had been life-long friends, arraying members of the 
same family against one another. He left his troops 
under the command of Jochim Staats, a brother of Dr. 
Samuel Staats, one of Leisler s chief advisers, and returned 
discomfited to his superiors. He was a man unfit for his 
mission. He could talk, but could not convince. He had 
little wisdom and no discretion. It is surprising thatLeis- 
ler and his advisers had so little tact in appointing such a 
man to deal with men like Peter Schuyler, Robert Living 
ston, and others of the same stamp who constituted the 
convention of Albany. 

Ten days after Milborne s discomfiture, on November 
25, 1689, Captain Bull and eighty-seven men arrived from 
Connecticut, marched into the city with flying colors, and 
were received with demonstrations of great satisfaction. 
They were quartered among the families of the convention 
and their friends. On the 29th, Lieutenant Talmadge and 
twenty-four men of the company were stationed at Sche- 
nectady. Jochim Staats, commanding the men sent from 
New York, was bound by such instructions, that he was 
not free to station his men at any of the outlying places 
where forts had been erected, but kept them in Albany, 
as if for the seizure of the fort should opportunity occur. 
The convention was so watchful and circumspect, that he 
gained nothing by the manoeuvre. The friends of order had 
a double duty on their hands to guard against the French, 
their open enemy, and secure themselves against the treach 
ery of their own countrymen. They were thus compelled 
to neglect other and important duties, more particularly 
Indian affairs. Significant news reached them from the 
Indian country that a council was to be held at Onon- 
daga, to consider some propositions of the governor of 


Canada, brought to them by two of Denonville s captives 
who had returned from France. A few days later, Peter 
Schuyler received a letter from a friend in the Mohawk 
country, announcing that "ambassadors from Onondaga 
and Oneida " were on the way to Albany with interesting 
news, and requested him to accompany them. They ar 
rived on December 2yth, and had an interview with the 
convention. They announced that three of their friends, 
who had been prisoners in France, had come to them with 
a message from the governor of Canada, requesting them 
to send their sachems to make peace between them ; that 
thirteen only of the thirty-six whom Denonville had sent 
to the French galleys had returned, the others having 
died ; and that they had resolved not to listen to the mes 
sage, until in full council some of the gentlemen of Albany 
could be present and advise with them. They asked that 
Peter Schuyler, Johannes Wendel, and Jacques Cornelisen 
(Van Schaick) might be delegated to attend their council, 
and hear what the French governor had to offer. 

The important topics to be discussed at this council 
were well understood by the convention. Frontenac had 
been restored to the chief command in Canada. He had 
brought with him some of the exiled Indians, whom he 
had sent to their country with overtures of peace, after 
attaching them to his interests. The joy of the Five 
Nations over the return of their countrymen was un 
bounded. There was now very great danger that in the 
era of good feeling they might listen to the pleasant 
words of the old governor, and be induced to come to 
some friendly arrangement with him to the prejudice of 
English interests. They knew that some one ought to at 
tend the council and represent the province. But who 
should go ? This question received serious consideration 
several days. It did not appear advisable that any members 
2 3 


of the convention should leave their posts. The affairs 
of the city were so critical that it seemed unwise to weaken 
their position in the face of the Leisler faction by sending 
away any of their leading men. After several sessions 
and earnest deliberations, it was decided to commission 
some of the wisest Mohawk sachems to represent them. 
To them were joined the sworn interpreter and Robert 
Sanders, a merchant of Albany, who understood the In 
dian language. They were provided with ample instruc 
tions, and a few presents. 1 

1 Colclen, in his History of the Five Nations, censures the convention 
for not sending more prominent persons to the Indian council. He un 
derstood the importance of holding the Five Nations steadfast in their 
allegiance to the English, but failed to see the reason why Peter Schuyler, 
or any other of the more prominent men of the convention, could not be 
spared from their posts at that particular crisis. Leisler had not yet ceased 
his efforts to gain control of Albany. His soldiers, ostensibly sent for the 
protection of the frontiers, remained in the city under secret instructions, 
which were paramount to all other considerations. He had gained con 
trol of the fort in New York when the constituted authorities were off 
their guard, and in the midst of confusions caused by himself and his ad 
herents. The same thing had been attempted in Albany, and had only 
failed by the watchfulness and firmness of the guardians of its safety. Al 
though foiled for the time, his agents were only looking out for a more 
favorable occasion. It was believed by the convention that if the Leisler 
faction succeeded in their designs, a greater injury would be the conse 
quence than though for a time there was some apparent neglect of Indian 
politics. But Peter Schuyler was a wiser man in the management of In 
dians than Cadwallader Golden with his learning and fluent pen. In all 
probability the Mohawk sachems succeeded better in the Grand Council 
of the Five Nations for the English interests than any of the "promi 
nent men" of Albany, Peter Schuyler not excepted. They were firmly at 
tached to the English, and, with their instructions given by their friend 
Quidor, they knew what was required, and how to accomplish it. The 
final arrangements for the Indian council were completed on January 6, 
1690. It quickly became apparent that their action in the business was 
wise and prudent. 

There are no records now at Albany with regard to this council, al 
though they probably once existed, for Golden, in his History of the Five 
Nations, vol. i., pp. 112-120 (cd. 1755), gives a full account of it, the 


Only five days after Robert Sanders had received his in 
structions, the convention held a session, January n, 1690, 
at which Captain Wendel presented a letter signed by 
Jacob Leisler, dated New York, December 28th, which was 
read, and is as follows : 

" Gent 5 I having received orders from his maj e King 
William for taking care of the Goverment, have commis- 
sionated Cap* Jochim Staas to take into his Possession 
Fort Orange and to keep y e Soldiers in good order and 
Discipline, and y l y e Magistracy may be in good Decorum 
have Ordered and doe hereby Order that free Elections be 
forthwith made for a Mayor and Aldermen whom I have 
Signified to Cap 4 Staas with whom pray Correspond and 
give all due assistance for his Maj es Interest and for y e 
Safety of y* city and county y t so the Peace and Tranquil- 

substance of which is repeated by Mr. Parkman in his Count Frontenac 
and New France, pp. 195-200. The general result was, that the Indians 
adhered to the English and remained opposed to the French. During 
the proceedings, Sadekanahtie, an Onondaga speaker, stood up and said : 
"Brethren, we must stick to our brother Quid or (Peter Schuyler), and look 
on Onontio (the governor of Canada) as our enemy, for he is a cheat." 
The English interpreter told them that a new governor had arrived, bring 
ing many soldiers ; that war had been declared against the French, and 
that the people of New England were fitting out ships against Canada. 
He advised them not to hearken to the French, for when they talk of peace 
war is in their heart. After some consultation the Indians answered : 

" Brethren, our fire burns at Albany. We will not send to Cadaraqui ; 
we adhere to our old chain with Corlear ; we will prosecute the war with 
Onontio. Brethren, we are glad to hear the news you tell us, but tell us 
no lies. 

" Brother Kinshon (that is, fish, or New England), we hear you design to 
send soldiers to the eastward against the Indians there ; but we advise you, 
now so many are united against the French, to fall immediately upon them. 
Strike at the root ; when the trunk shall be cut down, the branches fall of 

"Corlear and Kinshon, courage! courage! In the spring to Quebec! 
take that place, and you will have your feet on the necks of the French 
and all their friends in America." 

A belt of wampum representing three axes was sent to Peter Schuyler. 


ity maybe Preserved amongst you, untill we shall Receive 
further orders from y c King, which is y e needful matter at 
present from 

" Your Loving Frinde 

"To y e military and civill officers 
and y e Protestant freemen Inha 
bitants of y e city and county of 
Albanie " 

This letter was written a few days after the order of 
King William to Captain Nicholson, Lieutenant-Governor, 
had been received by Leisler, who now assumed the func 
tions of a dictator, without regard to the proclamation of 
the king directing all officers to hold their places and per 
form their duties until further orders. He directs a free 
election to be held for officers he had selected ! How 
free when he named the men to be voted for ! 

The convention directed Richard Pretty, the sheriff, to 
call on Jochim Staats, and inquire whether any orders had 
been received from the king such as Leisler referred to ? 
If so, they wished to see them, that they might conform 
to them at once. Pretty reported that Jochim Staats would 
come presently, and himself answer their queries. 

Staats appeared, and explained that his orders were from 
Jacob Leisler, Lieutenant-Governor^ by authority of the Nich 
olson letter. The next day in the afternoon, the conven 
tion again convened to consider the question, whether 
Jacob Leisler should be acknowledged as lieutenant-gov 
ernor on no other authority than the Nicholson letter ? 
It was decided unanimously in the negative, Captains 
Wendel and Bleecker explaining that, " because he writes 
himself so, they cannot comprehend whether it be so or 
not." Captain Bull, of the Connecticut troops, was asked 
his opinion, and answered that, for anything which had ap- 


peared, he could not judge him to be lieutenant-governor. 
The absent members of the convention afterward con 
curred in the vote. The convention then issued a ringing 
protest against Leisler and his supporters for their per 
sistent efforts to disturb the peace arid security of the city. 
The protest was published with great ceremony in Eng 
lish and Dutch. Jochim Staats did not gain possession of 
the fort, and Jacob Leisler again failed to be recognized 
as lieutenant-governor and commander-in-chief. 

The convention, having repelled the pretensions of 
Leisler, gave their attention to the security of the city and 
county. It was midwinter, but they knew that the sea 
son would not deter the French from a long and tedious 
march against an unprotected place, to strike a blow 
which might inflict serious injury on the English and in 
spire courage and confidence among their Indian allies. 
It was known that troops had been concentrated at Mont 
real, and preparations made for a winter campaign. No 
place was so accessible, or more exposed than Albany. 
There was reason to believe that an attack might be ex 
pected at any hour. Men had to be engaged to scout the 
country to the north as far as the lakes. Men who were 
willing to endure the exposures, and risk their lives in 
such employment, demanded for their services large pay, 
of which they had to be made secure. This it was difficult 
to do, owing to the poverty of the treasury and the want 
of ready money among the people. Captain Bull was 
bound by his instructions to keep his men in Albany or 
its immediate vicinity. Captain Staats, under orders from 
his superiors in New York, would give no assistance. At 
last some Mohawk Indians were employed, and furnished 
with ammunition. Forty of their warriors were at Sche- 
nectady, whose chiefs engaged, on January 2 ist, to march 
at once, and watch the routes the enemy must take to 


reach the settlements. They promised to remain on duty 
until the breaking up of winter, when the danger would 
be past ; but they failed to keep their engagements. The 
weather was cold, and a deep snow covered the ground. 
The people of Schenectady were kind and hospitable, and 
they found it comfortable to linger around their fires. 
Less than twenty days after they had received their sup 
plies, the French and their savage allies were in Schenec 
tady, and laid it in ashes. Had the Mohawks gone to scout 
as agreed, the poor people would have received warning, 
and have escaped their dreadful fate. 

When Count de Frontenac returned to Canada, in Oc 
tober, 1689, he had found the people discouraged and 
despairing, because of their sufferings from the frequent 
raids of theTroquois. That he might raise their spirits and 
give them new courage, he organized three winter expe 
ditions against the English settlements. The one which 
left Montreal was directed against Albany, and numbered 
over two hundred men, French and Indians. On the 
inarch the Indians discouraged an attack on Albany, and 
their course was directed toward Schenectady. When 
within a few miles, they came to a cabin occupied by In 
dian women, who gave them such information as to the 
condition of the village that they forgot their fatigue, 
and vigorously pursued their march. They arrived at 
midnight of February Qth, and entered the pla ce undis 
covered. They silently dispersed throughout the village, 
and on a given signal they raised their terrible whoop and 
began the work of death. Houses were broken open, and 
their affrighted inmates butchered without resistance. The 
fort w r as stormed, and Lieutenant Talmadge with several 
of the garrison put to death. The houses were fired, and 
when the morning dawned Schenectady was a desolation. 
Sixty men, women, and children had been killed, and 


many of them burned in their dwellings, while twenty- 
seven, mostly boys, were carried off prisoners. The poor 
people had felt themselves so secure, on account of the sea 
son and the severity of the weather, that they had not tak 
en ordinary precautions against surprise. Even the gates 
of the stockade had not been closed, nor sentinels posted. 
The gates of the little fort were shut, but the soldiers were 
asleep. Only three days before, a committee from the con 
vention at Albany had visited them, and urged them to be 
watchful, and on their guard against the enemy. No heed 
was given to this advice, so great was their sense of safety. 
The truth was, that Leisler, by his letters and agents, had 
obtained several adherents, who became so infatuated that 
they had thrown off restraint, and refused to obey their of 
ficers, threatening violence to Captain Sander Glen, a jus 
tice of the peace and member of the convention. Glen 
lived on the opposite side of the river, and had fortified 
his house, and was on his guard. In the morning a French 
officer and an Indian chief approached his citadel, and 
offered terms which were accepted. He saved his own 
family and property, and was instrumental in saving 

Early the next morning, Simon Schermerhoorn, w r ounded 
and bleeding, rode into Albany and gave the alarm. 
Within a short time other fugitives arrived bringing the re 
port that not only was Schenectady destroyed, but that an 
army was on its march toward Albany. Messengers hur 
ried to Kinderhook, Claverack, and Kingston to warn the 
people and procure assistance. The report proved to be 
false, but it had caused delay in rendering assistance to 
those who had escaped the massacre and were in need of 
food and shelter. While expecting the enemy at their 
gates, no measures could betaken to pursue the party now 
retreating from Schenectady. They were followed, how- 


ever, by a party of Mohawks, who captured fifteen, and 
killed three men on the borders of Canada. 

One of the best accounts of the Schenectady massacre 
is contained in a letter to the government of Massachu 
setts, signed by Peter Schuyler, which is worth quoting in 

"Albany, the 15* day of Feb. 1689/90. 
" Honored Gentlemen, 

" To our great greeffe and Sorrow, we must acquaint 
you with our Deplorable Condition, there having never the 
like Dreadfull massacre and murther been Committed in 
these Parts of America ; as hath been acted by the French 
and there Indians at Shinnechtady, 20 miles from Albanie 
betwixt Saturday and Sunday last at ii a clok at night. 
A Compariie of Two hundred french and Indians fell up 
on said village and murthered sixty men women and chil 
dren most barbarously, burning the Place and carried 27 
along with them Prisoners, among which the leiftenant of 
Capt. Bull, Enos Talmadge, and 4 more of said company 
were Killed and 5 taken prisoners, the rest being Inhabi 
tants ; and above 25 Persones there limbes frozen in the 

"The cruelties committed at said Place no Penn can write 
nor Tongue express : the women bigg with childe rip d 
up and the children alive throwne into the flames, and 
there heads dash d in pieces against the Doors and win 

" But what shall we say ; we must lay our hands upon 
our mouth and be silent. It is God s will and pleasure 
and we submitt ; it is but what our Sinns and Transgres 
sions have deserved : and since generally human things 
are Directed by outward means, so we must ascribe this 
sad misfortune to the factions and Divisions which were 
amongst the People and there great Disobedience to there 
officers ; for they would Obey no Commands or keep any 
watch, so that the Enemy having discotivered their neg 
ligence and security by there praying Maquase Indians, 


(who were in the said place 2 or 3 days before the attaque 
was made), Came in and broak open their verry doors be 
fore any soule knew of it ; the Enemy divideing themselfs 
in 3 severall Companies came in at 3 severall Places, no 
gates being shutt, and separated themselves 6 or 7 to a 
house, and in this manner begunn to Murther, spareing 
no man till they see all the houses open and master d : 
and so took what Plunder they would, loading 30 or 40 of 
the best horses, and so went away about n or 12 a clock 
at noon on Sabbath day. 

" It was as if the heavens combined for the Destruction 
of that poor Villadge ; that Saturday night a Snow fell 
above knee deep and dreadfull cold, and the poor peo 
ple that escaped and brought us the news about break of 
day, did so much increase the number of the Enemy that 
we all concluded there was a considerable Army comeing 
to fall upon our City, as was affirmed were upon there 
march hither ; we being told not only then but the day 
after that they were 1900 att least. We sent out some few 
horse forth with after we had received the news, but 
scarcely could get through the deep snow, some whereof 
got to that desolate Place, and there being some few Ma- 
quase here in Towne, we got them to goe thither with our 
men in Companie, to send messengers in all haste to the 
Maquase Castles, and to spye where the Enemy went, who 
were not verry free to goe, the snow being so deep and 
afraid of being Discovered by there tract : but comeing 
to the Village were in such consternation seeing so many 
people and cattle kill d and burnt, that it was not effected 
till 2 days after, when we heard that the Maquase knew 
nothing of it, upon which messengers were sent, and the 
Maquase of the first and 2d. Castle came down in 24 
houres, whom we sent out with some of our young- men in 
Pursute of the Enemy. Afterwards the Maquase of the 
3d Castle came doune who are also gone out, but are 
afraid will not overtake them, and which is worse, if they 
doe fynde them fear will doe them no great hurt, the 
Indians amongst them being all of the kindred of our In- 


dians : for the Policy of the French is so great that they 
Declare to some of the Maquase which they found at Shin- 
nechtady that they would not doe the Maquase harm, yea 
if they should burn and destroy never so many houses 
at Canida and kill never so many French, they would not 
touch a hayr of there head ; for there Gouvernor had such 
an Inclination to that People, he would live in peace with 
them ; nay to gain the hearts of the Maquase whatever 
they desyred at Schinnechtady was granted, the women 
and children that were left alive upon there desyre were 
Released and Saved, the very houses where the Maquase 
lay at were saved upon there Request : so that they leave 
no Stone unturn d to bring the Indians to there Devotion. 

"The 40 Maquase that were out as Skouts at the Lake, 
whom we furnished with Pouder and Lead to lye there a 
purpose, we must conclude have knoune nothing of the 
Enemies comeing ; for they had posted themselves at one 
of the Passages the Enemy was past by ; which we must 
Impute to there negligence. 

" The said French had Belts of Wampum along with 
them which they showed to a Maquase Squae at Schin 
nechtady, which they design d to have given to our In 
dians upon Proposalls of Peace, if they had met with any 
upon the way ; soe that we must conclude they want noth 
ing but a Peace with our Indians to destroy all these parts. 

" Our Maquase have got one of there Indians prisoner, 
whom they have Tortur d and afterwards have Released 
him, but deliver d him into our Custody ; for we fear d 
he would make his Escape and Runn away to the Enemy : 
the said Indian confesses that there were 600 men prepare- 
ing to come out upon this place or N. England, and one 
hundred men were gone out against Skach Kook Indians 
which was besides this 200 men ; and that this Company 
had been 22 days from Canida. 

" After the French had done the principall mischeeffe at 
Shinnechtady, Capt. Sander a justice that lives cross the 
River was sent for by the Captain of the French, who had 
put himself in a posture of defence in his fort, with the 


men that he could get by him ; when 13 came there and 
told him they should not fear, for there orders was not 
to wrong a chicken of his, upon which Capt. Sanders or 
dered them to lay doune there arms, and so were let in, 
where they left one man for a hostage, and Capt. Sander 
went to there commander who told him he had commission 
to come and pay a debt which they owed. Col. Dongan, 
our Governor, had stirred up our Indians to do mischeeff 
at Canida, and they had done the same here ; and pulling 
his Commission out of his bosom, told he was strickly 
charged not to do any harm to him or his, since he but 
especially his wife had been so charitable to the French 
prisoners : so that Capt. Sanders saved sundry houses from 
being burnt and women and children from being carried 
away : but the snow was so extream deep that it was im 
possible for any woman to march a mile ; so that they 
took none but men and boys that could march. 

" As soon as the Maquase of the first and 2d Castle came 
doune and see the Ruines of Shinnechtady were verry 
much greev d. The 2 principall Captaine said to Mr. 
Wessels and some other gentlemen that were sent from 
Albany to Dispatch the Christians and Indians away in 
Pursute of the French 

" Now you see your Blood spilt and this is the beginning 
of your miseries if not suddenly Prevented ; Therefore 
write to all them that are in Covenant with us, viz 1 New 
England, Virginia and all the English Plantations of 
America to make all Readinesse to master Canida, early 
in the Spring with great Shipps, else you cannot live in 
Peace. You say your King is a great king and you are 
very numerous here in the Country, far above the French. 
You are soe, but now is the time to show it ; else the more 
you are, the greater shame it is to suffer the French to be 
master : and then we and all the 5 nations, yea all the farr 
nations must acknowledge you for a great People and 
master of the French if you now subdue it ; But hitherto 
we see the French are the Soldiers ; they have been at the 
northwest and killed the English there ; they have killed 


the Indians at the Sinnikes Country, and now they come 
here and kill the Dutch, (meaning the Inhabitants of 
Shinnechtady who were formerly of the Dutch nation). 
They are victorious wherever they goe Them of New 
England have told us they would destroy Canida : we have 
much Depended upon there great Promises since we 
know they are Potent enough to do it and now we know 
there is open warr. If we were but assured that the 
English would minde there Interest now and make Ready 
against the Spring, we would keep them in alarm : we 
must goe hand in hand and Destroy the French : we hope 
that your Government with men is come, which you have 
often told us of. You told us also that your King of 
England was so Potent that he had blokt up the French 
havens ; yet the French Governor is come and we hear 
nothing of yours. In the meantime we goe out now with 
sixty Maquase of the first and 2nd Castle, 25 River In 
dians besides the Christians, and above 100 men of the 3rd 
Castle are comeing to morrow, we will pursue the Enemy and 
doubt not but to overtake them too and Rescue the Prisoners. 
" Now Gentlemen the Indians speak well, yet we are 
satisfyed by all there actions that they will side with the 
strongest, and the Indians that are among the French are 
all of our Indians Relations ; so it cannot be Imagined that 
they will destroy onanother. Therefore if there Majes- 
tyes Subjects doe not Rise like one only man against the 
French, there Majestyes Interest in this parts will be de 
stroyed ; and they once being rooted out, all your Evills 
which spring from them as the fountain will be quash d : 
the longer we stay the worse it will be, for we must doe it 
at last, and then probably after we have lost many hun 
dreds of our People which would be fitt to help in such an 
Expedition. We have felt the smart of that nation and 
pray God our neighbors may not come to the same Disas 
ter. We are satisfyed they did not design to destroy Shin 
nechtady but all our out Plantations, but fyndeing them 
so secure, sett upon them and left the other untoucht, 
thinkeing they could never escape their cruelties. 


" Dear neighbors and friends, we must acquaint you that 
never poor People in the world was in a worse Condition 
than we are at Present, no Governour nor Command, 
no money to forward any Expedition and scarce men 
enough to maintain the Citty ; and we must conclude there 
only aim is this place, which once being attain d, the 5 
nations are rent from the English Crowne, and in stead of 
being a Bulwark to these Dominions as hitherto they have 
prov d, will help to Ruine and Destroy the countrey and 
lay all waste. We have here plainly laid the case before 
you and doubt not but you will so much take it to heart 
and make all Readinesse in the Spring to invade Canida 
by water. We pray God continually for the arrivall of our 
Governour, without which we can doe but litle, haveing 
enough to doe to keep the Indians to our side with great 
Expense : for there Distractions and Revolutions at New 
Yorke hath brougt us into a miserable condition; that with 
out your assistance and the 50 men from N. Yorke we 
should not be able to keep the place if any Enemy came. 

"We begg an answer with all haste that we may satisfy 
the Indians : we write to N. Yorke and other parts, of our 
mean condition. We long much to hear from your honors, 
having sent an Indian expresse the i5th January last with 
what papers related to the Indians at that time ; since 
whene our messengers are come from Onondage and the 
Indians all declare to be faithfull to this Government. We 
have writt to Col. Pynchon to warn the upper towns to be 
upon their guarde, feareing that some French and Indians 
might be out to Destroy them. 

" We have no more to add in these troublesome times 
but that we are 

" Honorable Gentlemen 

" Your most humble and obed servants 
the Convention of Albanie 
" P. SCHUYLER, Mayor. 

1 The Andros Tracts, iii., 114. 


Jacob Leisler, in letters to different parties, attributes 
the disaster of Schenectady to the Albany convention, 
aided by the government of Connecticut He knew this 
not to be the true cause. He knew that the Albany con 
vention had made great exertions to put the frontiers into 
a state of defence. When, at their earnest appeal, he re 
fused them assistance unless they would surrender their 
independence and manhood, and become his vassals, they 
successfully applied to a sister colony. Their success an 
gered him, and henceforth he termed them rebels ; and 
John Allyn, the secretary of Connecticut, a hypocrite, etc. 
Leisler s interference to gain control of the whole province, 
and his refusal to assist the regularly constituted authori 
ties of Albany, were the true causes. He had disorganized 
society in Schenectady. The people no longer obeyed their 
magistrates or observed the laws. They refused to make 
provision for the men sent for their protection, and neg 
lected the simplest means for their own safety. 

The convention did not relax their efforts to maintain 
their supremacy. The destruction of Schenectady was a 
serious calamity, and was used by their enemies to their 
prejudice. But they were conscious of being right, and were 
too courageous to surrender without further effort. Their 
number was small, not over one hundred and fifty able to 
bear arms. They were poor, having exhausted all their 
resources in placing the city and neighboring hamlets in a 
state of comparative security, but they were not disheart 
ened, They appealed to their friends in Ulster County 
for fifty men. Messengers were sent to the Mohawks to 
urge them to guard the country to the north. Robert 
Livingston was delegated to apply to Massachusetts and 
Connecticut for men and supplies. He was directed to 
suggest to those colonies to send out a fleet to threaten 
Quebec, and blockade the St. Lawrence to " shut out all 


succor from France." They appointed a committee to 
visit New York, and "wait on the governor if he be 
arrived, otherwise on the authority there, to make known 
our true situation," and earnestly solicit assistance in men 
and supplies. The committee was also instructed to sug 
gest, that it would be wise to have some war-ships join 
the New England fleet and attack Canada by sea. " Be 
seech them to lay aside all animosities and divisions, 
that every one may exert all his power to crush the com 
mon enemy." 

In answer to their message, the Mohawks sent a dele 
gation of their sachems, who assured the convention that 
they would do all in their power to prosecute the war, but 
urged united action on the part of all the colonies, that 
the war might be successful. The militia captains of 
Ulster replied that they would do what was possible to 
raise fifty men, but could not promise success, owing to 
the distractions caused by the late revolution." Massa 
chusetts and Connecticut counselled submission to Leisler. 
If this were done, then Canada might be invaded by sea, 
and an army raised to attack Montreal by way of Lake 
Champlain. Massachusetts was engaged in an expedi 
tion against Port Royal, and could contribute no men for 
the land forces. After Port Royal was taken their fleet 
would sail for Quebec. Connecticut would raise two 
hundred men to join the army at Albany. New York 
made no response to their earnest appeal. 

On March 4th, Leisler issued a warrant for the arrest of 
Robert Livingston ; and a commission to Jacob Milborne 
and two others to proceed to Albany with the forces which 
had been raised in New York and vicinity, take possession 
of the fort, and establish the supremacy of his govern 
ment. The convention, unable to procure assistance, and 
threatened with invasion by Leisler s superior forces, made 


ji virtue of necessity, and accepted the advice of Massa 
chusetts and Connecticut. 

Leisler s commissioners arrived, and assumed control of 
the government of Albany on March 17, 1690. The sec 
retary of Connecticut having notified Leisler that their 
troops stationed at Albany, which had given him such 
great offence, would be withdrawn as soon as his had ar 
rived, the commissioners called a meeting of the old Com 
mon Council to advise with them on the subject. They 
were not prepared, now that they were in command, to 
dispense with those men, and hence sought the influence 
of those who had procured their assistance in order to re 
tain them. The fort was surrounded on the 2oth, and on 
the 22d another joint meeting was held for the purpose of 
passing an ordinance forbidding reproaches on account of 
past differences. The members of the convention were 
ready and willing to aid in measures for the pacification 
of the people, and for unity of purpose against the com 
mon enemy. After this date the commissioners took 
entire control. Acting on the advice of Secretary Allyn, 
of Connecticut, to be moderate, and to make as few 
changes as possible of the officers in Albany, they issued 
a proclamation re-establishing the mayor, aldermen, and 
justices of the peace in their old positions. The militia 
was reorganized with several new men in commission in 
place of the old officers. Jochim Staats was put in com 
mand of the fort with a garrison of sixty men. Pickets 
were stationed on Lake Champlain at Crown Point and 
Otter Creek to watch the enemy. For the expedition 
against Canada men and supplies were to be furnished by 
New York and Albany, each its allotted share. The wants 
and necessities of the survivors of the Schenectady massa 
cre were provided for. The mayor and aldermen assigned 
to committees and individuals the duty of providing spe- 


cific articles included in the supplies to be furnished by 
Albany to the army, of which they assumed their full 
share. There was much activity with apparent harmony 
in making preparations for the coming campaign. Leis- 
ler assumed control of the expedition, and issued circular 
letters to the governors of the several colonies, including 
Virginia and Maryland, calling a congress at New York, 
on April 24th, to take into consideration all its details and 
requirements. An immediate reply was sent from Con 
necticut, saying that they were engaged to attend another 
meeting at that time in Rhode Island, and inviting Leisler 
to be present. Leisler, in his answer to this letter, said 
that the French had made another raid on Niskayuna, a 
hamlet near Albany, and had killed or captured eleven 
men, and added : " We are resolved to alter nothing as to 
our resolution ; we are resolved to carry on the war 
against our bloody enemy, and spend our all, and life too. 
We shall be glad to accept any assistance you can afford, 
and, as for the rest, put our trust in God." Here spoke 
the patriot, and not the partisan. He had, however, no 
plain idea of the difficulties in the way of a successful in 
vasion of Canada, or he would have been less sanguine, and 
more thorough in his preparations. It required longer 
time and more money to equip eight hundred or a thousand 
men for such a march than, persons like himself, ignorant 
of the country, could conceive. Even men acquainted 
with the route, and the hardships endured by a small party 
in passing over it in time of peace, had little knowledge 
of the requirements of an army in the face of an enemy. 
It was a lesson difficult to learn, as was proved by repeated 
failures for the next seventy years. Meantime he fitted out 
a man-of-war, with twenty guns and a crew of one hun 
dred and twenty men, to join the Massachusetts squadron, 
and was engaged in equipping two other vessels as cruisers. 


Commissioners of Massachusetts, Plymouth, and Con 
necticut arrived in New York about April 3oth, to con 
sult with Leisler on his projected expedition. It was 
finally agreed that New York should furnish 400 men, 
Massachusetts 160, Connecticut 135, Plymouth 60, and 
Maryland, "by promise," 100 total, 855 men ; that Leis 
ler should appoint the major-commandant, and the New 
England colonies the second in command. Leisler issued 
a commission to Milborne as commander-in-chief. This 
was a blunder, for Milborne was one of his most obnoxious 
partisans, and thoroughly ignorant of military affairs ; a 
merchant s clerk, \vho had no education of a kind to lit 
him to command a body of men, all of whom were his 
superiors in the elements which make a soldier. The 
most that could be said of him was, that he made a fair off 
hand speech, not to convince, but to amuse his auditors. 
He was conceited and obstinate, but desirous on all occa 
sions to glorify Leisler. The government of Connecticut 
wrote to Leisler, recommending Major-General Fitz John 
Winthrop as the fittest man for the place. The writer 
said, that with Milborne " the soldiers at Albany were 
disgusted, and our own not well satisfied." Winthrop, on 
the other hand, would be agreeable to all. Leisler did 
not accept the suggestion, but adhered to Milborne, 
"knowing him to be a far-seeing and courageous man." 
However, by advice of his Council, he reconsidered the 
matter, and appointed Winthrop. 

While these preparations and negotiations were in prog 
ress, an express from Onondaga arrived at Albany with 
a message from Arnout Cornelise Viele, then in the In 
dian Country, and an Onondaga sachem, that four French 
men had arrived, bringing with them two Indians returned 
from the "galleys," and that they had determined not to 
listen to them except in full council, which had been 


called, and to which they now invited the gentlemen of 
Albany, who were requested to bring with them some 
who understood the French language. Peter Schuyler, 
Robert Sanders, two French residents of Albany, and some 
others were immediately commissioned to attend the 
council. It was the opinion of all parties that this was 
an occasion too important to be neglected. Consulta 
tions were held, and it was the unanimous sentiment of all 
parties that efforts should be made to produce a complete 
rupture between the French and the Five Nations. The 
surest way to accomplish this would be to seize these 
French emissaries, who, in time of war, had stolen into 
the country belonging to the English to tamper with their 
allies. Peter Schuyler and the other delegates left Al 
bany with the clear understanding, that the Indians 
should be advised to treat the French as enemies, either 
by making these emissaries prisoners, or by killing them 

Frontenac had not been satisfied with the result of the 
Indian council held in the winter, which the more " promi 
nent men" of Albany could not attend. The Indians who 
had been to Onondaga returned to Montreal on March 9, 
1690 ; they remained silent some days, but at last, urged 
by the governor to speak, they delivered their message by 
six belts. Their spokesman was an Onondaga sachem, who 
had on some former occasion used very plain language to 
the late governor, Denonville. He now demanded, in the 
name of the Five Nations, the return of all the prisoners 
who had been carried to France, including the great war- 
chief ; and said that the council-fire once kindled at Fort 
Frontenac, having gone out in blood, could not again be 
relighted ; and that some other place must now be chosen 
for their treaties. Altogether the message was one of de 
fiance, and not of submission. 


When repeated to Frontenac at Quebec he was disap 
pointed, and as soon as the rivers were clear of ice he sent 
another delegation to Onondaga, on whose arrival the gen 
eral council was called, to which Peter Schuyler and Rob 
ert Sanders were sent as delegates. As to what happened 
at the council, we know only that the Frenchmen were 
seized by the sachems, and distributed among their differ 
ent tribes, some of them perhaps to suffer death. Cheva 
lier D Aux, the chief, was more fortunate. He was given 
to Peter Schuyler and brought to Albany, and thence 
transferred to New York. His papers were secured, 
among which were his instructions from Frontenac, who 
seemed only desirous to learn why the previous embassy 
had been so unsuccessful. When Schuyler returned from 
Onondaga, he found that Leisler s commissioners had as 
sumed entire control of the projected expedition. As he 
could render no efficient service in the city, he collected a 
few Mohawk warriors, and proceeded to Wood Creek on 
the route to Canada, where he engaged in making bark 
canoes for the use of the army. 

General Winthrop, on his arrival at Albany, July 2ist, 
found the army in no condition to march. Small-pox and 
other diseases had carried off many of the troops. Con 
necticut was the only colony which had furnished its quota 
of men. Maryland had sent less than fifty, New York 
only one hundred and fifty of the four hundred promised 
by Leisler. There were none from Massachusetts or Plym 
outh. The supplies were inadequate and of poor quality. 
There was no system or order, no controlling mind. It 
was a poor outlook for the success of the enterprise. It 
is quite probable that the general himself was not well 
qualified for his position, although a man of high charac 
ter. He had no experience as a soldier, or as the leader 
of men. However, he made the best of the situation, and 


hopefully began his march. The troops of his own colony 
made their first encampment for the night at the Flatts, 
the country residence of Peter Schuyler. At Saratoga he 
overtook Dirk Wessels, the recorder of Albany, with a com 
pany of volunteers. So poorly was the commissariat fur 
nished, that within forty miles of his base he was obliged 
to send back a company to procure provisions. They 
were unable to obtain more than thirty-five cakes of bread 
per man, and some pork " scarce eatable." At the "great 
carrying place" (Fort Edward), he overtook the New York 
troops, who were carrying their canoes on their backs a 
distance of twelve miles, to the waters which empty into 
Lake Champlain. Again short of provisions, he sent back 
a company of horse to procure them. Leaving his army 
encamped, and accompanied by a few Indians, he pro 
ceeded down the creek, where Peter Schuyler was making 
canoes, which was slow work because of the lateness of 
the season, when " bark would not peel." He now called 
a council of war, and sought advice from the Mohawk 
chiefs. He got little encouragement or satisfaction. Cap 
tain Johnson, who had been sent back to Albany for sup 
plies, returned and reported that no considerable quantity 
could be procured, because there was none in the city. 
He also brought intelligence from the Indian country, that 
in consequence of the small-pox the western Indians could 
not march to the rendezvous at the Isle La Motte, " for the 
great God had stopped up their way." Small-pox and 
fevers prevailed in the camp at the Forks. The general 
was discouraged. Should he attempt to prosecute the ex 
pedition, there were not canoes enough to carry half his 
troops able to march. Provisions were short, and it was 
not possible to procure them. He called a council of war, 
including the Indian chiefs. After due deliberation it was 
decided to abandon the enterprise. Such a result was a 


great disappointment to the leading citizens of Albany 
then with the army. The influence upon the Indians, it 
was feared, would prove disastrous, and tend to alienate 
them from the English interests. For many years they 
had fought the French without assistance. They had 
made great sacrifices, and had lost many of their people. 
The country of their richest and most populous nation 
had been invaded, their villages burned, and their store of 
grain and growing crops destroyed. Without some dem 
onstration on the part of the English, it was evident that 
they would become cold and indifferent, if not driven to 
make peace with the French and place themselves under 
their care and protection. It was, therefore, thought wise 
to send a smaller force into the enemy s country to commit 
all the damage possible, and thus convince the Indians 
that their English friends were not without courage and 
enterprise. Johannes Schuyler, the youngest brother of 
the mayor, volunteered to command the men, and lead 
them to the French fort La Prairie on the St. Lawrence. 
He was young, but from boyhood had acquired an inti 
mate knowledge of Indian character. The Indians knew 
him well, and had no hesitation in accepting him as their 
leader. One hundred of them joined his company of forty 
Dutch and English. Winthrop gave him the commission 
of captain, furnished him with canoes and some provis 
ions, and, with best wishes for success, despatched him 
on his perilous enterprise, after which he returned with his 
army to Albany. Before he left for Connecticut, he had 
the satisfaction of receiving from Schuyler an account of 
his march into Canada. He had been successful, killing 
six of the enemy and taking nineteen prisoners, besides 
destroying a large amount of property. 

The issue of the campaign was a great disappointment 
to the men who had first projected it. If they could have 


had its oversight and control, without the interference of 
Leisler, the result might have been different. They were 
certainly more competent to make the necessary prepara 
tions. They knew better what was required, and could 
have made ample provision for all contingencies. They 
might not have succeeded, for it was an untried experi 
ment, but, in case of failure, they would have had the 
satisfaction of knowing that all had been done that could 
be to make it a success. It did not fail because Massa 
chusetts did not send her quota of men. She had all she 
could do to protect her own extended borders, including 
Maine. Her fleet captured Port Royal, and after refitting 
sailed for Quebec. Could Winthrop have held on longer 
in his demonstrations against Montreal, and thus detained 
Frontenac and his army for the protection of that place, 
Quebec might have been captured. When Winthrop re 
tired, Frontenac hastened back to his capital, arriving just 
in time to confront the fleet and defeat its design. The 
expedition failed more because Leisler s commission in 
charge was incompetent. 

When Leisler received the news that the army had re 
turned to Albany, he hastened up, and in a rage he 
placed the general and other officers under arrest, calling 
them cowards and traitors. He did not seem to know that 
he was himself in the least to blame. It was all owing to 
the " papists" and to Dominie Dellius, who to avoid arrest 
and imprisonment was obliged to take refuge in New 
England. The Indian chiefs looked on in astonishment. 
They were indignant that men long known and trusted 
should suffer so unjustly. They went to Leisler and de 
manded their release. He rendered a ready compliance, 
fearing the consequences of a refusal. Secretary Allyn 
wrote to him an indignant letter, demanding the honor 
able discharge of Winthrop, and the commissary of their 


troops. He reminded him that " passion is not a cathol- 
icon for the evils of state." Although Leisler disliked 
Allyn, he took his advice, and released the officers on 
parole to appear for trial in New York. 

The destruction of Schenectady and the Canada expedi 
tion accomplished for Leisler that which otherwise could 
not have been done they gave him control of Albany. 
But they did not change his nature or his policy. Believ 
ing his old opponents were still active, he continued to 
arrest and imprison. He knew not the virtues of forgive 
ness and kindness. It gave him little consolation, that he 
had not been recognized by the king. His letters and 
appeals to the ministry and bishops received no response. 
His agents were courteously received, but met with no 
encouragement. He lost the friendship of the New Eng 
land colonies, which in the beginning of his career had 
given him some encouragement. Many of those who 
stood by him in the first stormy days of the revolution, 
now stood aside, and gave him no further assistance. He 
was almost alone. Yet he pursued the same arbitrary and 
dictatorial policy as when he floated to the surface on the 
passions of the populace. On October 8th he superseded 
Peter Schuyler as mayor of Albany, and appointed Cap 
tain Johannes Wendel to the place. On the same day he 
issued commissions for new justices of the peace and of 
ficers in the militia. Two days afterward he appointed a 
board of five commissioners, "to superintend, direct, or 
der, and control all matters and things relating to the city 
and county of Albany," and to take in charge the Indian 
affairs. On October i4th a new board of aldermen and 
assistants was chosen, the members being men he had 
selected. The city and county which had so long re 
sisted his pretensions were now under his authority. The 
people of Queens County were declared "rebels," be- 


cause they were restive under his exactions. The courts 
were suspended, and Milborne was ordered to arrest the 
leaders and try them by court-martial. He was well 
aware that a new governor had been appointed, and that 
in all probability his assumed authority was drawing to a 
close. Friends in New York and elsewhere advised him 
to walk circumspectly, and " temper justice with mercy." 
Yet, under the impression that he would at last be recog 
nized as the lawful lieutenant-governor, arid believing that 
his enemies were still working for his overthrow, he held 
on in his chosen course to the last. 

On January 25, 1691, Major Ingoldesby arrived in the 
harbor with two companies of troops. Sloughter, the 
new governor, who had sailed in another ship, had been 
separated from the fleet in a storm, and had not yet ar 
rived. Ingoldesby demanded possession of the fort, and 
was refused, because he was unable to produce any au 
thority from the king, except his commission as major. 
Leisler suspected it was a trick of his enemies to oust him 
from his place. Two weary months were spent in turmoil 
and confusion. Anticipating an attack on the fort, Leisler 
directed its guns on the city. The situation was critical. 
Connecticut counselled forbearance. The good Dr. Ger- 
ardus Beeckman, a supporter of Leisler, became alarmed, 
and issued an address to the people of Kings and Queens 
Counties, recommending that "all things should remain 
in statu quo until the arrival of Governor Sloughter." 
Little or no attention was paid to Beeckman s address, or 
to the good advice of the sister colony. Protests and 
proclamations were issued by both parties. Party spirit 
raged with violence. Leisler declared Ingoldesby and. his 
associates to be the enemies of God, the king, and the 
people. He commanded them to disband and disperse, or 
be held responsible for the consequence, whether blood- 


shed or other mischief. Only two days before the arrival 
of Governor Sloughter, shots were exchanged between 
the fort and Ingoldesby s command, killing and wounding 
several, and the next day the strife was renewed, but with 
out casualties. 

Sloughter arrived on March i9th, and the conflict 
ceased. Immediately after landing he went to the City 
Hall, published his commission in the usual form, and took 
the oath of office. He then sent Ingoldesby and his com 
pany to take possession of the fort. Leisler, still suspect 
ing a trick, declined, and sent one of his officers to see 
whether Sloughter had really arrived. Sloughter re 
ceived him affably, and sent him back to his master. In 
goldesby returned to the fort expecting a ready surrender. 
It was still refused, and again the third time with words 
of contempt. It w T as growing late at night, and further 
proceedings were adjourned. 

On the following day Leisler wrote a courteous note to 
the governor, assuring him that now, being satisfied of his 
identity, he was ready to surrender the fort. Although no 
answer was returned, Ingoldesby marched his company to 
the gates, and was freely admitted. Bayard and Nicolls 
were released from their long confinement, and soon after 
were sworn in as members of the Council. Leisler with 
several of his friends was put under arrest, and committed 
to the custody of the guards. His political career had 
closed, and his life hung in the balance. He had com 
mitted gross mistakes, but most of all he did not open the 
gates of the fort to Sloughter when first summoned. It was 
an error of judgment that he did not make terms with In 
goldesby two months before. He might have suffered in 
some respects, but his life would not have been in jeop 
ardy. His fear that his opponents might gain some ad 
vantage, his loss of power, his hope to be recognized by 


the king, and his obstinacy would not let him listen to 
the advice of friends and gracefully yield his position. 

The men whom he had persecuted and imprisoned 
were now in favor, and the advisers of the governor. He 
could hope for little consideration. He was aware of this, 
and humbly asked for a personal interview ; if this were 
not granted, then for some mitigation in the rigor of his 
confinement. It was in vain. The legal proceedings pre 
liminary to his trial were executed with despatch. Five 
days after his arrival, Governor Sloughter issued an onler 
for a special term of court to try him for " rebellion and 
murder." A committee of the Council was appointed to 
prepare the evidence against him, of which Nicholas Bay 
ard, his late prisoner in the fort, was one. Three able 
lawyers were selected to conduct the prosecution. On his 
arraignment before the court, he refused to plead to the 
indictment, until it was judicially decided whether he had 
not the authority to administer the government, and do 
what was alleged against him, by virtue of the Nicholson 
letter. The court submitted the question to the Council, 
who gave it as their unanimous opinion that the said let 
ter conferred no authority on Jacob Leisler to assume the 
government. The Assembly, then in session, also passed 
a series of resolutions, containing a long list of charges 
against him. The trial proceeded. Jacob Milborne, his 
old secretary, and now his son-in-law, with six others, had 
been indicted for the like offences, and were tried at the 
same time. Leisler and Milborne refused to plead ; the 
others put in a defence ; But they were all convicted and 
sentenced to death. The governor was inclined to delay 
execution until he should receive instructions from the 
king, and advised that all should be pardoned except Leis 
ler and Milborne. He was, however, overruled by the 
Council and the Assembly, who pressed him for immediate 


execution, more especially of the most guilty. He yielded 
to their advice and entreaties as to Leisler and Milborne, 
and signed the warrant for their execution. The others 
were reprieved. 

When Leisler and Milborne were informed of their sen 
tence, they and their friends appealed to the governor and 
Council to delay the execution until the pleasure of the 
king could be known. To no purpose ; they were hanged, 
and afterward beheaded on May 17, 1691. The place se 
lected for the execution was on Leisler s own estate, near 
the corner of Frankfort and Chatham Streets, New York, 
and their bodies were buried at the foot of the gallows. 

Jacob Leisler fell a victim to the animosities w T hich he 
had engendered. It was a cruel retaliation on the part of 
his opponents for the sufferings, imprisonments, and ignom 
inies they had endured at his hands. Politically it was a 
blunder. In less than ten years, a governor, who had pro 
nounced his execution a " barbarous murder," permitted 
his remains to be disinterred and buried with more than 
usual ceremony in the graveyard of the Dutch Church. 

After the fall of Leisler Peter Schuyler was restored to 
his former positions. He entered upon his duties as mayor 
as though there had been no interruption, and in May the 
Council again appointed him one of the magistrates and 
judge of the Court of Common Pleas. The governor had 
previously nominated him for the Council, and he took the 
oath of office on June 30, 1692. 

The situation on the frontiers demanded Sloughter s im 
mediate attention, and he directe*d the sachems of the Five 
Nations to be summoned to meet him in council at Albany. 
The destruction of Schenectady, the failure of the Canada 
expedition, the raids on the outlying settlements by the 
French and their Indian allies, and the unintelligent man 
agement by Leisler s commissioners had caused much con- 


fusion among the citizens and Indians. The Five Nations 
were losing confidence in the English, and were open to 
the seductions of the French. As soon as affairs at the 
capital would permit, the governor went up to Albany, to 
meet the Five Nations in council, and to take measures 
for the better defence of the frontiers. He visited Sche- 
nectady, and saw the desolation of that once thriving vil 
lage, and of the abandoned farms in its neighborhood. 
Returning to Albany, he had an interview with the "Chris 
tian Mohawks," 1 who cordially thanked him for the return 
of Dominie Dellius, their Christian instructor. Governor 
Sloughter replied with some kind words of sympathy and 
encouragement, and presented them with ammunition and 
other articles suited to their wants and taste. 

On June ist, the representatives of the Five Nations 
having arrived, and the preparations complete, the gov 
ernor and Council, assisted by the mayor, aldermen, and 
military officers, met forty chief sachems of the Five Na 
tions (all being represented) in public council at the City 
Hall. Robert Livingston had returned from exile, and was 
at his old post as town clerk and secretary. The prepara 
tions for these public Indian conferences were made in 
private. The speeches of the governors were written out 
and arranged with their councils and the board of Indian 
affairs. The topics were few, and stated in simple words 

1 Dominie Dellius, minister at Albany, had taken great interest in the 
spiritual welfare of the Indians, more particularly of the Mohawks, who 
were most inclined to the religion of their white neighbors. Large num 
bers of them had followed the Jesuit missionaries to Canada ; others, to 
the number of over a hundred, had been baptized by Dellius. He had 
succeeded in convincing them that the religion of the Protestants was to 
be preferred to that of the Jesuits, and by this means had stopped the 
emigration to Canada. All parties had deplored the loss of so many Mo 
hawk warriors as had been seduced to abandon their country, but the only 
man who had succeeded in stopping their emigration was persecuted by 
a faction, and forced to flee in order to escape a dungeon. 


adapted to the comprehension of the sachems, who, hav 
ing no written language, relied upon their memory in 
making their reply. After the governor s speech the con 
ference adjourned, to give the sachems time to consid 
er his propositions and frame their answer. In council 
among themselves they discussed the various questions 
presented, and sometimes called in a confidential white 
friend to assist them, so that their reply should be what 
was expected and contain nothing offensive. At the next 
session of the conference, the sachem chosen for the pur 
pose would deliver an oration touching all the points sug 
gested in the governor s speech. 

On the present occasion the governor made a brief ad 
dress, alluding to the late difficulties, which were now 
happily arranged, congratulating them on their fidelity, 
warning. them against the French and their Jesuit priests, 
" who are too subtle for you," and closing with a large 
present, among which were four hundred pounds of 
powder, five hundred pounds of lead, and fifteen guns. 
Next to rum, these articles were nearest the Indian heart. 
The quantity on this occasion was a surprise, and won 
their affections. 

The next day four of the Five Nations (the Mohawks 
not joining) replied in a speech of twenty-one proposi 
tions, each one being concluded with a present of beaver 
skins. The day following the Mohawks made their an 
swer. They had some news from Canada to communicate, 
unknown to the other nations, and hence were conceded 
the privilege of speaking alone, although in the presence 
of their brethren. 

At this council, which adjourned on June 5th, it was ar 
ranged to attempt another expedition into Canada, on a 
smaller scale than that of the year before. The governor 
told the Indians that within fourteen days he intended to 


send a party of Christians to Canada, and inquired how 
many would join them. They promised to go home and 
send some men (how many they could not say) to join the 
English forces. 

Frontenac had received reinforcements and supplies 
from France, and was reported to be engaged in concen 
trating troops at Montreal preparatory to a descent on 
Albany. Both Indians and whites brought such informa 
tion as to cause alarm. Sloughter wrote to the other 
colonies for men and means to defend Albany and the 
Five Nations. He made the broad statement, that they 
were the " defence and bulwark of the other colonies." 
" All the colonies would be endangered by the loss of 
Albany." In the replies the propositions were admitted. 
Meantime it was thought prudent to send out a small 
party, more to gain information and penetrate the de 
signs of Frontenac than to do any considerable damage to 
the enemy. It was of this party that the governor spoke 
to the Indians. It was designed that the little army should 
consist of 200 English or Dutch, and 300 Mohawk and River 
Indians, under the command of Major Peter Schuyler, and 
should move north through Lake Champlain. The Sene- 
cas engaged to send 500 men down the St. Lawrence to 
co-operate with them. In fact, Schuyler s force was only 
266 in all 120 whites, 80 Mohawks, and 66 River Indians. 

Schuyler began his march with 120 English, on June 
22d. The Mohawks did not appear according to promise, 
and the recorder, Dirk Wessels, was sent to their country 
to learn the cause. He found the men of two castles 
ready, waiting for the others. On reaching the third, he 
was surprised to learn that they had forgotten their en 
gagement, and were mourning a dead chief. Robert Liv 
ingston exclaimed : "Would to God we had such a force 
that we needed not to count on such heathen for assist- 


ance, for they are a broken reed ; but for the present there 
is no help for it, and they must be tenderly handled." It 
wns the policy of England to rely on " such heathen " for 
the protection of the royal province of New York, while 
France was sending regiment after regiment of disciplined 
troops to Canada. 

Schuyler s march was slow and tedious. His route was 
the same taken by Winthrop the year before. When he 
reached the forks of Wood Creek, he encamped, and be 
gan to build the little vessels which were to convey his 
men through Lake Champlain. Only a few Indians had 
joined him, and, while waiting for them, his provisions 
were consumed, so that he was obliged to send back to 
Albany for another supply. He moved slowly down to 
ward the lake, making canoes, and waiting for his Indian 
contingent. At last he received word that the Mohawks 
had gone by way of Lake St. Sacrament, and would 
join him at Ticonderoga. He now moved on more rap 
idly, and reached the rendezvous on July iyth, where all 
his forces were united. Strange Indians had been dis 
covered lurking about, which caused much circumspec 
tion on the march, and scouts were out night and day. 
Traces of the enemy in considerable numbers were found 
at various places. They were apparently watching his 
movements, and retired as he advanced. They were not 
challenged until within ten miles of Fort Chambly, when 
their scout in a canoe was fired on, and three of the four 
Indians wounded. At a council of war on July 28th, 
within hearing of the enemy s guns, it was determined to 
make an attack on Fort La Prairie, distant about twenty- 
six miles across the country through forests. The next 
day, while alarm-guns were firing from the French forts, 
they constructed a fortification for the protection of their 
-canoes on the River Sorel, and twenty men were detailed 


to guard the little fort containing the canoes, provisions, 
and wounded Indians. The next morning the army took 
up its line of march through the woods toward La Prairie, 
and after making eleven miles Major Schuyler found in 
dications that a large party had recently passed toward 
Fort Chambly. Fearing for the safety of his canoes, he 
detached seven men to strengthen the guard and give in 
telligence of his discovery, that they might exercise all 
needed precautions against surprise. The army marched 
within ten miles of the enemy s fort, and camped for the 
night. Arrangements were now made for attacking at 
daybreak. It was anticipated that in the battle impend 
ing the contending parties might commingle, and as it 
might be difficult to distinguish friend from foe, espe 
cially a friendly Indian from an enemy, each man was or 
dered to fasten a " white ribbon, or piece of tape or linen, 
or bark of a tree upon a lock of hair, and the word was 
Tisago (which is courage) Sopus." 

We will continue in Schuyler s own words : 

" August i st . We resolved to fall upon the Fort, by 
break of day went to prayers and marched towards La 
Prairie, and a mile on this side layd downe our baggage, 
marching over the corne field till within a quarter a 
mile of the Fort, then marched along the water side till 
we came to the \vindrnilne within 80 paces of the Fort. 
On our march we saw a fire upon the land, and as we ap 
proached near the windmill, the fire was stirred three 
times to cause a flame, which we conceived to be their 
signe to the Forte. When we approached the windmilne 
the miller called, fired and killed one of our Indians, and 
one of my Christians fired and killed him attempting a 
second shott, soe that his body hung half in and half out 
of the window. 

"Wee continued our march to storme the Fort, but be 
fore we came to the Fort we found a party of Indians 


under Canoes, whom we engaged and destroyed most of 
them, and immediately after fell in with 420 men lying 
without the Fort ready to receive us ; they charged us so 
hard as to force a retreat of 150 yards, where there hap 
pened a ditch, which our men possessed themselves of. 
The French advancing so farr in their full body were well 
received, and lost many of their Men. We drove them 
back but they rallied and advanced a second time towards 
the ditch & fired upon us, but did us noe damage. In 
stantly our people rose up and discharged upon their 
whole body, & killed a great many ; nevertheless they 
rallied the third time, but to avoid the ditch, they drove 
their men towards the East and thought to divide our peo 
ple ; then we left the ditch, fell into their reer, and then in 
a full body ingaged them in the plain ground and faught 
them fairly, until we drove them into their Fort in great 
disorder and took three French prisoners. 

" Then returned destroying and burning what we could 
of their Corne and hay (the greenesse of the Corne did 
much hinder the burning of it) unto our baggage. The 
prisoners upon examination told us there were 460 men at 
La Prairie, 40 in the Fort with the Gov r and 420 without 
the Fort ; we asked what men had marched by the path 
towards Chambly, they told 300 French and 40 Indians, 
whereupon we were resolved with all haste for our Canoes. 
In all this engagement we had lost but one Christian and 
one Indian and two Christians and one Indian more runn 
away towards our Canoes ; one Christian and the Indian 
escaped, the other Christian was taken. 

" We had not marched Eight miles until our spyes see 
the Enemy lying upon the aforesaid path in a halfe moon, 
the Enemy s scouts fires upon ours who returned to give 
us notice of the Enemy and received no harme ; immedi 
ately we dismounted our baggage. I encouraged my Men, 
and told them there was no other choice, fight or dye they 
must, the Enemy being between us and our Canoes. We 
advanced briskly upon them and received their full volly 
of shott (which killed most of the Men we lost this expe- 


dition) they fought stoutly one whole hour ; a French 
capt" hearing me encourage our Men to fight for the hon 
our of our King and the Protestant Religion, said aloud, I 
am here ready to answer you, but our Men being resolute, 
fell in upon them, broke thro the middle of their body, 
until we got into their reere trampling upon their dead, 
then faced about upon them and f aught them a pretty 
while close, until we made them give way, then drove 
them by strength of arm 400 paces before us, and to say the 
truth we were all glad to see them retreate. After this 
we marched in good order without disturbance towards 
our Canoes, taking our wounded Men along with us. In 
the last fight the Enemy had got our word by one of the 
three men that runn away from us ; this they improved 
very much to their own advantage, several of our men in 
the heat of the fight gott into the body of the French ; by 
reason of the same upon the approach of the Enemy in the 
last engagement the three French prisoners we had taken 
at La Prairie, attempting to escape, were knocked in the 
head by our Indians. . . . 

" Having come at our Canoes we imbarqued and passed 
the River where we tarryed 5 hours for straggling Men 
that came after, in which time five of our Men came to 
the water side & were brought over, and so soon as it 
was darke we advanced homewards one mile and en 

" August the 2 nd . We took our march homewards and 
found 5 Elks in the way, which refreshed our whole com 

" 9 th . We arrived at Albany with all our wounded 
men. . . . 

( Christians 120 } 

"Our numberwas < Mohawques 80 V 266 
( R. Indians 66 ) 

"We lost in the expedition 21 Christians 16 mohaques 6 
River Indians & the wounded in all 25. 

" Soli Deo Laus et Gloria 


"Memorandum: Since the first date of this Journel 6 
Christians and Indians thought to be killed are returned. 

" Thought by all to have killed about 200 French and 

On August 24th, Schuyler presented his report to the 
Council in New York. Governor Sloughter was not there 
to offer his congratulations. He had died suddenly on 
July 23d, while Schuyler was in camp at Crown Point. 

Cadwallader Golden, in his " History of the Five Na 
tions," says : " The French, by their own accounts, lost in 
the several attacks made by Schuyler two captains, six 
lieutenants, and five ensigns ; and in all three hundred 
men, so that their slain were in number more than Major 
Schuyler had with him." ] 

The French accounts to their government immediately 
after the contest report their loss much less than Schuy- 
ler s estimate, and the English loss " nearly two hundred." 
They admit, however, that the battles were the " most ob 
stinate ever fought in Canada ; " and that after the battle 
in the woods they could not pursue, the " men able to 
march being sent to the fort for assistance to carry off the 

John Nelson, an English gentleman, taken prisoner by 
the French on the coast of Maine, arrived at Quebec at 
about the time that the news was received of Schuyler s 
expedition. In his memorial to the English Government 
on the state of the colonies, he says : " In an action per 
formed by one Skyler of Albanie, whilst I arrived at Que 
bec in the year 1691, when he made one of the most vig 
orous and glorious attempts, that hath been known in 
those parts, with great slaughter on the enemies part, and 
losse on his own, in which if he had not been discovered 

History of the Five Nations, ed. 1755, vol. i., p. 131. 


by an accident, it is very probable he had become master 
of Monreall. I have heard the thing reported so much in 
his honor by the French, that had the like been done by 
any of theire nation, he could never missed of an acknowl 
edgment, and reward from the court, tho I do not hear of 
any thing amongst us hath been done for him." 

Perhaps, had Sloughter lived, some notice might have 
been taken of this expedition. Although Schuyler s jour 
nal was sent to the Board of Trade, I find nothing in the 
records to indicate that it was ever brought to the spe 
cial attention of the English government. It was not 
the practice of English governors and officials to give 
much prominence to native New Yorkers, particularly 
those of Dutch extraction. 

If Frontenac had entertained the project of attacking 
Albany, he put it aside after Schuyler s raid on La Prairie. 
But the reports as to his intentions were probably erro 
neous. At the time w r hen Schuyler began his march, he 
was in no condition to take the offensive. The situation 
of Canada was well nigh desperate. During the war the 
French had lost, according to their own reports, over two 
thousand men, of whom more than five hundred were reg 
ulars. There was such want of provisions, that the gov 
ernor could not support his few troops in garrison during 
the previous winter, but had quartered them on the farm 
ers, who had little enough for their own families. It was 
not until the following July that ships arrived from France 
with supplies ; but they brought no reinforcements, and 
the count was still forced to remain on the defensive. 

Schuyler s success made a favorable impression on the 
Indians of the Five Nations. They now were convinced 
that the English could fight, and were willing to risk their 
lives in the war. Hitherto they had done all the fighting, 
and had lost many of their chiefs and warriors. They had 


become despondent, and were inclined to peace. They 
soon learned, moreover, that this expedition was not a spas 
modic effort, but that the government was untiring in its 
measures for the security of the frontiers, and was thus 
prepared for all consequences. The Assembly had voted 
a tax for the support of one hundred and fifty men to be 
stationed at Albany and vicinity for the winter. The for 
tifications of the city were repaired, a new fort was built 
at ^Schenectady, and men were stationed at Niskayuna 
and Half Moon. A company had been raised and put 
under the command of Peter Schuyler, "in all 108 effec 
tive men, upon the spot, except John Burk, who has run." 
All these measures convinced them that the English were 
now in earnest, and did not mean to leave them longer to 
carry on the war alone. They knew, also, that efforts had 
been made to obtain assistance from the other colonies, 
although without success ; so important was it considered 
to protect Albany and themselves from falling into the 
hands of the enemy. 

On June 6, 1692, Ingoldesby, who since the death of 
Sloughter had been acting governor, held a council with 
the Five Nations at Albany. At the close of his speech, 
he gave them a large lot of Indian goods, including four 
hundred pounds of powder and seven hundred pounds of 
lead, besides handsome presents to the chiefs individually. 
The sachems were so pleased with their reception and the 
presents, that they did not wait until the next day, accord 
ing to custom, but replied at once. An Oneida sachem 
said that it was the interest of all, as subjects of one king, 
to prosecute the war with zeal and activity. They would 
join heartily in carrying it on, and would do their utmost 
to destroy the enemy, keeping him in constant alarm, 
searching him out from his holes, and " never let him rest 
till he be in his grave." 


A Mohawk chief said that he was greatly surprised that 
the people of New York and the Five Nations were left to 
prosecute the war alone. "Where are they of Maryland, 
and Delaware River, and New England ? Are they not 
the subjects of our great king ? Are they not in the 
covenant chain with us ? Pray, Brother Corlaer, tell us 
what is the matter. Perchance our great king has sold 
them ; or have they fallen from their obedience ? Have 
they withdrawn their arms from the covenant chain ? Or, 
does the great king command us, the few subjects of this 
province, alone to urge this war against the French ? 
Pray discover to us the mystery. It seems strange to us 
that the enemy should be allowed so much impunity, 
when, if we were united, we could destroy him in a day, 
root and branch." 

The old covenant chain was renewed, and the tree of 
friendship planted ; and, after making their usual presents 
of furs, they returned to their homes to prosecute the war 
with greater activity, but with varying success, and chiefly 
on the St. Lawrence River. The Iroquois had numer 
ous parties out, who kept the French in continual alarm. 
They intercepted parties of traders, although under con 
voy, and almost annihilated the traffic on the river. They 
infested the neighborhood of Montreal, killing, burning, 
and capturing. The river between Montreal and Quebec 
was not safe. The harvests were gathered only under the 
protection of the soldiers. The Iroquois were ubiqui 
tous, and filled the French with consternation and terror. 
Occasionally they met with reverses, and at the close of 
summer had lost many men. 

Frontenac retaliated on the English for the sufferings 
inflicted by the Iroquois. Parties of French and Indians 
infested the frontiers from Maine to New York. They 
perpetrated the same cruelties, and committed the same 


mischief on the unprotected inhabitants, as were endured 
by the Canadians. It was a guerrilla war on both sides, in 
which there was great individual distress and much loss 
of life, but no decided advantage. 

Peter Schuyler, having taken the oath of office, took 
his seat at the Council board on June 30, 1692. He pre 
sented to the Council a statement of the situation on the 
frontiers, showing what was required to put them in a 
state of defence. The garrison at Albany was now in a 
starving condition, and on the point of mutiny. He had 
exhausted his own private stock of grain to supply their 
wants. There was wheat in the neighborhood nearly ready 
for the harvest, but, because of the recent murders by hos 
tile Indians, the farmers could not reap it unless they were 
protected by armed men. The stockades and fortifications 
were decayed, and required a large expenditure for repairs. 
They were all of wood, and at their best a poor protection to 
the inhabitants against such an enemy as the French. The 
people had suffered so much in recent years by the inter 
ruption of trade, in war, and domestic troubles, that they 
were too poor to provide for their own security and the 
safety of the frontiers. It was all they could do to pro 
vide for their own subsistence. His speech made an im 
pression, and the Council promised assistance. 

He hastened his return to Albany for the purpose of 
holding a council with the Five Nations, whose sachems 
and warriors to the number of three hundred and fifty 
came to Albany to solicit aid for another foray into Can 
ada. With the assistance of Robert Livingston, he fur 
nished them with ammunition and other supplies, to the 
amount of fifty-four pounds and fifteen shillings, for a 
summer and fall campaign. If this were all, they would 
have been cheap auxiliaries, but when the large amounts 
in presents given to them at least once a year, and some- 


times oftener, and the wear and tear of patience are con 
sidered, it will appear that they were expensive soldiers. 
Although these Indians were unassisted by English troops, 
they gave the poor old governor of Canada so much to 
look after on his own borders, that he was obliged to put 
off his intended expedition to New York, and content him 
self with small parties of Indians led by French officers. 

Colonel Benjamin Fletcher, appointed in place of Colo 
nel Sloughter, deceased, took the oath of office in New 
York, on August 30, 1692. He was instructed to enlarge 
the fortifications at Albany and Schenectady, and build 
others to protect the people from the incursions of the 
French and their Indian allies, provided that the expenses 
were defrayed out of the revenues of the province, or by 
individual contributions. No help was to be expected 
from England. The poor province was to protect itself in 
wars that were born in Europe, to provide salaries for needy 
men sent over to govern them, to enrich her merchants 
by monopoly of trade, and to fight the Canadian French. 
This was the kind of protection she flaunted in the faces 
of the patriots less than an hundred years afterward. 

Fletcher was also instructed to assure the Five Nations 
of protection against the French, as subjects of the English 
crown, and, when opportunity offered, to buy their lands in 
" large tracts " for " small sums." 

In his first letter to his government, Fletcher said that 
the province was greatly in debt for money borrowed at 
ten per cent, interest to serve a turn, trade much decayed, 
and the people generally discouraged. They are wearied 
with the support of the frontiers, most unjustly left on 
their shoulders, whilst their neighbors to the east and 
south receive the benefit. Even Maryland and Virginia 
are covered, and yet do not contribute a man or shilling 
to the common defence. The people are poor, owing to 


the mismanagement of those who had exercised the king s 
power, and the necessity of carrying on this war by the 
militia and the Indians. " It seems utterly impossible for 
this single province to support the war another year." 
Not only are the people poor, but they are divided and 
contentious, caused by the feuds having their birth in the 
times of Leisler. 

The English Government had begun at last to appreciate 
the importance of New York and the Five Nations as a 
defence to all their American colonies. The proprietors 
of New Jersey were induced to send instructions to their 
officers to render efficient aid to New York. To obtain as 
sistance from Pennsylvania, Fletcher was commissioned its 
governor, as well as of Delaware. Massachusetts, by order 
of the queen, was required to give support whenever called 
for. The next year Fletcher was appointed commander-in- 
chief of the Connecticut militia. It was now supposed that 
the governor of New York was clothed with ample power 
and authority to protect the frontiers, but one thing was still 
wanting. With it, men might be secured to guard the ex 
posed places without calling on the militia of those colo 
nies. Without it, they could not be induced to march, 
even though commanded by Governor Fletcher. From the 
want of money, the frontiers which covered all the colo 
nies were not yet adequately protected. 

Fletcher resolved to visit Albany without previous no 
tice, that he might the better procure a correct knowl 
edge of the frontiers. On September 26th, he wrote a 
note to the Council on the margin of the journal, that he 
was about to leave for Albany, and directed them to 
watch over the affairs of New York in his absence. On 
this trip he visited Schenectady and other settlements in 
the vicinity, and saw their exposed and unprotected con 
dition. He saw, too, some of the representatives of the 


Five Nations, made them some presents, prevailed on 
them to make peace with the Shawanoes, whose delegates 
were in attendance for that purpose, and arranged for 
future operations against the French. 

Schuyler had received information early in the fall, that 
Frontenac had some designs on foot against the province 
or its Indian allies. It was supposed that an attack would 
be made on Albany, owing to its defenceless condition. 
The warning was received in time to repair the fort and 
stockades, and procure additional forces from New York. 
These precautions undoubtedly saved the city from attack. 
The Mohawks suffered instead. Major Ingoldesby was 
in command of the forces stationed at Albany, and was 
charged with the duty of protecting the frontiers,^ includ 
ing the Mohawk country. Hostile parties from Canada 
came up Lake Champlain to Otter Creek on the east side, 
when their destination was toward the villages of west 
ern Massachusetts ; to Ticonderoga, and thence up Lake 
George, when the Mohawk valley was the objective point ; 
through Wood Creek and down the Hudson, if Albany 
and the settlements near by were to be attacked. Parties 
sometimes started from Montreal with no definite plans, 
and left it to chance to determine their ultimate direction. 
At other times they were guided by their Indian allies, 
who turned them almost at pleasure from one point to an 
other. There is little doubt that Frontenac intended to 
strike a blow at Albany, and it was only saved by a gar- 
frison stronger than usual. With a knowledge of French 
enterprise and daring, and the lesson of Schenectady, it 
would have been prudent to watch the paths leading to 
the Mohawk and Albany. This was not done, and on 
February 8, 1693, Albany was again startled with the re 
port, that the French had fallen on the Mohawk castles. 
Lieutenant Johannes Schuyler was immediately despatched 


with a troop of cavalry to Schenectady, but although there 
were some hundreds of soldiers under Ingoldesby s com 
mand, he hesitated to detach any of them to the aid of the 
Mohawks, fearful that there was a large body of the enemy 
on the way to Albany. It was well known that plans had 
been matured in France for the conquest of the province, 
and it was believed the effoi t was to have been made dur 
ing that season. It was not thought probable that the re 
sult of all these preparations was merely a raid on the Mo 
hawks. Twice before their country had been invaded, and 
once all their villages destroyed, but no permanent ad 
vantages had been secured by the invaders. It was not 
possible, so Ingoldesby reasoned, that this expedition, like 
the others, was only for the chastisement of the Mohawks, 
but the detachment of a larger army for the destruction 
of Albany. Hence the delay. 

The Indians chose the summer for their incursions into 
Canada, when the forests were in leaf, affording protection, 
and game abroad, supplying them with food. On the 
other hand, the French were forced to make their attacks 
in winter, when the men were at home, and not on the 
war-path, or engaged in hunting. Louis XIV. had work 
on his hands in Europe, and could not spare his soldiers. 
The conquest of New York was deferred to a more con 
venient season. His active governor of Canada had but a 
comparatively small army with which to make a demon 
stration toward Albany, although it was finally directed 
against the Mohawks. The force consisted of 100 regu 
lars, 325 Canadians, and 200 Indians. They were picked 
men, for none but the strongest could endure the long and 
tedious journey. The French began the march from Fort 
Chambly on January 27th, and were joined by the Indians, 
who were of various tribes, on the 3oth. On February 
1 6th they arrived in sight of one of the Mohawk villages. 


The Mohawks occupied three castles, or villages, two 
within a short distance of each other, and the third and 
largest several miles up the river. As usual, they kept out 
no scouts or watchmen in or around their stockades. In- 
goldesby was also at fault. Prudence would have re 
quired him to patrol the country between Albany and 
the lakes, but this had not been done. The enemy ap 
proached their victims unobserved. Gaining sight of the 
Indian village, the invaders halted until midnight ; when 
all was quiet, they attacked both villages simultaneously. 
Their Indians scaled the palisades, and opened the gates. 
There was no resistance, for the Mohawks were asleep. 
They were taken and bound before they were aware of 
what was going on. The French, too, were surprised for 
another reason. They expected to find the men at home, 
but they w r ere out hunting. They did not find ten men in 
the two castles. Leaving a detachment to guard the cap 
tive women and children, they marched the next day 
to the third castle, at which they arrived in the. night. 
Hearing a war-song, they supposed that they were dis 
covered, but, waiting awhile, all became quiet. The gates 
were opened, as at the other villages, and they rushed in 
without resistance. They killed several men and women at 
the first assault, and subsequently others were butchered 
by the intoxicated Indians. Here they found about forty 
men, most of whom were killed or captured. Frontenac 
had instructed them to kill the men, and to carry off the 
women and children. 

It was now a question of earnest deliberation, whether 
they should march upon Albany. Their Indians objected, 
because they were encumbered with so many prisoners, 
"whom they could not be persuaded to kill," although 
they had promised to do so, " for this was one of the 
points on which the count had most insisted." It was 


finally concluded to retreat. On February 22d, they 
burned the last of the Mohawk villages, and then took 
up their line of march for Canada, having 280 prisoners, 
mostly women and children. 

On February 19, Cornet Abeel returned to Albany from 
Captain Schuyler s troop, and requested that Major Peter 
Schuyler and Major Wessels might be despatched to 
Schenectady to pacify the Indians, who were dissatisfied 
that no soldiers had been sent to their assistance. Major 
Schuyler was permitted to go " at his own request." He 
went without troops, for Ingoldesby was unwilling to 
weaken his forces for the defence of Albany while yet 
uncertain as to the intentions of the enemy. It was not 
until three days afterward that he consented to send 200 
men to the aid of his allies. 

Major Schuyler, on his arrival at Schenectady, sent out 
scouts to gain information. It was known that the French 
were at two of the Mohawk villages, and, supposing that 
they had not yet marched on the third, the scouts were 
directed to hasten thither and give the alarm. But they 
returned without having done the work assigned them. 
Lieutenant Johannes Schuyler and Lieutenant Sanders 
were ordered to take six men and find the enemy. They 
reported that he occupied the two lower villages. The 
next day a large party was sent, with orders to remain and 
watch his movements. They reported by messenger that 
the situation was unchanged, except that from certain in 
dications they supposed the warriors of the upper vil 
lage had received warning, and had come to the rescue. 
Schuyler had kept Ingoldesby informed of all his move- 

1 In the narrative a discrepancy in dates will be noticed. The part 
based on the French accounts follow their dates, or New Style. Other 
portions are taken from English reports, in which the dates are after the 
Old Style. 


ments, and of all that he learned. He now despatched an 
express, requesting troops to be sent at once to join the 
Mohawks and offer battle to the enemy. It was on the 
receipt of this intelligence that Ingoldesby consented that 
200 men should be detached from the 600 he had in and 
about Albany. His neglect to keep out scouting parties 
through the winter left him in ignorance of the intentions < 
or numbers of the French, and he was still fearful of being 
attacked in his entrenchments. Had he now sent a larger 
force properly supplied, the French army might have 
been captured or dispersed. 

The troops were in two companies, commanded by Cap 
tain Mathews, of the regulars, and Captain Arent Schuy- 
ler, brother of the major. They arrived at Schenectady 
in the afternoon, but Ingoldesby had omitted to send or 
ders for an advance. Major Schuyler then despatched 
another messenger for orders, saying that the Mohawks 
threatened to leave, and under the pressure he would be 
forced to march without waiting longer for orders. The 
next day he crossed the river, when the long-waited-for 
order was received ; and at the same time came intelli 
gence that the enemy had burned all the Mohawk vil 
lages, and was retreating. 

Schuyler, with less than 300 English and a few Indians, 
pushed on, and in the evening word came that the Mo 
hawks, who had been hunting, had returned, and would 
join him to the number of six hundred. He immediately 
despatched one of his aids to Ingoldesby, to ask for a 
supply of ammunition and provisions to be sent without 
delay. At two o clock the next morning he was again on 
the march, and soon learned that the enemy was only 
eight miles from him. He pressed forward, and at night 
reached the place where the French had camped the night 
before. Here he waited until noon the next day for the 


Mohawks, who, to the number of nearly 300 men and 
boys, some without arms, joined him, and the pursuit was 
continued. Scouts were kept out to gain information as 
to the movements of the French. It was found by their 
reports, that they were gaining on the enemy, who were 
encumbered with plunder and prisoners. The French 
were at last aware that they would be overtaken unless 
means were found to delay the pursuers. They sent back an 
Indian to inform the Mohawks, that if they were pressed 
too closely they would kill their prisoners. But there 
was no delay. On the 26th Schuyler learned that the 
French were not far in advance, having camped and in 
trenched, as if for the purpose of awaiting an attack. He 
again sent to Ingoldesby for reinforcements and provis 
ions, and marched on. The next morning he came within 
sight of .the enemy in an intrenched camp. He halted 
and made his dispositions for an attack, but his Indian 
auxiliaries w r ere more disposed to throw up some de 
fences, and while felling trees for that purpose the French 
sallied out to attack them. They were, however, repulsed 
and driven back. Again the Indians went to work on the 
defences, and again beat back the enemy. The third 
time the French came on in full force, but were again de 
feated with considerable loss. The pursuers were now left 
to finish their entrenchments without further interruption. 
As the French were well posted and superior in number, 
according to the report of an escaped prisoner, Schuyler 
did not attack them, but watched their movements while 
waiting for the much-needed supplies of food and ammu 
nition. Messengers were sent to Ingoldesby, praying him 
to hasten up more men and especially provisions, of which 
they were destitute, some of the men having been without 
food for two days. On the 28th he was informed that the 
French were preparing to retreat. A heavy snow-storm 


was raging, but he ordered out his troops to intercept 
them. The men refused to march until they had had 
something to eat. Only sixty men, and some Indians 
could be induced to go out and watch them. On the 29th 
eighty men under Captain Simms arrived with supplies. 
The men as they received their rations fell into the line 
of march. At four o clock P.M., the head of the column 
under Captains Mathews and A rent Schuyler, was so near 
the rear of the fleeing enemy, that they proposed to at 
tack it if the Mohawks would join them. They refused, 
because they feared that if the French were attacked, 
they would kill their women and children who were still 
held as prisoners. 

The French were nearing the Hudson River, and it was 
a question whether they could cross it, as the ice had bro 
ken up. They resorted to stratagem to cause delay on the 
part of their pursuers. They sent back some of the pris 
oners to their friends, with word that if they were attacked 
they w r ould surely put to death the women and children. 
Hence the refusal of the Mohawks to join the English in 
making any attack. Schuyler was aware that if the ene 
my once crossed the river they would be safe, and he 
pressed the pursuit with all the more vigor. It was in 
vain. The French reached the river at a place where the 
ice was yet firm. It was a gorge, or bridge, for both above 
and below the water was clear. When Schuyler reached 
the river the enemy had escaped. He proposed to follow, 
but both officers and men were worn out with the ten 
days ceaseless march ; some were now without shoes, 
others without proper clothing, and they remonstrated. 
The Mohawks, fearing for their women, absolutely de 
clined to go any farther. Schuyler, under such conditions, 
was constrained to abandon the pursuit and return to 



Governor Fletcher had arrived at the latter place with 
280 men from New York. The Hudson River being clear 
of ice, an unusual thing so early in the season, the gov- 
ernor was enabled to place his men on sloops and sail for 
Albany as soon as he received intelligence of the French 
invasion. Although he arrived too late to be of any as 
sistance against the enemy, his expedition gave him great 
credit with the Five Nations, who conferred upon him 
the name of Cayenquirago, signifying " The Great Swift 

In this campaign the English loss was 4 soldiers and 4 
Indians killed, 2 officers and 12 men, English and Indians, 
wounded. It was reported by escaped prisoners that the 
French loss was much greater, having 33 killed and 26 
wounded ; among the former were three officers and two 
Indian chiefs. The French narratives of the expedition 
are silent as to their loss, although admitting that their 
wounded embarrassed their retreat. They fortunately 
escaped across the river, but there their greatest suffer 
ings commenced. They found that the provisions were 
spoiled which had been left on their advance for use on 
their return. They were obliged to abandon most of their 
prisoners, and to divide their forces into small parties to 
find game for subsistence. Some halted in camp too weak 
to travel, and waited for food from Montreal, whither some 
runners had been despatched to make known their situa 
tion ; some boiled their moccasons into soup to sustain 
life ; others died of starvation. Those who reached Mont 
real were so wasted by fatigue and hunger that they did 
not seem like human beings. Although Frontenac called 
it "a glorious success," the French admit that in some re 
spects the expedition was a failure. 

Major Schuyler, in his report, says that the enemy left 
twenty-seven of their dead on the field ; and that in their 


flight they burnt their blankets and baggage and beat their 
kettles to pieces to lighten their retreat, and abandoned 
nearly all their prisoners. " The Indians after their nat- 
urall barbarity did cutt the enemies dead to pieces, roasted 
them and eat them." Golden relates : "Major Schuyler, 
(as he told me himself) going among the Indians at that 
time, was invited to eat broth with them, which some of 
them had ready boiled, which he did, till they, putting the 
ladle into the kettle to take out more, brought out a 
Frenchman s hand, which put an end to his appetite." 

Schuyler s conduct in this campaign met with the hearty 
approval of Colonel Fletcher, who recommended him to a 
captaincy in the regular forces, " for he has behaved him 
self well, understands the Indian language, and their way 
of fighting." This praise from an English governor was 
exceptional, but nothing came of it. 

Never before had a governor responded so promptly to 
an alarm from the frontiers, or shown such thoroughness 
in his preparations. The people of Albany were delighted. 
The mayor and aldermen presented him with a cordial ad 
dress, expressing their thanks, and asking that some pro 
vision be made for the remnant of the Mohawk nation, 
now destitute and dispersed. 

The chief sachems of the Five Nations came to Albany, 
and were profuse in their compliments to the governor for 
coming so quickly to their assistance, " a thing never be 
fore known." In the name they gave him, Cayenquirago, 
they likened him to a swift arrow. They thanked him 
heartily for the provision he had made for the mainte 
nance of their brethren, the Mohawks. They had suffered, 
they said, by the French, and were threatened with still 
greater calamities, but with the assistance of their English 
brothers they were resolved to prosecute the war. 

Fletcher made them a very encouraging address, with 


which they were pleased, but he was unable to make them 
any presents, owing to the haste with which he had left 
New York ; but he assured them that those would not be 
wanting at their next interview. Next summer, he said to 
the Mohawks, he would come to renew the covenant-chain, 
and would then bring them something to wipe away their 
tears for the loss of their relations ; meantime Major Schuy- 
ler would provide them a place to live in, and care for 
their support until their castles could be rebuilt " Imitat 
ing the courage of your ancestors, you will seek a severe 
revenge upon the enemies who have burned your villages 
and carried away captive your women and children. You 
will perform such deeds of heroism as will reflect great 
renown upon your nation, and revive, the memory of its 
ancient fame." 

Whatever else may be said of Governor Fletcher, it may 
be said with truth, that he was one of the most active and 
energetic men who occupied the executive chair in colo 
nial times. He made himself thoroughly acquainted with 
the affairs of the province, its wants, and burdens. He 
was early satisfied that, with the Five Nations as allies, it 
gave protection from French aggressions to almost all the 
other English colonies. He saw, however, that the bur 
den of sustaining the war was greater than the people 
could bear without some assistance from those who 
profited by the advantages of its situation. He appealed 
to the government of England to require the other colo 
nies to share the large expenses incurred, and caused the 
Council to explain to the crown the true situation, and 
suggest ways of relief. On his return from Albany, he 
was in frequent consultation with the Council on the situa 
tion, and in April visited Pennsylvania to assume the gov 
ernment of that colony. His stay there was short and not 
agreeable. lie had poor success in securing any assist- 


ance from the Assembly for the protection of the frontiers, 
which were their shield against enemies both French and 
Indian. He wrote to the English minister that the people 
of Pennsylvania were Quakers, who would not themselves 
fight or furnish money for others to fight. He sent an 
agent to England, with instructions to inform the Lords 
of Trade that this province was heavily burdened with 
debt, the treasury empty, and the people wearied with the 
constant drafts for men and money to defend the borders, 
with little or no support from the other colonies ; that the 
supplies and presents necessary to retain the Five Nations 
in allegiance could not longer be furnished by this poor, 
famished colony ; that those poor savages were the chiefest 
and cheapest bulwarks against the French, and that if they 
were lost Albany would be lost, while the other colonies 
could not escape disaster and ruin. 

Although Fletcher could not persuade Pennsylvania, he 
induced Virginia to advance six hundred pounds cur 
rency, and Maryland half as much. The money was a 
material relief, and gave new courage to an overburdened 

Governor Fletcher had engaged to meet the Five Na 
tions in council at Albany early in the spring, but his visit 
to Pennsylvania had caused delay. He did not leave New 
York until June i3th, accompanied by Councillors Bayard 
and Van Cortlandt, who with Peter Schuyler were present 
at all his subsequent interviews with the Indian sachems. 
The minutes were kept by Clarkson, secretary cf the 
colony, and are not as full and particular as when written 
by Robert Livingston. 

The result of these conferences, 1 first with the Schagh- 

1 The official report is published in the Documents Relating to the Colo 
nial History of New York, vol. iv., pp. 38-47, and there is a long account 
also in Golden s History of the Five Nations, vol. i., chap. 10, ed., 1755. 

406 MI LET. 

ticoke and River Indians, then with the Mohawks and 
finally with the sachems of all the Five Nations, during June 
and July, may be set forth in the concluding words of the 
River Indians : " We return you our hearty thanks for re 
newing and making bright that covenant-chain ; we will 
always oil and grease it, that it shall never rust, but be 
kept inviolable with you, our father, and with all the 
brethren of New England, Virginia, Maryland, and Penn 
sylvania." The Five Nations spoke in similar wise : 
" Now we have done, only must tell you again that we are 
extremely glad, and roll and tumble in joy that our Great 
King and Queen have been pleased to enlarge their fa 
vour to us in our greatest necessities, and that there is so 
much unity amongst all the brethren." The remembrance 
of Schuyler s march, and of the governor s quick arrival 
to their assistance, kind words, and very liberal presents of 
arms, brass kettles, clothing, " fashionable laced coats and 
hats," and lesser finery had induced the Indians to keep 
to the English alliance. 

A French prisoner was delivered up to the English, and 
the Indians were urged henceforth to kill men only in 

Milet, a Jesuit priest, resided among the Oneidas. He 
had been taken prisoner some years before, and adopted 
by that nation. It was believed, with good reason, that 
he was rather a spy on their actions than a spiritual ad 
viser, and betrayed the councils of the Five Nations. 
Fletcher was solicited to gain possession of his person, 
or have him sent away. In a private conference he 
labored with the sachems to this end, offering a bright 
Indian boy to take his place. The sachems made some 
vague promises, but refused to comply fully at that time. 

This conference was considered very important. The 
Five Nations had been sorely distressed by the war. Their 


fields had been devastated, their villages burned, and many 
of their bravest chiefs and warriors slain in battle. The 
French, through the Jesuit priests and missionaries, were 
well informed of their low condition, and whispered peace 
in their ears, provided that they would forsake the English 
and make terms with them. Some listened and were se 
duced. They were ready to " bury the hatchet," and were 
active in promoting the French designs. Fletcher, in the 
conference just closed, succeeded in restoring the English 
prestige, and induced them to prosecute the w r ar. 

On his way back to New York, the governor was over 
taken by a messenger with the intelligence, that two large 
parties of French and Indians had left Montreal in an un 
known direction, but it was believed that one was directed 
against the Five Nations and the other toward Albany. 
On receipt of the message, Ingoldesby was ordered to 
scout the country north toward the lakes, and Schuyler to 
station himself with some troops at Schenectady and wait 
for orders. It was afterwards known that such parties had 
commenced their march, but had been recalled by the 
French governor. Thus the frontiers were kept in a state 
of alarm and suspense, requiring vigilance and activity. 
Schuyler sent a Mohawk, one on whom he could rely, to 
Onondaga, to learn, if possible, the truth of this rumor. 
He returned on July 24th, and reported that it was not true 
that the French were about to invade the Indian country. 
But he brought other news, and letters of so much impor 
tance, that Dominie Dellius and Robert Livingston were 
induced to visit the governor at New York and take his 

Before the last conference, some of the Oneidas had sent 
Tareha, one of their sachems, to the Count de Frontenac 
with a message of peace. The letters which Schuyler s 
messenger brought from Oneida were one from the supe- 

408 TAREHA. 

rior of the Jesuits in Canada, and another from the Priest 
Milct to Dominie Dellius the first, thanking him for his 
kindness to Priest Milet in providing him with some com-" 
forts in his captivity ; the second, informing him that 
Frontenac had recalled his war-parties, until he learned 
the result of the council of the Iroquois soon to be held at 
Onondaga, on the proposition of peace. Schuyler, in his 
letter to Fletcher by Dellius and Livingston, says : 

" I need not inform your Excellency how weary the Five 
Nations are of the war, nor of what bad consequence it is 
to have such a general meeting at Onondaga, devised by 
the French to divert them from annoying his territories or 
making any incursions upon his frontiers this season, or 
probably to spin out time till he be ready to make some 
attack upon them or us, since I presume he dare not 
leave Quebec for the present. It is without doubt he has 
some great design, that he is so earnest to make a peace 
with the Five Nations, or else it must be very low with 
him, if so it s a pity our fleet should slip the opportunity. 
Jurian tells me the messenger at Oneida brags much of 
his strength, of their fortifications at Quebec, number of 
men firing mortar-pieces and such stratagems." 

Tareha, on his arrival at Montreal, was received with 
consideration, and was thence conducted by a French offi 
cer to Quebec. Frontemic was polite and considerate ; he 
caused the military to parade, and the men-of-war in the 
harbor to fire salutes, in order to impress the mind of the 
simple savage with his power. In his interview with the 
governor, Tareha presented a belt which told his message. 
Ostensibly he had come to see a relative, but really to open 
negotiations for peace. He said that the Oneidas of his 
village wanted peace, and that he had given notice to all 
the Nations of his intended visit, and of his errand. He 
now spoke for the Oneidas alone, and not for the others, 


The Count by a belt returned his answer that the per 
fidy and cruelties of the Iroquois to his nation would jus 
tify him in holding Tareha himself responsible, and pun 
ishing him for the crimes of his nation. But influenced by 
humanity he would forgive, and listen to words of repent 
ance. If the Senecas, Cayugas, and Onondagas were also 
desirous of peace, they must immediately send two of the 
chief sachems of each nation to express their sorrow and 
regret for the past, and he would then listen to what they 
had to say on the subject of peace. Tareha, promising to 
return in September with another message, was cour 
teously dismissed. He returned to Oneida, and with the 
Priest Milet, then an Oneida sachem of great influence, 
and no longer looked upon as a prisoner, succeeded in call 
ing a council of the Nations to take into consideration the 
subject of peace and the message of Frontenac. 

Fletcher, after the receipt of Schuyler s letter and his 
interview with Dellius and Livingston, \vrote a letter to 
the sachems of the Five Nations to be delivered by a 
trusted messenger. He said he was surprised that, after 
all their solemn promises, the Oneidas had accepted a 
peace belt from the governor of Canada, and had in other 
respects been untrue to their word. He was still more 
surprised that they had presumed, at the suggestion of the 
enemy, to call a general council at Onondaga of the Na 
tions, the River Indians and the English. Albany was 
the place for such councils, as had been the custom. If 
the French wanted peace, they should have applied to this 
government first, when the Five Nations would have been 
invited to the council. This province is true to all en 
gagements, and able to protect you against your enemies. 
Be therefore steadfast to the covenant-chain. The letter 
was kind and dignified. 

On receipt of the letter Major Schuyler despatched Dirk 


Wessels, the recorder, together with Robert Sanders, to 
Onondaga, with instructions to call on the Mohawks and 
the Oneidas on their way, to show them the governor s 
letter, and to dissuade them from attending the council. 
At the upper Mohawk castle the sachems were called to 
gether, and the letter read to them. They decided not to 
attend the council, and to have nothing to do with the 
peace propositions. They sent a message to that effect to 
the other nations with seven bands of wampum having no 

Wessels passed the first Oneida village, and stopped at 
the second, where the sachems were called together, and 
the letter read in their presence, as also the message of 
the Mohawks. They answered that they would not go 
were it not that the Senecas and Cayugas were already 
there, and had sent for them. They proposed to take 
Priest Milet with them, but to this Wessels objected, and 
he remained, his master, the chief, forbidding him to go. 
He was evidently disappointed. 

When Wessels and Sanders arrived at Onondaga they 
were welcomed by the sachems with fourteen bands of 
wampum. Wessels told them that he had been sent by the 
governor with something to offer them, but they endeav 
ored to put him off to the general meeting. This led to 
some conversation ; and to consume the time an Oneida 
Indian, who had just returned from Montreal, where he had 
seen the governor, related what he had heard and seen. The 
governor of Canada, he said, had told him that his master, 
the great king of France, was in a rage with the Iroquois ; 
that he had just sent to Canada thirty great ships with a 
large number of men and abundance of ammunition ; 
thirty more were to arrive in a few days, and fifteen hun 
dred Ottawa Indians were on the march to join him ; that 
he had offered peace to the Five Nations, and if they did 


not accept it in twenty days, he would fall upon them and 
destroy them root and branch, for now beyond the sea all 
was peace, the French king having defeated the English 
and Dutch, and forced them to a peace. 

After this glowing description of the power and inten 
tions of the French governor, some of the sachems turned 
to Wessels, and asked for news from New York. Not to 
be outdone by an Indian, Wessels told them that the Mo 
hawks lately returned from Canada told a different story ; 
they had seen or heard nothing of the great ships, or sol 
diers, or Indian allies. As for peace beyond the sea, it 
did not look much like it, for the king of England had 
80,000 men on 800 ships ready to sail for the invasion of 
France. Moreover, only lately three French men-of-war 
were on the coast of New England, and the largest one, 
carrying 36 guns and 280 men, had been captured. 

The next day Wessels communicated Fletcher s letter to 
the Onondagas, Senecas and Cayugas in turn. They gave 
about the same answer : they were glad to hear his 
thoughts before the general meeting. 

In the afternoon of August i4th, the council of the four 
nations assembled. The Oneidas entered a complaint 
against Wessels, that he had prevented the appearance 
with them of the sachem priest Milet. Although at first 
they were inclined to send for him, they reconsidered the 
matter at Wessel s suggestion, and forbade the Oneidas to 
bring him. 

The next day was spent by the council in discussing 
Fletcher s letter and Frontenac s peace propositions, with 
out arriving at any conclusion. The day following, Ko- 
nassaden the chief sachem of the Oneidas said : 

"As for the Mohawks, they have refused this meeting to 
you, Brethren of Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. It is 
now two years since you were all agreed that if there were 

412 TALK. 

occasion to send to Canada that an Oneida should go. 
Now it happened that Tareha had a French prisoner whom 
he took to Canada to redeem his brother, and so the gov 
ernor of Canada made use of this opportunity to send this 
belt along with him to show to the Five Nations that he 
did there with Coffer them peace; which belt I now deliver 
to you, and refer it to the brethren to accept or reject it. 
I am the same man I was before, and my people will agree 
to your result." 

While the council consulted about the grave questions 
presented, Wessels with the interpreters called on the 
chief sachem of the Onondagas, who was confined to his 
cabin with a lame leg, 1 to consult him on the situation. 
To his inquiries Aquadarondes replied : 

" My understanding stands still about their different in 
clinations, for the Moha\vks are as if conquered, the Onei- 
das wavering. The Senecas have great force, but more 
inclined to beaver-hunting than war, so that the Ononda 
gas lie in the greatest danger. You hear in your ears the 
cry of women and children for the loss of their husbands 
and fathers. Great promises were made, now near five 
years ago, that Quebec should be taken by sea, but I don t 
hear that it is done. I speak not in reference to our 
brother, Cayenquirago (governor of New York), he be 
haves himself like a soldier and hath not been long here. 
New England, Virginia, and Maryland do nothing that we 
hear of. Our brother hath renewed the covenant for 
them, but that doth not knock the enemy in the head. So 
my senses are drunk, not knowing what to do." 

Aquadarondes was subsequently persuaded to attend 
the council ; and to carry out the farce of the " lame leg," 
he was supported to the wigwam on the shoulders of four 
men. He began his speech with a song, according to the 
custom of his nation : 

1 An excuse for not attending the council. 

TALK. 413 

" The enemy is like a bear that we must beware of, and 
not be deceived by fair words. We must not also wholly 
reject him so as not to hear him at all. It is well known 
the governor of Canada hath always deceived us, so like 
wise the Jesuit in Oneida that causes all this disturbance 
amongst us in our country. We hearken too much to the 
governor of Canada, that he should oiler us his deceitful 
patronage without considering that we have been for ever 
in covenant with our brethren without deceit herein. The 
governor of Canada shows his desire but I believe him 
not. Who knows when he will open his deceitful design. 
You have heard my opinion, I refer the rest to the breth 

Wessels then read the governor s letter, wishing them to 
take it into serious consideration, and not break the cov 

Two days more were spent by the council in apparently 
fruitless discussion. But the sachems were approaching 
a conclusion. 

On the i Qth there were eighty sachems present in 
council. A leading chief was the speaker : 

" Tell our brother, Lord of the Swift Arrow, the cove 
nant we made of old, we will keep inviolate. Here hangs 
the belt sent by the governor of Canada. We are resolved 
not to go to him. We will not do as formerly, capture 
and kill his messengers, but we will let him know, if he 
would treat for peace, he must go to our master, Governor 
Fletcher. He is master over us, just as the governor of 
Canada is master over his Indians." He laid down a 
broad belt of wampum. 

" Tell our brother, to manage the war against Quebec 
better than heretofore. He is a soldier. Let us see his 
prowess. Tell our brother, when any mischief is done in 
New England, they must not lay it to us. Tell our 
brother, this is our old Council house, in which we con 
sult together, as in ancient times. Tell him we acknowl- 


edge him our master, and we will listen to no one who 
speaks of peace." He also laid down a belt 

Wessels reminded them that, though they accepted the 
governor of New York as their master, they were resolved 
to disobey him by sending another messenger to Canada, 
and by declining to surrender the Jesuit Milet. 

Aquaderondes answered that they had not hearkened to 
the governor of Canada, but would send a messenger to 
him, only to let him know that the governor of New York 
was their master. As for Milet, they had used all their 
means to have him surrendered, but his owner would not 
give him up. 1 

The council now adjourned, after a session of four 
days. The Five Nations were in a position which made it 
of great importance to act deliberately and wisely. A 
false step might have proved their ruin. Wessels and San 
ders had not accomplished all the governor wished, but in 
the main had been successful in their mission. The Five 
Nations were held to their allegiance, and pledged to 
prosecute the war. They had reason to be satisfied with 
the result, so far as they were concerned. The negotia 
tions between the Five Nations and Canada were not, 
however, closed, but continued for months until peace 
was secured. The council had reserved the right to send 
a belt to the governor of Canada to inform him, as the 
subjects of New York, they could do nothing without the 
consent of Governor Fletcher, with whom he must discuss 
the terms of peace. 

Tareha, the Oneida chief, who brought the first peace 

1 When Milet was taken prisoner he was assigned to an Oneida sachem 
as his owner. Although Milet had been made a sachem, he still belonged 
to his master who had control of his person. It was not the custom of 
the Five Nations to surrender such prisoners unless their owners consented. 


belt from Canada, was delegated to carry to Frontenac the 
belt and message of the council. He arrived in Canada 
in the following October, and delivered the message with 
the belt. Frontenac promptly rejected it with the remark 
that since the Iroquois were not willing to accept the 
terms he offered, he would find means to constrain them. 
Tareha, however, succeeded in gaining favor for himself 
and for that section of the Oneidas which he represented 
on his first visit. 

Late in November, Major Schuyler received news from 
Onondaga that Tareha had returned, together with a re 
quest to meet the Five Nations in council at Onondaga 
without delay. Although it had been agreed that such 
councils should be held at Albany, the matter was so im 
portant that Governor Fletcher directed him to accept the 
invitation. He accordingly left Albany on January 4, 
1694, persuaded the Mohawks to send four sachems with 
him, and proceeded several miles beyond the Mohawk vil 
lage, where he found the snow so deep, that he was obliged 
to return. Two Indians were employed to carry a belt to 
the council, informing them of his inability to travel fur 
ther, and requesting them to meet him in Albany, as soon 
as the travelling should permit. 

The sachems of the Five Nations duly appeared in Al 
bany, and on February 2, 1694, held a conference with 
Major Schuyler and the magistrates in the City Hall, Gov 
ernor Fletcher not being present. Dekanissora, sachem 
of the Onondagas, and a great natural orator, was the prin 
cipal speaker for the Indians. In beginning, he addressed 
the governor by his Indian name, Cayenquirago, as though 
he were present, and Major Schuyler, whom he called 
Quidor, as the governor s representative. 

During the four days of negotiations it became evident 
that the Indians still wished to leave a loophole for inter- 


course with the French, and that it would be impossible to 
prevent them. Dekanissora had at first asked to send a 
message to Frontenac that the Five Nations were ready to 
make peace with the French, " not only to throw down 
the kettle of war and spill it, but break the kettle into 
pieces that it may not be able to be hung over again," 
but on condition that the English of New York should be 
included, as "we are inseparable and can have no peace 
with you so long as you are at war with them." This 
Schuyler absolutely refused, but, after urgent entreaty, 
consented to allow two messengers to be sent to the Pray 
ing Indians, to say that the French need not expect them 
in the spring, as they had agreed to meet in Albany ; that 
they would grant a truce for forty days if it were respected 
by the French and their Indians, and that in this interval 
if they or the French had anything to say to them they 
could come safely. This message was written out both in 
English and French, but Schuyler refused to send messen 
gers of his own, leaving it all to the Indians. 1 

On February i4th, Schuyler wrote to Governor Fletcher : 

" I have struggled with the sachems of the Five Nations 
ten days. . . . They are awed and wearied of war, 
and distrust much our ability to support them against the 
growing power of the French. I would not for anything 
I had gone to Onondaga to have been there at their meet 
ing. Then I should have quite despaired of ever effecting 
what I have done now, for I never found them speak with 
more hesitation, yet I have gained that point, to win time 
until .your Excellency comes up, when they all engage to be 
here and Dekanissora in person, who is the man the Gov 
ernor of Canada so much longs for. By this message to 
the Canada Praying Indians the French will find they can 
not too much depend upon their words, but will see they 

1 A full account of this council is in Col. Doc. iv. pp. 85, and in Golden, 
i. pp. 165-173. 


are so far influenced here to obey your Excellency s com 

Robert Livingston also wrote to the same effect : 

" I fear nothing will prevent their inclination for peace 
with the enemy, except we were fortunate enough to com 
mit some spoil on the enemy, whereby we might be made 
formidable in their eyes, complaining that they see nothing 
that the English gain upon the French." 

Indeed, it was admitted by all well-informed persons, 
that the Indians were tired of the war, because their fore 
most chiefs and warriors were slain, their crops destroyed, 
as well as their hunting and trade ; they were poor and dis 
tressed ; their spirits wellnigh broken. They had gained 
nothing by the war, while the English, not of New York 
only, but of all the colonies had been protected at the ex 
pense of their lives and blood. They gloried in war, and 
were proud of their fame. They began to see that war 
had its drawbacks, and that fame might be purchased at 
too high a price. They saw that their country had become 
the battle ground between two rival nations, while they 
were the principal sufferers. They desired peace for 
rest and recuperation, and had become willing to see the 
rivals fight out their own issues without their interference. 
Their blood had been shed fora nation apparently too poor 
to defend itself, and which rendered them no material as 
sistance, relying upon them as the " cheapest defence," 
while the enemy was growing in strength and extending 
his conquests chiefly by his own means and energies. They 
had become the allies of the English through the Dutch 
who had always treated them with consideration, and were 
at peace with their northern neighbors. No rivalries had 
existed between the Dutch and the French, and they had 
not been required to defend the borders, but had been left 


to pursue their hunting in peace, or wage their own wars 
against nations not more powerful than themselves. 

The Indian couriers, who left Albany in March, arrived 
in due time at Montreal, and were immediately sent to 
Frontenac at Quebec. When the message they conveyed 
was understood, Frontenac kicked away the belts they 
had brought, and by this mark of contempt, indicated to 
the proudest nation in all the New World his indifference 
to peace. He addressed them in a haughty tone ; but be 
coming mollified, he directed them to return home with 
his belt and message to the Iroquois. He demanded that 
Dekanissora and two chiefs of each nation should be sent 
to him within two moons, during which time he would tie 
up the hatchet. But if they did not come he would no 
longer listen to them, and would "commit to the kettle " 
any one so rash as to attempt further negotiations. The 
way was now open to Dekanissora and those with him. 
It was to his voice only that he would listen. Should 
others attempt to come without him they would hardly 
escape " roasting." 

The couriers returned to Montreal, and were there per 
mitted to deliver their belts to the Indian proselytes, who 
in turn rejected them. The poor messengers returned 
home bearing Frontenac s belt, and two to the same pur 
port from the proselytes. Their report of what they had 
seen and heard, in connection with the messages, made a 
profound sensation at Onondaga. The sachems were 
alarmed, and immediately arranged to comply with Fron 
tenac s demands by sending Dekanissora and other leading 
chiefs to Quebec, in violation of their engagement to 
Schuyler. These delegates took their departure for 
Canada about the time that Sadakanahtie, the great war 
chief of Onondaga, and other sachems left to meet Gov 
ernor Fletcher at Albany. 


Dekanissora and his party arrived at Montreal within 
the time appointed. Frontenac received them with great 
kindness at Quebec. Two days afterward, May 23, 1694, 
he gave them a public reception, at which were assembled 
the dignitaries of the province, the clergy, and military 
officers including the principal Indian chiefs. 

Dekanissora was in his element. He was proud of his 
eloquence and his position. He now stood on the " mat 
of Canada," a place he had longed to occupy, clothed in 
the "lace coat and hat " presented to him by Governor 
Fletcher. In person he was tall and graceful, easy in 
manner, fluent in speech. He presented ten belts, and in 
explaining their meaning he employed all the arts of a 
cultivated orator. The count and the audience were de 
lighted. 1 

In the name of the Iroquois nations he asked for peace, 
which should include also the Lord of the Swift Arrow 
and Peter Schuyler, " mayor and commandant of Albany." 
The former governors of Canada had begun the war in 
which there had been much blood shed on both sides. 
He appealed to the Frenchmen recently adopted by his 
nation, to the proselytes from the Mohawks, and those 
from the Onondagas, to unite with him in pleading for 
peace. The chief men of the Iroquois had been destroyed, 
and the nations needed peace. The French had cause for 
anger, but they s*hould expel it from their hearts. The 
earth even around Fort Frontenac was red with blood. It 
should be hidden from sight and memory. The rivers 
and the forests were polluted. They should be cleansed. 

1 Golden says (i. 164), " He was grown old when I saw him, and heard 
him speak ; he had great fluency in speaking, and a graceful elocution, 
that would have pleased in any part of the world. His person was tall 
and well made, and his features to my thinking, resembled much the 
Busto s of Cicero." 


Peace was the remedy for all their sufferings. "We were 
in darkness. The heavens were obscured. By this last 
belt I dispel the clouds, and fasten the sun above us that 
we may once more enjoy the light of peace." 

The count answered him the next day with seven belts, 
promising peace on certain conditions, refusing, however, 
to include the English and Dutch. At the conclusion of 
the audience the governor gave them a fine entertainment, 
and large presents. They then set out for home, con 
ducted by a retinue of French officers. 

Compared to this convention for display and parade, 
those at Albany were insignificant. Frontenac insisted on 
holding his more important conferences with Indians at 
the capital, where the chief officers of the province, civil 
and ecclesiastical, resided, and where at times large fleets 
were at anchor. It was natural for the Indians to be fond 
of shows and finery, and to be impressed with a display of 
strength and power. These occasions added much to 
Frontenac s influence over the Indian tribes. At this 
period the governor had greatly disposed the Five Nations 
to peace by exhibiting to those who had been to Quebec 
the war-ships in the harbor, military parades, the thun 
ders of the artillery, and the fortifications of Quebec. 

About the time appointed at the convention with Major 
Schuyler in February preceding, Sadakanahtie and other 
sachems appeared in Albany to meet Governor Fletcher. 
The records are singularly silent as to the proceedings of 
this conference. Fletcher returned to New York on May 
i4th, O.S., and informed his council that he " had intend 
ed to have given them the perusal of what passed at Al 
bany," but finding some clerical errors in the proceedings 
he had left them for correction. They were probably re 
corded in the books of the Board for Indian Affairs now 
lost, and never sent to the home government. About this 


time Robert Livingston was preparing to visit England on 
his own affairs, and those for the Indians were committed 
to other hands. Fletcher missed the old secretary in pre 
paring his speeches, and in copying the proceedings for 
transmission to his government. .In the historical manu 
scripts there is a record showing that the couriers, de 
spatched to Canada in the winter, reported to the conven 
tion then assembled, that they had delivered the belts as 
directed, but that they had been rejected. On their re 
turn from Quebec the governor of Montreal gave them a 
paper, which they now presented to Governor Fletcher 
and the Five Nations. 

Golden saw the records of the Board for Indian Affairs, 
and copied some of the proceedings. 1 

The Indians at this meeting acknowledged that, con 
trary to their promise, they had sent envoys to the 
French, but excused themselves on the ground of fear. 
They must have peace. They were worn out by war, and 
while the French constantly received men from over the 
sea, they got no assistance from the other English col 
onies. After some discussion Fletcher agreed to meet the 
Indians again at Albany after a delay of a hundred days, 
during which he gave notice to the other English col 
onies, and invited them to send commissioners, in order 
to prevent in some way this peace with the French, which 
would be to all of them so disastrous. 

The coming convention was of great importance, and no 
pains were spared to make it successful. Fletcher had 
learned something from the French, and as the same 
sachems, who had been so well received at Quebec in 
May, were to be present at this, he did not wish to be 
outdone by his northern neighbor. The New England 

1 History of the Five Nations, I., 173-179. 


colonies had been invited to send some soldiers and to be 
represented by their highest officials. He wished, if pos 
sible, to obliterate the impressions made at Quebec by 
superior numbers and a grander display. His invitations 
had been favorably considered by the other colonies. If 
they could not send their soldiery, they determined to 
send delegates with appropriate presents. 

Governor Fletcher called a meeting of his Council at 
Albany, on August i3th, to consider some matters con 
tained in a letter of Sir William Phipps, governor of Mas 
sachusetts, who wished to be informed as to the mode 
of making presents to the Five Nations ; whether they 
should be given in the name of the colonies furnishing 
them, or in the name of the king ? New York had always 
presented them in the name of the king, and the Council 
determined this to be the better method on this occasion. 
At a subsequent meeting, attended by the delegates from 
Massachusetts and Connecticut, the subject was again 
considered, and the same conclusion was reached, that all 
presents should be made in the name of the king, without 
naming the colonies who furnished them. After this ques 
tion was settled, Governor Fletcher made a brief state 
ment as to the situation of this province, and of the Five 
Nations, showing the absolute need of assistance to pro 
tect the frontiers a matter in which all the colonies were 
deeply concerned. The delegates from Massachusetts 
and Connecticut were silent, and the meeting adjourned. 
The next day, Governor Hamilton of New Jersey now 
being present, the subject was revived. Hamilton and 
Colonel Pinchon of Massachusetts agreed with Governor 
Fletcher, that for the safety of all the frontiers of New 
York should be guarded by at least five hundred men dur 
ing the war. But no assistance was offered, and no action 
taken. New York received poor encouragement. Massa- 


chusetts, however, proposed that the Five Nations inter 
pose in her behalf against the eastern Indians. This 
proposition was objected to as inexpedient at the present 
time. In the treaty about to be made all the colonies 
were to be included, after which Fletcher promised to 
inform the Five Nations that the war by the eastern In 
dians on Massachusetts was an infraction of the covenant- 
chain, and call upon them to join him in an energetic pro 
test against it. 

On the morning of August 15, 1694, there were assem 
bled, in the City Hall of Albany, Governor Fletcher with 
five members of the Council, Governor Hamilton of New 
Jersey, three delegates from Massachusetts, two from Con 
necticut, and all the magistrates, with many of the leading 
citizens, of Albany. The regular troops and militia passed 
in front of the hall. Five Mohawk sachems, three Onei- 
das, seven Onondagas, four Cayugas, with a retinue of 
Indians of inferior rank, marched from their lodgings, es 
corted by officers in showy uniforms, through the street 
lined with military into the hall, with Rode, the chief of 
the Mohawks, at their head, "singing songs of joy and 
peace." They were received by Governor Fletcher and 
the foreign commissioners with all due formality. 

And yet, after all this parade and show, almost nothing 
was accomplished at this council. The Indians were de 
termined to make peace with the French ; they were un 
willing to fight longer alone, and without support from 
their English allies, and just this support not any of the 
colonial delegates could assure them. Fletcher, in a pri 
vate conversation, took advantage of the only loophole 
left, when the sachems told him that the peace wanted only 
his approbation. He allowed them to make peace, pro 
vided that they also kept faithful to their covenants with the 
English. He could, however, receive no proposals from 


the French, as peace could be made only by the two kings. 
But he asked whether they would permit the French to 
build again the fort at Cadaraqui. When the Indians an 
swered that they should never allow this, Fletcher said : 
" If you permit the French to build anywhere on that lake, 
there will be an end of your liberty ; your posterity will 
become slaves to the French. If ever you should permit 
them, I will look on it as an absolute breach of the chain 
with us. If the French attempt it, give me notice, and I 
will march the whole force of my government to your as 
sistance." This was not without its effect. 1 

The covenant-chain was renewed with the English, the 
council was dissolved, and Fletcher wrote to the Lords of 
Trade his impressions. 

"The Five Nations have patched up a peace with the 
governor of Canada, being weary of the Avar. All well- 
informed persons here believe they are not altered in their 
affections to this province, or in love with the French. 
They were much wasted by the war, and no longer able to 
bear its burdens without the assistance they could not re 
ceive. I found the necessity upon me to acquiesce, not 
being in a situation to do otherwise. Should it happen 
that they transfer their allegiance to the French, Virginia 
and Maryland would quickly be in a flame. Although 
much wasted, they have done great injury to the French 
settlements. Among the presents I intended for them were 
some guns, powder, and lead, but, inasmuch as they had 
made peace, I did not present them." 

Dekanissora, when he was at Quebec, had promised to 
return in eighty days, and finish the negotiations for peace. 
Meantime Frontenac concentrated his troops at Montreal, 
with the intention of proceeding to Cadaraqui to rebuild 

1 See Golden, i., pp. 179-188, for fuller particulars. 


the fort before there were any further complications. His 
progress was stopped by the appearance of a few Iroquois 
sachems, who brought back thirteen prisoners, including 
the Jesuit Milet, and who asked him to stop the war on 
the English. On his refusal they notified him that some 
of their sachems were at Albany deliberating on his pro 
posals of peace, and on their return Dekanissora would 
hasten to meet him as agreed. 

But Dekanissora failed to keep his appointment, and 
Frontenac sent two of the proselytes to Onondaga for in 
formation, bearing belts and messages to the Iroquois. 
These envoys arrived at Onondaga in time for a great In 
dian council, to which the English had also been invited 
(January 31, 1695). Frontenac, \vhile thanking the Five 
Nations for the surrender of Milet and his comrades, de 
manded the delivery of all the prisoners, and the presence 
of a delegation at Quebec in the spring to complete the 
peace. He informed them that he intended to put again a 
garrison at Cadaraqui, and that the eastern Indians had 
been sent to New England " to fight, and not to fetch 
beavers this winter, but scalps." Father Milet sent word 
that Governor Fletcher had delivered to the French all 
his prisoners, and had offered to help Count de Frontenac 
destroy all the Iroquois. The hint of Fletcher at the Al 
bany convention now produced its effect. The Indians 
absolutely refused to allow Cadaraqui to be reoccupicd, 
and rejected all of Frontenac s propositions. One of the 
speakers said, addressing Frontenac : " You call us chil 
dren you have .begotten. What father are you? Yen 
deal with us whom you call children as with hogs, which 
are called home from the woods by Indian corn and then 
put in prisons until they are killed." 

The peace negotiations were now at an end, but, before 
returning to speak of the events which accompanied them, 


I propose to examine the situation of the province of New 
York as to population and resources, and learn whether 
it was in a condition to prosecute the war with any vigor, 
or render any efficient assistance to its allies, the Five Na 

The territory of New York under the .Dutch extended 
from the Delaware to the Connecticut River, including 
Long Island, when the English took possession in 1664. 
New Jersey was given to some court favorites, 1 and the 
country on the south side of the Delaware Bay and River, 
now the State of Delaware, was left for a time in an in 
determinate condition, without a government. Another 
section lying west of the Connecticut to within twenty 
miles of the Hudson was yielded to the colony of Con 
necticut. The population was now chiefly confined to 
Long Island and New York. The large grants of land on 
the east side of the Hudson to a few individuals seriously 
interfered with the progress of population, and that por 
tion of the province was very thinly settled, riot only at 
this period, but for a long time afterward. On the west 
side of the Hudson, between the north line of New Jersey 
and Albany, there were only two or three small villages 
in Ulster County. Gradually all the land on the west side 
of the river to a depth of twenty miles was purchased 
from the Indians and opened for settlement. All the 
country west of that line still belonged to its native pro 
prietors, occupied here and there by their cabins and 
cornfields. It will be seen that the territory of the prov 
ince which could be occupied was confined to Long 
Island, Staten Island, Manhattan Island, and two strips of 
land on the Hudson River, each twenty miles wide, ex 
tending north to Saratoga. Of this territory a few large 

1 Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret. 

CENSUS. 427 

landed proprietors and the Catskill Mountains occupied 
nearly one-half. 

It does not appear there was any census of the inhabi 
tants before 1698. In 1673 the number of men in the ten 
Dutch towns of Long Island was 645. In 1678 Sir Edmund 
Andros estimate^ the number of men able to bear arms at 
2,000. In 1686 Governor Dongan said that it was difficult 
to determine the number of inhabitants, but he had ordered 
an account to be taken. Nothing came of it. 

In 1697 Governor Fletcher directed a " perfect census 
to be taken of the city and county of Albany, showing 
the number of inhabitants before the war and now ; how 
many families and persons removed during the war ; how 
many were killed and taken prisoners ; also the number 
of the Five Nations and River Indians before the war and 
now." The following was the result : 

In 1689, before the war, there were in the city and 
county of Albany 662 men, 340 women, and 1,014 children. 
At the close of the war, in 1697, there were 382 men, 272 
women, and 805 children. During the time of the war, 
124 men, 68 women, and 209 children had removed to 
other places. Of the men 84 had been killed by the 
enemy, 16 taken prisoners, and 38 had died from natural 

Before the war the men of the Five Nations numbered 
2,550 ; after the war, 1,230. The River Indians, including 
the Schaghticokes, were reduced from 250 to 90 men. 

In 1698, a year after the close of the war, a particular 
enumeration of the inhabitants of the province was made 
by the direction of the Earl of Bellomont. It was found 
there were 5,066 men, 4,677 women, 6,154 children, and 
2,170 negroes in all, 18,067. Of this total there were on 
Long Island 7,208 whites and 1,053 negroes, or 8,261 in 
all. In Albany County there were 1,453 whites and 23 

428 CENSUS. 

negroes ; Ulster and Dutchess Counties had 1,228 whites 
and 165 negroes ; New York, 4,237 whites and 700 ne 
groes ; Richmond, 1,063 whites and negroes ; Westchester, 
1,063, an d Orange, 219. 

It is seen that there were only 2,681 whites and 179 
negroes in the frontier counties of Albany, Ulster, and 
Dutchess, while the bulk of the population was in portions 
of the province one hundred and fifty to two hundred 
miles distant. Estimates made by three well-informed 
persons, old residents, in 1696, agree substantially with 
the census of 1698. Jacob Leisler, son of Jacob Leisler, 
former military commandant, and his friend, Abraham 
Gouverneur, in the memorial of 1696, stated that in 1688 
there were 8,000 families and 12,000 fighting men in the 
province. The census made ten years afterward by their 
friend and patroon, Bellomont, proved that they were in 
error, or that there had been a great diminution. But 
they were young men with a limited knowledge of the 
province outside of New York, and had a purpose to ac 
complish. Their memorial gave false information on all 
the facts with which it pretended to deal. 

The census of 1703 showed a population of 20,748, white 
and black. In 1712 Governor Hunter ordered a census to 
be taken, but reported returns from only five counties, 
showing an increase of thirty-five per cent, in nine years. 
Writing to the Lords of Trade on this subject, the gov 
ernor said : " I have not been able to obtain a complete 
census, the people being deterred by a simple superstition 
and observation that the great sickness followed the last 
numbering of the people." Again, in 1715, he wrote, "The 
superstition of the people is so unsurmountable I believe 
I shall never obtain a complete census." This phase of 
census-taking tempts me to make another quotation. 
Governor Burnet wrote, in 1726 : 


" I send you a census of New York taken in 1723. I 
would have had one taken of New Jersey, but was advised 
it would make the people uneasy to attempt it. They are 
generally of New England extraction, and thereby enthu 
siasts. They would take it for a repetition of the sin of 
David in numbering the people, and might bring the like 

As the population of the province was small, no large 
amount of revenue could be expected. It was derived 
chiefly from duties on imports and exports of merchandise, 
from the excise, and from quit-rents. In 1687 it amount 
ed to ^"3,000 currency. The reason why it was so small 
was given by the Assembly of 1693 : " The ports on either 
side of us are free of any duties, while this is clogg d." 

Chidley Brooke, collector of the port and receiver- 
general, rendered an account of revenues received and 
disbursed from 1690 to 1696, showing the entire amount 
received from all sources to have been ^17,403 currency 
for the six years. 

In their statement to the Lords of Trade, 1696, Messrs. 
Brooke and Nicoll fixed the average yearly revenue at 
about ^4,000. Fletcher at the same time said it was only 
about ^"3,000, because of the loss of trade in war-times. 
Governor Bellomont, in 1698, attributed the decrease in the 
revenues since 1687 to the dishonesty of merchants and 
of the revenue officers. He was a Leislerian, and as an 
enemy of Fletcher he made no allowance for the revolu 
tionary troubles and the burdens of the war. He sent to 
the Lords of Trade a statement of the revenues from 1692 
to 1697, in which it appears that the largest amount re 
ceived any one year was ,3,934. He said, " To prove that 
Governor Fletcher and Mr. Brooke were corrupt, I dare 
undertake to make it double that amount." He spoke 
without the book. Although the war was closed, and 


trade had revived, the revenue the first year of his ad 
ministration amounted to ,5,267, and the next to ^5,400. 

Out of these revenues were paid the salaries of officers, 
including the governor, and all expenses of the govern 
ment. An official in England, known as the auditor-gen 
eral, received five per cent, on the gross receipts for doing 
nothing. His office was a sinecure, bestowed upon a poor 
minister or a court favorite. 

These statistics are enough to show that New York 
alone had not the ability to prosecute the war successfully, 
or with energy. Albany was situated on the frontiers one 
hundred and fifty miles or more from those portions of the 
province which contained the bulk of the population. With 
her few inhabitants, and a small garrison of regular sol 
diers, she was unable to protect the outlying settlements, 
or even to defend herself. The greatest danger was in the 
winter, when there was no communication with New York 
except by Indian runners. The enemy s base of opera 
tions was at Montreal, whence his parties started on their 
raids, provided with all things necessary for a winter cam 
paign. The success of these forays against Schenectady 
and the Mohawk country showed the importance of hav 
ing a strong force stationed at Albany and the smaller 
places in its vicinity, during the winter season especially. 

The French in Canada were not left to prosecute their 
enterprises unaided and alone. Their home government 
sent out almost every year large detachments of soldiers 
with all needed supplies. The governor was clothed with 
ample authority to impress into the service, when occa 
sion required it, all the able-bodied men of the province. 
France furnished all the funds, and bore all the expenses 
of the war. 

On the other hand, England furnished only two com 
panies of regulars of one hundred men each. These, when 


full, were only sufficient to garrison the fort at New York, 
and, in time of peace, the fort at Albany. But they were not 
always full. By death and desertion they were sometimes 
reduced to one-half of their complement. Besides, they 
were poorly paid and poorly supplied. There was some 
excuse for this neglect to render more assistance. Will- 
iain III. had hardly ascended the throne in time of revo 
lution, when Louis XIV. declared war against him. To 
settle himself firmly in his seat, with a large and influen 
tial party against him, taxed his energies, and gave him 
little time to consider the affairs of the distant colonies. 
The war gave him employment, and absorbed the re 
sources of his kingdom. 

In consequence of Fletcher s strong representations as 
to the poverty of the province, its inability to prosecute 
the war and to hold the Five Nations to their allegiance, he 
had been made commander-in-chief over the militia of 
Connecticut and governor of Pennsylvania ; and all the 
other colonies were directed to render assistance to New 
York. These measures proved to be insufficient. When 
in the following October he visited Hartford, and asked 
for some men to be sent to Albany, they questioned his 
commission, and declined to accede to his demands, but 
offered ^"600 in country produce as a compromise. Penn 
sylvania, as we have seen, refused to do anything, hav 
ing received instructions from the proprietor, William 
Penn. The next year Fletcher s commission as com 
mander of the militia of Connecticut was modified, and 
that of governor of Pennsylvania revoked. For five 
years, from January 30, 1691, to December 25, 1695, the 
other colonies contributed to the expenses of the war as 
follows : 

Virginia, ,1,560 ; Maryland, ^"800 ; East Jersey, ^365; 
Connecticut, ^"600 in country produce, equivalent to ^"326 

43 2 QUOTAS. 

net cash total, ,3,051 gurrency. New York in the mean 
time had expended nearly ^30,000. Besides the money 
contribution, New Jersey sent sixty-five men to the fron 
tiers for the winter of 1693-94. 

The English government, learning that the measures 
adopted up to that time had failed to accomplish the pur 
pose, in August, 1694, took another method to protect the 
frontiers. By order in Council the several colonies were 
required to furnish quotas of men to be under the com 
mand of the governor of New York, or, if not men, the 
money to procure and sustain them. The quotas assigned 
to the. several colonies were as follows : Connecticut, 
120 ; Rhode Island, 48; Massachusetts, 350 ; Virginia, 240 ; 
Maryland, 160 ; Pennsylvania, 80 ; New Jersey, as many 
within 700 as the governor should elect, he being com- 
mander-in-chief of the militia of that province. At the 
same time it was resolved to strengthen the regular forces 
by the addition of two companies of grenadiers, who 
arrived in Boston the May following, and thence went to 
New York. 

We will now go back to the time when the peace nego 
tiations began, and relate the incidents of the war as they 
occurred on the borders. While peace was under con 
sideration, the French were careful that they themselves 
should not be attacked by hostile parties, while the prose 
lytes were encouraged to attack the English wherever 
found accessible and to keep them in constant alarm. 

Toward the end of August, 1693, Major Schuyler re- 

1 Massachusetts contributed nothing. She was the most populous Eng 
lish colony in America, and possessed of much wealth. But the defence 
of her own settlements in Maine, and of her western borders in the valley 
of Connecticut River, were a great expense in men and money. The east 
ern Indians and the proselytes in Canada, under the direction of French 
officers, made frequent-and bloody expeditions against her people. 

ALARMS. 433 

ceived word that a party of Mohawks, who were out on 
the war-path before anything was known of the peace 
negotiations, had returned with two prisoners, one of 
whom they were torturing and preparing to burn. He 
hastened to the Mohawk country, as he had done before 
on like occasions, to rescue the man from his tormentors. 
He arrived none too soon. The Indians had torn off five 
of his finger-nails, and inflicted other wounds. He 
rescued the captive on the payment of ^50 and con 
veyed him to his home, where he was carefully nursed, 
but in vain. He died after months of suffering. He was 
M. Crevier, a man of some consequence in Canada, who 
had previously lost a son in an attack on Salmon Falls, 
New Hampshire. 

Early in October, 1693, Major Schuyler received infor 
mation so important, that, although late at night, he de 
spatched a messenger to Governor Fletcher. A party of 
French and Indians had been near the upper village of the 
Mohawks. They had captured a squaw, cut off her hair, 
and then released her, sending a message to her people, 
that no harm would be done to them if they did not leave 
their castle. She was sent to Albany, and while she was 
under examination another alarm was raised. A wagon 
going to the Flatts with provisions was attacked, and two 
soldiers were taken prisoners. This affair was so near the 
town, that it was supposed that the enemy might be in 
force to make the long-threatened assault on Albany. 
Alarm-guns were fired to warn the farmers, expresses 
were despatched to Esopus for the militia, as well as to 
the Mohawks and Oneidas. The fort had been repaired, 
and eighty-five recruits had just arrived to strengthen the 

On the same night, Schuyler again writes that another 
party on the east side of the river had fired six shots at men 


in a canoe, but without effect. But lie had now become con 
vinced, from the reports of his scouts, that these alarms had 
been caused by small scalping parties, and that there was 
no considerable force of the enemy in the neighborhood. 
He had been trying to hire men to send as scouts through 
the country up to the lakes, but had not succeeded because 
the men wanted their pay before they started, and lie had 
no money or goods of his own, nor was he able to find men 
willing to advance or sell on government credit. The In 
dians were indifferent, and kept no watch. He distrusted 
them more and more, and feared they would go over to 
the enemy. Had Schuyler been aware of the peace nego 
tiations begun by the Oneida chief, Tareha, he would have 
understood the apparent indifference of his Indian friends. 
These letters reached Fletcher while he was in Connecti 
cut pleading in vain for men to guard the frontiers. No 
wonder he was almost in " despair, knowing not which way 
to turn for aid against an enemy who had recently received 
seven hundred soldiers from France." 

"Our hardships grew upon us," Fletcher says. "Our 
Indians falter, and the enemy cunningly pass them by to 
turn their swords against our farmers." " The enemy is 
strong and vigilant," he writes, January 22, 1694. "With 
their large forces they compel our farmers to flee, and 
take refuge in the cities. I expect every hour intelligence 
of the enemy s approach. Whilst this small province 
is thus harassed, our neighbors are all at ease, and pur 
chase their private advantages." 

In the fall of 1694, Frontenac mustered a large force at 
Montreal, with the intention, it was believed by some, o f 
making a winter campaign against the frontiers of New 
York. This caused fresh alarm. But Albany had been 
thoroughly fortified, and there were two hundred men in 
garrison besides a company of regulars. The excitement 


soon subsided. It was afterward learned that Frontenac 
had determined to take possession of Cadaraqui, but had 
been delayed in his operations by his intrigues with the 
Five Nations for an apparent peace. 

Cadaraqui, now Kingston, Canada, is situated at the foot 
of Lake Ontario, where the great river of Canada com 
mences its course to the ocean. It was a point admirably 
adapted for a fort, which, if occupied by a garrison suffi 
ciently strong to enforce the respect of the surrounding 
natives, could be a base of operations against the Iroquois. 
The country north of the lake as far west as Lake Huron 
and the Detroit, once occupied by large nations of Indians, 
had been conquered by the Iroquois, and was now their 
hunting-ground. The Count de Frontenac, appointed gov 
ernor of Canada, arrived in 1672. The next year, with a con 
siderable force, he ascended the St. Lawrence to Cadaraqui, 
where he held a conference with the Iroquois, and pro 
cured their consent for the erection of a trading-post, or 
fort, subsequently called Fort Frontenac. Two years after 
ward it was made over to La Salle, the great explorer, to 
gether with a large tract of land and some islands in the 
river, on condition that he should maintain the fort at his 
own expense. He was a friend of Frontenac, who shared in 
the profits of the fur trade, now prosecuted with such suc 
cess as greatly to diminish the trade at Montreal. This 
awakened jealousies, and gave Frontenac much annoyance. 
La Salle was not contented to settle down as a mere trader. 
He was ambitious for the fame of a discoverer. Leaving 
his property in charge of another, he pushed out into the 
unknown west. After Frontenac was recalled, La Barre, 
his successor, seized the fort as public property. There 
Denonville gathered his forces for the invasion of the 
Seneca country. There he treacherously seized a number 
of the Iroquois warriors, whom he sent to the French gal- 


leys. His treachery did not prosper. He was forced to 
abandon the place two years later. 

The failure of La Barre and Denonville forced Louis 
XIV. to turn again to the Count de Frontenac, and restore 
him to his old position as governor of Canada. He ar 
rived at Quebec in the fall of 1689, and hastened to Mont 
real, where he found Denonville, and learned to his 
disgust that he had sent orders to the commandant of 
Fort Frontenac to abandon it. He resolved that if pos 
sible the order should not be executed, and immediately 
organized a party of three hundred men for the relief of 
the place. They had proceeded but a short distance when 
they met the commandant and the garrison, who report 
ed that the fort and stores had been destroyed according 
to orders. 

Frontenac had suffered much in reputation by the 
construction of the fort, and it was the cause of his recall 
seven years before. He had always adhered to his con 
victions as to its usefulness, and now determined to re 
build and repossess it. It could not be done in a day, or 
perhaps in years, in consequence of the war. He would 
abide his time, and employ all his resources of authority 
and finesse to accomplish his purpose. 

Among the Iroquois seized by Denonville and sent to 
France was a great war-chief, named by the French 
Orehaoue, whom his countrymen loved and mourned. 
After Frontenac was reappointed to Canada, he solicited 
the release of the surviving prisoners. They returned 
with him on the same vessel. He found means to make 
Orehaoue forget his wrongs, and firmly to attach him to his 
person. Frontenac, before leaving Montreal, despatched 
Orehaoue and three other returned prisoners to Onondaga 
on an embassy of peace, inviting the Iroquois sachems to 
visit him at Quebec. Frontenac knew quite \vell that he 


could not repossess Cadaraqui with the forces then un 
der his command, unless he could silence the opposition 
of the Five Nations and obtain their consent. But he 
steadily pursued his purpose, and Orehaoue was his chief 
negotiator for five years. At last, in April, 1694, he se 
cured a sort of concession to his project, given more to 
obtain the peace so long under consideration than be 
cause the Nations desired the fort to be rebuilt. The 
count had not gained in the negotiations all he desired, 
but enough to prove to his friends he was master of the 
situation, and cause one of them to say : " In time of war 
he compels his enemies to come to him and supplicate 
for peace. And these are the notorious Iroquois, who for 
merly presented but two belts, one of war, the other of 
peace. Choose, they used to say ; it is indifferent to us 
which. Now they say, master of the earth, give us peace." 

Frontenac indulged the hope, in his last conference with 
Dekanissora, that peace would be concluded at the next 
appointed meeting, when every obstacle would be re 
moved from his repossessing Cadaraqui. Meanwhile he 
assembled a large force at Montreal, prepared to march at 
a moment s warning. While waiting for Dekanissora he 
was chafing with impatience. Dekanissora did not return. 
The season was now too far advanced for the march. He 
must wait until another year, and the useless negotiations 
were continued. 

In February, 1695, Arnout Viele, who had been sta 
tioned at Onondaga as the governor s agent, wrote that 
Frontenac had sent a private belt to the Senecas and 
Cayugas, desiring them to remain neutral and saying 
that he would attack the Onondagas in the spring, 
and that he was offended with Dekanissora because he 
had not returned to Canada. Three days later Viele 
writes, that intelligence had been received that the French 


and Indians were about to leave Montreal on an expe 
dition against Onondaga, and Dekanissora claimed the 
assistance of three hundred men, as had been promised 
by Governor Fletcher. Subsequently a proselyte came 
to Albany, and reported that the governor of Canada 
would surely march in a short time against Albany or 
Onondaga. He said that some of the far Indians had 
asked Frontenac whether it was true that he was inclined 
to make peace with the Five Nations ? and that he had 
replied that he had said so with his mouth, but that his 
heart was for war. Thus Frontenac amused his enemies 
until the way was clear to Cadaraqui. 

Dekanissora became convinced that Frontenac was de 
ceiving them. He and Sadakanahtie, the war-chief, with 
their wives, visited Governor Fletcher at New York, on 
April 8, 1695. Dirk Wessels (Ten Broeck), one of the 
foremost men of Albany, accompanied them as interpreter. 
By presents, flatteries, promises, and polite attentions the 
two chiefs, who had been so urgent for peace, were led to 
declare for war. Fletcher was exultant, and wrote in that 
tone to the Lords of Trade. 

Meanwhile the long war was becoming exceedingly bur 
densome to the people of the province. Frontenac, to con 
ceal his designs on Cadaraqui, caused frequent alarms. 
Now Albany was threatened, now Esopus, or Onondaga, 
or all the Five Nations. He sent out expeditions into New 
England to hang about the distant settlements, and thus 
compel Massachusetts to keep her forces at home. These 
alarms were the occasion of extraordinary expense. They 
were so frequent that at last the Assembly refused an ap 
propriation, alleging that the numerous detachments were 
a grievous burden to the people. 

This was on an occasion when news came from Albany 
that the French were on the march, either to repossess Ca- 


daraqui or against Albany. The Council, believing that it 
was not a false alarm, and that the situation demanded 
prompt action, again raised more money on their individual 
bonds, and directed Major Schuyler to expend it for one 
hundred men to be stationed on the frontiers. Again ap 
peals were made to the other colonies. Again came back 
the old answers one, that their militia could not be com 
pelled to leave its own borders ; another, that men could 
not be sent without the consent of the Assembly, and that 
the Council refused to call a session ; another, that men 
would be sent provided they were paid and fed. Mean 
time the soldiers were deserting for want of pay and sub 
sistence. In the midst of these perplexities came the re 
port, seemingly well authenticated, that a large French 
fleet was on the coast, and about to attack New York, 
"the key of the province." 

Frontenac, while waiting at Montreal for his opportu 
nity, during the winter and early spring of 1695 sent out 
several parties of Indians with French officers to harass 
the borders. One of the parties separated south of the 
lakes ; one division went to the Mohawk country, where 
they captured three Indians ; the other took a Dutchman 
within a league of Albany. All were not alike successful. 
Some secured "scalps which told no news." Two prose 
lytes attacked five Dutchmen within hearing distance of 
Albany, and " took one scalp." Another party met a 
Dutchman on horseback some distance north of Albany. 
They killed the horse and ate it. Both the English and 
French tried to secure prisoners for the purpose of getting 
information, but the French Indians were not particular 
in this regard, a scalp being worth nearly as much in ready 
money in Canada as a prisoner. Two Mohawks fought 
three Frenchmen on Lake Champlain. It was a drawn 
battle, one being wounded on each side. Fifteen Mohawks 


had a battle on the river near Montreal with a party of 
proselytes commanded by a French officer. The officer 
was killed, and his Indians fled, reporting they had killed 
six of the enemy. A large force was immediately de 
spatched to the spot, of whom four Frenchmen were killed 
and the rest retreated. In July some French made a few 
prisoners near Albany, but were compelled to release them 
to save their own lives. They fled to Canada, but were 
pursued by a party of English and Mohawks, who, within 
hearing of the guns of Montreal, killed two Frenchmen 
and took seven prisoners. Soon afterward two French 
men were killed and four taken prisoners near La Prairie. 
At Boucherville one man was killed and two wounded. At 
Cape St. Michel, two days afterward, three of the bravest 
settlers were carried off by the Iroquois, who also appeared 
in such force on the river above Montreal that Frontenac 
despatched seven hundred men against them, but without 
meeting them. Near Fort Chambly a skirmish took place 
between a considerable number of Iroquois and a detach 
ment of French and Indians. The Iroquois were defeated 
and lost some prisoners, one of whom was appointed to 
die to appease the shades of two Frenchmen killed in 
battle. The Count de Frontenac invited the Indians 
from a distance to witness the spectacle, " to roast an 
Iroquois and drink his blood." Thus the war proceeded, 
fought by small parties with varying success, but without 
decisive results. 

On March 16, 1695, Major Schuyler appeared at the 
Council with the intelligence that the French were about 
to reoccupy Cadaraqui. The report caused much excite 
ment, for it was believed that the possession of that impor 
tant post would give the French such advantage that the 
Indian trade of the province would be destroyed, and ulti 
mately the friendship of the Five Nations would be lost. 


The Council took immediate measures to raise three hun 
dred men, and send them to Onondaga. Estimates were 
made, and the money to cover expenses was borrowed on 
the individual endorsements of the members of Council. 
The information proved to be false, and the alarm sub 
sided. But Frontenac kept his men well in hand, and 
watched his opportunity. To allay suspicions of his in 
tentions, he caused it to be reported that lie was about to 
invade the country of the Onondagas, and chastise them 
for failing to come to finish the peace ; and at another 
time, that he was on the eve of an expedition to New 
York. He managed to conceal his real intentions from 
the Indian spies and the English prisoners, some of whom 
he released and sent to their homes. He had time to 
make complete preparations. The opportunity he had 
been waiting for was presented about the middle of July. 
The Iroquois were in fancied security, and had withdrawn 
their watch parties. The way was clear, and the expedition 
started on their march up the river. It consisted of seven 
hundred picked men under brave and prudent officers. 
The first night they encamped at Lachine, and the next 
morning received their final instructions from the gov 
ernor. The march from Montreal to Cadaraqui was ardu 
ous, and usually required many days, if not weeks, to ac 
complish. The work to be done was by no means light or 
insignificant. When the fort had been abandoned, all the 
buildings and the stockades had been burned. The walls 
had been undermined, a slow match had been applied, and 
it was supposed they were levelled with the ground. It 
was the assigned work of the seven hundred men to re 
build the fort, with the necessary barracks and building, 
and put it in a complete state of defence. The work was 
performed with "wonderful celerity." The walls of the 
fort were found to be in better condition than was expect- 


ed, as the mines had failed to do their work effectually. In 
deed, the Iroquois had visited the place after its abandon 
ment, and had found a quantity of powder with other goods. 
It did not require much time for seven hundred skilled men 
to make the necessary repairs, erect the barracks, and put 
everything into proper shape. Guns were mounted, am 
ple supplies of war-material and provisions were stored, 
and forty-eight men were detailed to garrison the works. 
The army returned to Montreal on August i4th, having 
been absent only twenty-six days, and had not lost a man. 
The work was completed without interference, but not 
without discovery. In view of what had been accom 
plished with so much care and safety, a French writer ex 
claims : " The sun dispersing the clouds does not afford 
greater joy to nature than did the return of this expedi 
tion to us. All Montreal hastened to the water-side, 
and received the heroes with cheers and every demonstra 
tion of joy." 

On August 28th, Governor Fletcher informed his Coun 
cil that Frontenac, with all his available forces, was en 
deavoring to repossess Cadaraqui, and the Five Nations 
called for assistance. It was ordered that as many men 
as could be spared from the frontiers should march to 
their aid. Major Schuyler, then in New York, was direct 
ed to hasten his return to Albany, take command of the 
forces, including volunteers, and march to the Mohawk 
country, in order to show to the Five Nations the readiness 
of the government to join them in repelling the enemy. At 
the same time a letter was received from Connecticut, in an 
swer to one requesting them to send men to the frontiers 
to meet this emergency. Assistance was denied, unless 
the province of New York should pay all the expenses. 

The news that Cadaraqui had been actually occupied by 
the French was brought to Albany early in September by 


some Mohawk sachems, who demanded five hundred men 
to help expel them. " Send us the men," said they, " and 
we will furnish the canoes to transport them across the 
lake." They admitted that the building of the fort was a 
surprise, and in palliation of their fault for not keeping 
better watch they explained that one hundred and fifty of 
their warriors had been stationed on the lake to watch the 
movements of the French, but having captured a party of 
western Indians on their way to Montreal they returned 
home, as was their custom, to celebrate their victory by 
roasting the captives. It was while they were thus en 
gaged that Frontenac seized the opportunity of re-estab 
lishing the fort. 

The news was confirmed by a party of Oneidas, who 
added, that the French had already sent out parties from 
the fort against their nation, and they earnestly entreated 
to be supplied with ammunition with which to defend 

On receipt of this intelligence at New York, it was 
agreed that all possible care should be used to encourage 
and support their Indian allies, and to this end the gov 
ernor should go to Albany and place himself in communi 
cation witli them. 

The governor, on September i8th, held a conference at 
Albany with a few sachems. The Indians expected as 
sistance, as had been promised, to expel the French from 
a place which was the key to their country, and believed 
by all to be a position whence great injury could be done 
not only to the Five Nations, but to the whole province. 
It was now too late in the season to send the men they 
asked, and it was a perplexing question how to deal with 
them on this occasion so as not to offend or discourage 

Fletcher threw all the blame on the Indians, told them 


that, it was too late for an expedition that autumn, and 
pacified them with liberal presents. But he returned to 
New York despondent, and indignant with the other col 
onies, which had left him in the lurch. In the middle of 
October he was summoned back to meet once more his 
Indian allies. 

Before his arrival, Dekanissora, the eloquent, and sev 
eral other sachems had, on October ipth, demanded an au 
dience of Peter Schuyler. They were in no friendly mood. 
"In the spring," Dekanissora began, "you bade us be 
watchful, and give you notice of any attempt to rebuild 
Cadaraqui. We did give you notice twice first, that the 
French had begun their march ; and again, that they were 
on the way. We alone could not prevent them reaching 
the fort, and you did not come to our help as promised. 
You tell us we are one flesh and blood, and yet you did 
not come to our assistance. We see many redcoats here, 
but none came to us. Pray, tell us why? If we are 
friends and brethren, why not together fight for our rights, 
and together die in defending them ? " 

Their temper was such that there was no use of at 
tempting to reason with them. Means, however, were 
found to pacify them, and induce them to Avait for the 
governor. Fletcher arrived the next day, and on being 
made acquainted with what had occurred, made reply in 
almost the same words that he had spoken a month before. 
Presents were made, and Dekanissora was mollified. 

On his next meeting with his Council, the governor was 
not in his usual amiable frame of mind when returning 
from a successful conference. He w r as indignant. He 
said that the Indian sachems had never been so insolent, 
nor had told so many absolute falsehoods. He was on the 
whole greatly disgusted with his Indian allies. The Coun 
cil soothed him with pleasant words, and advised him to 


lay the whole history of these proceedings before the 
king, and particularly to inform him how impossible it 
was to procure assistance from the other colonies. 

Count de Frontenac had succeeded in accomplishing 
his purpose in spite of the opposition of his enemies at 
home and abroad. In Canada his old opponents were still 
active. They considered that the reoccupation of Ca- 
daraqui involved an unnecessary expense, and they suc 
ceeded in impressing their views upon the French Gov 
ernment, who sent instructions prohibiting it. The order 
reached the governor after the work was done. Frontenac 
was able to form a more correct and unbiassed judgment 
than his opponents, who feared that the fort might again be 
occupied by a great Indian trader, like La Salle, and who 
opposed the project from selfish means. Frontenac believed 
that in the end it would benefit Canadian merchants by 
directing all the fur trade down the river, instead of los 
ing much of it through the Five Nations to New York. 
Cadaraqui would shut out from the regions north of the 
lake all enemies of the French, and become a base of 
future operations against the Iroquois. But whatever the 
result, it was now an accomplished fact, and the old count 
resolved that this point of vantage should not be aban 

The Five Nations, who had been so desirous of peace, 
were now actively engaged, and \vere the only fighters on 
the part of the English. Fletcher had all he could do to 
keep sufficient men in the garrisons to guard against sur 
prise. None could be spared to accompany his allies on 
their raids. But he watched the results with interest. 
Among the historical MSS. is a curious paper, entitled a 
"Memorandum of what has been done by the Five Na 
tions since the spring concerning the war to September 12, 
1695." It gives a brief sketch of each party who had been 


out and returned, with the results. At the end it gives the 
" Summary " of eleven parties. 

" French killed, 15 ; ditto prisoners, 10 ; Indians killed, 
3 ; ditto prisoners, 14 in all, 42. There are yet five par 
ties out, one of which is led by a white man." 

As to what was accomplished by the "five parties still 
out," w r e are not informed, nor are we able to learn that 
there was any more fighting on the borders until the fol 
lowing spring. The deep snow of the winter put a stop 
to all active operations. As soon as they could march, the 
proselytes made incursions into the Mohawk country and 
in the neighborhood of Albany. They secured two scalps 
and three prisoners. As an offset, the Mohawks captured 
two men and wounded another at Lachine. But if little 
harm was done by the enemy, the frontiers were not with 
out excitement. Sixteen soldiers of the garrison at Schcn- 
ectady deserted in the night of January 10, 1696. They 
were pursued by their officer, with a squad of soldiers and 
citizens. They were overtaken in the afternoon, and re 
fusing to surrender some of them were killed. The others 
were secured by the energetic officer and carried to prison. 
The affair caused such excitement for a time that the war 
was almost forgotten. 

Although little was accomplished in the winter against 
the English, Frontenac was prepared to strike the Five 
Nations, and for this purpose had collected a considerable 
army at Montreal for a winter campaign. His critics and 
his government had goaded him to almost any undertaking 
to recover his reputation, which had been injured by his 
peace negotiations with savages, who, it was believed, had 
outwitted him. It was his intention to march against the 
Onondagas, who had most offended him. The severity of 
the season and the great depth of snow were obstacles not 
to be overcome. He then resolved to pay the Mohawks 


another visit. This design was also abandoned, because 
intelligence had been conveyed to the English, who were 
there, and, with the Mohawks, awaited the assault with a 
" firm foot." He then selected three hundred of his best 
men for a scout in the hunting-grounds of the Iroquois 
lying between the St. Lawrence and the Ottawa Rivers. 
After a march of three days this party was detained by a 
fall of snow which continued thirteen days. They then 
procured a fresh supply of provisions and continued their 
progress. Near Cadaraqui they captured eight and killed 
three Iroquois. The commander of the troops returned 
to Montreal on March 2oth. He reported, "that through 
out the entire forest he found seven feet of snow." Four 
of the prisoners were publicly burned at Montreal, by or 
der of Frontenac. 

" At length," says the French narrator, " arrived the time 
for the Great Kettle. The negotiations for peace, hitherto 
fruitless, showed conclusively that the Iroquois would 
never be brought to terms except by force of arms. The 
Onondaga nation was the most mutinous, and ought to be 
first punished. The count had wholly divested himself of 
those humane sentiments which remain in the heart of 
a good father notwithstanding his children s repeated 
faults. Severe chastisement became now necessary, mild 
ness having been hitherto useless ; but this great remedy 
should not be applied, except efficaciously. The occasion 
was favorable, and the entrepot of Fort Frontenac (Cada 
raqui) invited us not to defer operations any longer." 
The preparations commenced at the beginning of the pre 
ceding winter were now complete. Nothing could be added 
to ensure success. Everything was kept in readiness at 
Montreal. On June i6th the count set out from Quebec, 
having been preceded by the militia and by the Abenaki 
and Huron Indians. He arrived at Montreal on June 22d, 


and devoted several days to the details of the expedition. 
On July 4th the army was at Lachine, and on the 6th 
encamped at Isle Perrot, where the order of march was 
arranged. Five hundred Indians were so distributed that 
a greater part of them were always with the vanguard, 
which was composed of two hundred regulars. These 
were followed by the boats containing provisions and bag 
gage, in charge of the Canadian militia. M. de Callieres 
commanded the vanguard, having in charge the cannon 
and mortars with their appurtenances. Next was the 
count, surrounded by his staff, the chief engineer, and 
the gentlemen volunteers. Four battalions of militia, un 
der command of the governor of Three Rivers, formed 
the centre. The rear, consisting of two hundred regulars 
and two hundred Indians, was commanded by M. de Vau- 
dreuil. All the veteran officers of Canada were distribut 
ed among the troops. The proselytes and other Indians 
were in charge of experienced French officers accustomed 
to Indian warfare. This order of march was not broken 
during the whole expedition, except that the van and rear 
exchanged places on alternate days. 

Fourteen days after leaving Lachine the army arrived at 
Fort Frontenac, a short passage for so large an army up a 
river abounding in rapids. At the fort there was a deten 
tion of seven days, waiting for a re-enforcement of Ottawa 
Indians which did not come. Leaving the sick and dis 
abled to the care of the surgeons, Frontenac crossed to 
the south shore of Lake Ontario, and on July 28th 
reached the mouth of the Oswego River, " the river of 
the Onondagas." This narrow T stream was difficult of 
navigation, and at one place the boats and canoes with 
their freight were taken from the water and carried 
around the falls. The army made only five leagues in 
two days from dawn to dark. Frontenac, now seventy- 


four years old, unable to walk, was carried in his canoe 
over the carrying-place on the shoulders of fifty Indians 
singing and uttering yells of joy. When the army arrived 
at Lake Onondaga, they coasted in two divisions along the 
shores, and landed at the head " sword in hand." Here a 
fort was built for the safe protection of the boats and 
canoes. After leaving the temporary fort, the army 
marched half a league and camped at a place called the 
Salt Springs. These springs excited the admiration of 
the French. They wished them at Quebec, for they would 
at that place make the "codfishery very easy." 

With great toil and difficulty the army reached the ob 
jective point on August 4th. But the village and fort, the 
capital of the Iroquois nations, were in ashes. The Onon- 
dagas, having sent their women and children to a place of 
safety, aided by the Senecas and Cayugas, had determined 
to defend their homes. But learning by their scouts, and 
from deserters from the enemy, that the French were too 
strong to hope for success, they burned their cabins with 
the triple palisades of their village, and withdrew to the 
forests. The French lost the glory of their capture by 
siege and assault, but they consoled themselves that In 
dians never stand before a considerable force. The count 
was carried about in his chair, surrounded by his guard, 
issuing orders, and seeing all his plans fully carried out. 
He expected to reap a large reward, and be covered with 
glory. Finding no enemy to fight, no fortifications to as 
sault with cannon and mortars, the French devoted them 
selves to the destruction of the corn in the fields and the 
granaries, and to the plunder, consisting of old hatchets, 
belts, and peltries. One man too old to walk was taken 
prisoner, and given to the Indian allies, who put him to 
death, in their usual barbarous manner, by slow tortures. 
Not a murmur escaped his lips. An Indian stabbed him 


to end his sufferings. He exclaimed, " I thank thee, but 
you ought rather to finish the work by fire. Learn, ye 
French dogs, how to suffer ; and ye Indians, dogs of dogs, 
learn how to die when ye are tortured and killed." 

While the main army was at Onondaga, a detachment 
was sent against the Oneidas, under M. de Vaudrcuil. 
When lie approached one of the villages, he was met by a 
deputation, who offered their submission and requested 
him not to destroy their corn. They had a right to expect 
this favor, for here had resided the Priest Milet, arid many 
of them were his proselytes. Vaudreuil replied, that he 
would not only destroy the corn, but the village also, for 
when they were in Canada, whither he proposed to carry 
them, they would want neither corn nor villages. He was 
as good as his word, although he caught only a few " to 
carry to Canada," the greater number having fled. A 
Mohawk, who had lived among the proselytes, but had 
come to Oneida, surrendered himself. He was treated as 
a deserter, and at Onondaga was tortured and burne d. 
Truly was it said that Frontenac " divested himself of the 
sentiments of humanity." Vaudreuil made quick work 
of the duty assigned him, hastened doubtless by the re 
port of a large army of English and Mohawks on the 
way to oppose him. He returned to his chief sooner than 
expected, with thirty-five Oneidas, and four Frenchmen 
who had been prisoners with that tribe. 

Frontenac, having destroyed the corn, tortured and 
killed one Onondaga and one Mohawk, began his retreat 
on the pth, and on August i5th arrived at Fort Frontenac. 
He accomplished so little, and his stay in the country was 
so short, that it may be fairly supposed his retreat was 
precipitated by the report that Fletcher would soon be on 
him with an "army more numerous than the trees in the 
woods." On his retreat the Iroquois hung on the skirts 

RESULTS. 45 1 

of the army and obtained some scalps. They attacked the 
French in their boats on the river, and caused the loss of 
many lives by drowning. The count arrived at Montreal 
on August 2oth, and closed his campaign by roasting 
another Mohawk prisoner at a slow fire. 

Such were the results of this expensive expedition (but 
" the expense did not merit consideration ") by an army 
of over 3,000 men, with artillery and other munitions of 
war, against a few" hundred savages. However great the 
expense, and however small the results, Frontenac ex 
pressed himself as satisfied. The king approved of all 
that he had done, and encouraged him to persevere by 
holding out the hope of reward. 

The prediction that the Onondagas would die of starva 
tion did not prove, true. The succors received from the 
English and from the other Indian nations were abundant. 
Their hunting and fishing were successful ; their cabins 
were quickly rebuilt, and they were comfortable in their 
way. Not so in Canada. The withdrawal of the farmers 
and laborers from their employment to enter the ranks 
of the army prevented the planting of the usual spring 
grains. Of these there was a small harvest The fear of 
Iroquois scalping parties interfered with the reaping of the 
winter wheat. On the wfiole there was so much scarcity 
of food that the government was obliged to intervene, and 
fix the prices to prevent extortion. Callieres could not 
support the troops stationed at Montreal, and sent them 
to Quebec. The famine was severe, arid Frontenac was 
obliged to abandon all his projected winter expeditions. 

In July rumors were afloat in New York of the French 
invasion of the Onondaga country. Governor Fletcher 
was ready to go, and urged that some troops be sent for 
ward to show our friendly zeal, but the Council objected 
to the expense of doing this on mere rumor, especially 


as there was no money in the treasury. On August 2d 
Fletcher received sure intelligence that three thousand 
French were in the country of the Five Nations, and that 
Albany was in a state of fearful consternation. It was 
feared that the display of so much power would alienate 
those ancient allies, and attach them to their enemies. If 
this should happen the frontiers would be desolated. He 
did not wait for the advice of the Council, but hurried up 
the river to the scene of fear and alarm. * 

On arriving at Albany he called a council of war. He 
explained that, as soon as he had learned the French were 
in the Indian country, he had written to Connecticut and 
New Jersey asking for assistance, had ordered the bat 
teries and fort to be put in a proper state of defence 
against an apprehended attack by sea, .and had come off 
with a part of the garrison. In view of the alarming state 
of the country, he proposed to send some troops into the 
Mohawk country to cover the retreat of the Onondagas 
and Oneidas, and to show them his willingness to render 
all the aid in his power. It was the opinion of the Council, 
that, the enemy having retreated, it would be a useless ex 
pense to adopt the suggestion of the governor. But they 
advised that the Oneida sachems then in town should be 
condoled for their loss in a public meeting of all the civil 
and military officers present, at which time there should 
also be a consultation as to the proper methods to be 
adopted for restoring the destroyed Indian villages. The 
governor yielded to this advice. The misfortunes of the 
Oneidas were condoled in the usual form, and a report on 
the restoration of the Onondagas to their country was ap 

As nothing more could then be done, the governor re 
organized the Board of Commissioners for Indian Affairs. 
These affairs had been managed sometimes by the mag- 


istrates of Albany, at others by the English military offi 
cers, -and again by the militia captains, or the aldermen. 
Fletcher now created an independent board, consisting of 
Major Peter Schuyler, Godfrey Dellius, Evert Bancker, 
Dirk Wessels, and the mayor of Albany. It was the duty 
of the board to transact all important business with the In 
dians in the governor s absence, and to report to him and 
the Council. The board was supplied with a moderate 
amount of money (one hundred pounds), to be expended 
in presents to sachems who chanced to visit Albany, for 
interpreters, messengers, and necessary expenses. The 
amount allotted to this board, and that given to Sir Will 
iam Johnson, sole agent, less than fifty years afterward, 
present a striking contrast. 

Measures were taken to supply the destitute Onondagas 
and Oneidas with food, and to this end the exportation 
of corn from Albany was prohibited until the Board of 
Commissioners had procured a full supply for their wants. 

As had been known for years, the French were de 
termined on the capture of the whole province at the first 
favorable opportunity, and had arranged a plan of attack 
by sea and land. New York was to have been taken by 
the fleet, while the governor of Canada marched from 
Montreal on Albany, and thence down the river to meet 
the fleet. After Fletcher s return from the frontiers, to 
wards the end of August, it was reported from Boston that 
a French squadron was on the coast, which, taken in con 
nection with Frontenac s declarations, led the authorities 
to believe that the long-contemplated invasion was near 
at hand. The governor wished to go to Albany to meet 
Frontenac " sword in hand," but the Council would not 
agree to this, and thought it more for the interests of 
the province that he should "abide in New York." It 
proved to be a false alarm, but none the less expensive to 


an impoverished people. Connecticut and New Jersey 
responded to a certain extent to appeals for assistance. 
They, however, felt the hardships of the situation. There 
had been so many false alarms, and they had been so 
often called on for aid, to which they had felt obliged to 
give some sort of answer, that they had come to feel that 
they were annoyed without reason. 

The Five Nations accepted the invitation to meet the 
governor in council, and appointed the latter part of 
September for the meeting. Ten days after his arrival at 
Albany, Fletcher had a pleasant and satisfactory inter 
view with some Onondaga and Oneida sachems. Later, 
after the sachems of the other three nations came to town, 
he gave a public reception to all the Indian representa 
tives, and made a speech suitable to the occasion. At its 
conclusion he distributed the presents received from Eng 
land and furnished by the province, altogether amounting 
to ;66o currency, of which 200 sterling, or 260 cur 
rency, were contributed by the king. 

The sachems thanked the governor for the generous 
presents, particularly for the fifty-four brass kettles in 
which to cook their food, their old ones having been 
stolen by the enemy. They were as hearty in their ex 
pressions of friendship and allegiance as on any former 
occasion. . The recent invasion of the Onondaga country 
had not alienated their affection. However, they asked 
that, inasmuch as they were now greatly reduced, some 
means might be devised to conquer Canada, or that they 
might be allowed to make peace on the best possible 
terms, for they were utterly unable to prosecute the war 
alone. The covenant-chain was renewed with all the Five 
Nations by Governor Fletcher on behalf of all the colo 
nies. The conference separated with the best of feel 


Meantime the predatory warfare continued, but was not 
prosecuted with much zeal or success. Toward the close 
of September, 1696, a party of French left Montreal for 
the frontiers of New York, guided by a proselyte. In the 
vicinity of Albany they separated ; the major part, un 
der Captain Dubeau, on the way to Kinderhook, was at 
tacked by some River Indians and defeated with loss, the 
captain being mortally wounded. The remainder of his 
party were pursued. Some were killed or taken prison 
ers, and the others perished on the way home. The eight 
who left the party near Albany returned toward Canada. 
They met some proselytes, and mistaking each other for 
enemies a skirmish took place, in which some of the 
French were wounded and the chief of the proselytes was 
killed. The French mourned the loss of a brave man and 
active partisan ; the English rejoiced that a man who had 
been a great scourge to the farmers and unguarded trav 
ellers had at last been put to death. He had taken 
many scalps and a few prisoners. Nominally a Christian, 
he was as cruel and barbarous as though he had never 
heard the gospel of peace. 

The rumors of a contemplated expedition in force 
against Albany, apparently well authenticated, induced 
Governor Fletcher to make arrangements to spend the 
winter on the frontier, and in person direct the operations 
for its defence. His journey was not a comfortable one. 
He left New York on November zoth, and before reach 
ing Ulster was twice forced aground by contrary winds. 
Above Ulster the ice closed around him and he was 
obliged to land. After leaving the vessel and reaching the 
shore over the ice, he walked five miles to Patcoke (Clav- 
erack), where he lodged in "his clothes with Dundalk ac 
commodation." By accident Major Schuyler was in the 
neighborhood, and came to his relief. He reached 


Albany on the 2ist, crossing from Greenbush on the ice 

In December lie met the sachems of the River Indians, 
and paid them the stipulated reward for the French, whom 
they had killed and captured in October six pounds a 
head. By an Oneida chief he sent a belt and message to 
the Five Nations, calling a conference in Albany. To the 
Oneidas he sent another message, inquiring what business 
they had recently transacted with the governor of Canada ? 
They replied that Frontenac had sent them a belt, telling 
them that by his late invasion of their country he had only 
whipped them a little, but that if they still adhered to the 
English he would come again, and utterly destroy them. 
That they answered, " If you succeed in destroying Al 
bany, as } r ou threaten, we shall be at a loss what to do. 
But we think the governor of New York can hold his 
own, and as long as he keeps his legs we will adhere to 
him. When they are knocked from under him, possi 
bly we may come to you, but for the present we will 

During the winter the governor was not idle, although 
no enemy appeared. Frontenac had made great threats ; 
but by reason of the famine he was unable to execute 
them. The Indian question was one of absorbing interest, 
and the governor gave it much attention. The Five Na 
tions had become demoralized by the repeated invasions 
of their country. All but one had been visited by the 
French. Their villages and corn had been destroyed. 
They had fought without assistance, and were the princi 
pal sufferers. They saw that their English allies had not 
the ability to protect them. They now came to the conclu 
sion either to make peace or to abandon their country. It 
required all the governor s address to overcome their con 
victions and hold them steady. 


The new Board of Commissioners for Indian Aftairs re 
ported, on January 4, 1697 : 

"That the late invasion of the French in their country 
has put three of the nations, viz., the Mohawks, Oneidas, 
and Onondagas, in such a consternation that very few of 
them live in their castles, and now are very well assured 
that nothing but your excellency s presence here this 
winter kept them in their country. And we further find, 
by certain information which we have received from some 
of their chief people, that in case they are not covered 
with such a body of men as may protect them from the 
insults of the French, they will leave the government, 
which will not only be of consequence to this province, 
but to others of his majesty s dominions on the main. 

" That this last fall some of the Oneidas with their fam 
ilies (by the inducement of French emissaries) are gone 
over to Canada, and also (these emissaries) have appointed 
a time next spring to be among the nations again, which 
correspondence cannot be well prevented. 

" That we are apprehensive the Governor of Canada, 
upon the late news come into these parts of a negotiation 
of peace between the two crowns, will make use of the same 
with the Indians to the prejudice of this part of his maj 
esty s dominions. 

"That if any skulking parties of the French or Indians 
come upon this coast next spring, our farmers will be ne 
cessitated to remove from home to other places ; and it is 
purely your excellency s being here that has stayed them 
this winter. 

" Wherefore, under your excellency s favor, we humbly 
offer to your Excellency s prudent judgment and con 
sideration, if consistent with his majesty s honor, and in 
terest of this Province, that a cessation of arms be con 
cluded by your excellency between the Indians of this 
government and those of Canada, to prevent the further 
effusion of Christian blood by the inhuman cruelties and 
butcheries of those infidels." 


On this the governor decided to call a meeting of the 
Five Nations in March, but on account of the winter sea 
son it was postponed at the request of the sachems. Two 
Onondaga chiefs, however, Dekanissora and Sadakanahtie, 
came to visit the governor. They remembered their re 
ception in New York, and under pretext of telling the 
state of their affairs, and asking for advice, they had come 
for provisions and guns for their people and presents for 
themselves. It is needless to say that their requests were 
granted, and they received in addition some kegs of rum 
to " comfort them on their way home." 

Fletcher returned to New York late in March. His 
winter in Albany had been of some service to the prov 
ince and to its Indian allies. His presence on the fron 
tiers, at a time so critical and dangerous, inspired confi 
dence and courage. The French emissaries among the 
Five Nations had started some alarming rumors, which 
had obtained circulation and belief. Among them was 
one which caused unusual excitement that the English 
were about to turn against them for their destruction. 
This by Fletcher s efforts was traced to its source and 
proved to be false. But he could not overcome their re 
pugnance to a further prosecution of the war, and he was 
obliged to consent that they could again negotiate for a 

A cessation of hostilities between them and the prose 
lytes was soon arranged. Frequent messages were sent 
from one to the other, and the summer passed in compara 
tive quiet. The sachems made frequent visits to Albany, 
to give information to their friends and to seek advice. 
Occasionally some of the more prominent would go on to 
New York to visit the Great Swift Arrow. The governor 
entertained them at his own table, caused them to ride 
about the city in his own " coach and six," sent them 


aboard the ships of war, and amused them with salvos of 
artillery. They were pleased with the attention, and fa 
vorably impressed with the apparent power and resources 
of the English. But when in addition to these courtesies 
they received laced hats and coats, to which were added 
large presents for their comfort, they were eloquent in 
their gratitude. 

On December 27, 1697, the commissioners wrote to the 
governor that they had received direct information, that 
the governor of Canada was bent on some hostile demon 
stration, for he had called in his btishlopers (wood-rangers 
or Indian traders) and Indian allies, and had posted them 
at Montreal. Two days afterward they wrote, " We have 
received your letter announcing peace has been made be 
tween England and France. Immediately, as you directed, 
we sent couriers to the Five Nations with orders to bury 
the hatchet, and will send the good news to Canada by 
the first opportunity." It was joyful news to an impov 
erished province, and to the almost ruined Indian confed 
eracy. On January i, 1698, the commissioners, in ac 
cordance with the instructions received from Governor 
Fletcher, despatched Lieutenant Abraham Schuyler and 
Jean Rosie, a Frenchman, long a resident of Albany, to 
Canada with a flag of truce. They carried a printed copy 
of the treaty of peace, signed at Ryswyk, September 20, 
1697, with a letter from Colonel Peter Schuyler and Mr. 
Dellius, requesting a cessation of hostilities, and announc 
ing that the Five Nations had been directed to "bury the 
hatchet." The couriers arrived at Montreal toward the 
last of January, and their letters were forwarded to Fron- 
tenac at Quebec. He did not write, but directed the gov 
ernor of Montreal to reply that he was glad to receive 
the news of peace, the confirmation whereof he was daily 
expecting. But as to a cessation of hostilities, it was not 


thought proper to notice it. However, his winter cam 
paign against the English and Mohawks was abandoned. 

On February 26th Governor Fletcher announced, by 
proclamation, that an honorable peace had been made by 
the warring nations of Europe, and for this great blessing 
he appointed a day of thanksgiving. 

Governor Fletcher s administration was drawing to its 
close. During his whole term of office war existed be 
tween England and France, involving their colonies. As 
governor, he had been active and vigilant, always on the 
alert to oppose the encroachments of his hostile neighbors. 
Had he been properly supported at home, his efforts to 
protect the province and her Indian allies would have been 
more effectual. While France furnished the governor of 
Canada with fresh troops and supplies almost annually, 
England did next to nothing. Two hundred men and oc 
casional Indian presents made up the sum of her support 
in eight years of war. 

Fletcher found the colony rent into factions. It re 
quired more wisdom than he possessed to heal the differ 
ences and unite the people in their common defence. It 
was difficult to govern at all without becoming a partisan 
by patronizing one or the other faction. He attached 
himself to the party which overthrew the assumed govern 
ment of Leisler, and which represented wealth and official 
position. Of course Leisler s friends were offended, and 
finally became his bitter enemies. They spared no pains 
or expense to make him uncomfortable, and to obtain his 
recall. Their agents in England were earnest and persist 
ent in their representations against him, not flinching at 
untruths and unmerited abuse. When Robert Livingston, 
with his grievance, joined them, their work was accom 
plished. Fletcher was soon invited home. He last pre 
sided at the council on April i, 1698. 


Richard, Earl of Bellomont, was appointed governor of 
New York in March, 1697, and received his commission 
on June i8th following. Livingston and the friends of 
the late Jacob Leisler had filled his mind with prejudices 
against Fletcher and the party with which he acted, to 
such a degree that he was prepared at once to attach him- 
Self to the Leislerian faction, and to throw the whole 
weight of his influence in their behalf. He did not arrive 
in New York until April 2, 1698, nearly a year after the 
date of his commission. He came to a poor and unquiet 
province. Had he possessed more wisdom, and been less 
of a partisan, he might have healed the existing divisions, 
united the people, attached them to his person, and had a 
prosperous administration. But he was proud and over 
bearing, haughty in his manners, and unwilling to seek or 
take advice, except when it agreed with his own opinions. 
He was an open enemy of his predecessor, and could find 
nothing commendable in his transactions. His antipathy 
to Fletcher was made to include all Fletcher s friends and 
supporters. In his correspondence he made no allowance 
for imperfections and disorders in consequence of the war, 
but attributed the poverty of the people and an exhausted 
treasury to mal-administration and the dishonesty of offi 
cials. He came when the country was at peace ; trade 
had begun to revive, farmers were cultivating their lands 
without fear of the scalping knife, mechanics were pur 
suing their several employments, and prosperity was be 
ginning again to reward the diligent. But so anxious was 
Bellomont to set up a new standard of government and to 
introduce new methods that he was soon involved in con 
troversies and quarrels, which made life a burden and 
hastened his death. 

Bellomont s cares of government soon began. Colonel 
Schuyler and Dominie Dellius, commissioners of Indian 


affairs, wrote, on April 6th, that four Cayuga and Seneca 
Indians had brought intelligence concerning the continued 
negotiations between the Onondagas and Oneidas and the 
French for a separate peace. To put a stop to such pro 
ceedings, they had appointed a conference with the gov 
ernor, and had notified the sachems to be at Albany with 
in forty days. Two weeks afterward Schuyler attended 
the Council in New York, when Indian affairs were free 
ly discussed. Count de Frontenac had not yet received 
authentic notice of the peace from his government, and, 
although he did not trouble the frontiers of New York, he 
continued to send out parties against the border settle 
ments of New England ; and he refused to cease hostili 
ties against the Five Nations, unless they made a separate 
peace with him. He claimed that the Iroquois were sub 
jects of France, and that as long as they adhered to the 
English they were rebels, and should be treated as such. 
Besides this, he was offended that Governor Fletcher did 
not write to him when messengers were sent to him with 
a printed copy of the treaty of peace. It would indeed 
have been more polite if Fletcher had written, but the 
copy of the treaty was not official, and was only sent as 
an item of news for his information, with the hope that he 
would cease hostilities, as did the English. It was now 
determined by the Council to send commissioners, with a 
letter from Bellomont to Frontenac, not only to announce 
the peace concluded in September previous, but to nego 
tiate an exchange of prisoners. Colonel Schuyler and Mr. 
Dellius were appointed to this duty. 

They were instructed to proceed on their mission with 
as little delay as possible, and hand to Count de Fron 
tenac a copy of the treaty of peace. They were also to 
take with them all French prisoners at New York or 
Albany, and deliver them at Montreal. They were to de- 


mand the release of all English prisoners then in Canada, 
together with those of the Five Nations, as subjects of the 
British crown. And they were to require that ail acts of 
hostility either against the English or the Five Nations 
should cease. 

The earl wrote a friendly and dignified letter to the 
count, and another to M. de Callieres, governor of Mont 
real. To the count he said, in conclusion, " I transmit 
this letter by Colonel Schuyler, member of his majesty s 
Council in this province, and Mr. Dellius, both gentle 
men of character and merit, in order to evince to you 
the esteem I entertain for a person of your rank." In 
his instructions to the commissioners, and in his letters, 
he was careful to respect the rank and position of the 
French officials, in order that no offence might be given 
to their pride or sensibilities. 

The commissioners received their instructions in New 
York, April 22d, and on May 8th left Albany for Canada. 
On their way they met, at Crown Point, a party of proselytes 
going to Albany with furs to trade ; and the next day, two 
French Indians " arrayed as warriors," who said they were 
in pursuit of the traders to bring them back. Schuyler 
was soon undeceived as to their intentions by one of the 
prisoners, who told him that these men were on an expedi 
tion to take prisoners. They were not allowed to proceed. 
Schuyler and Dellius arrived at Montreal on the ipth, 
and delivered to Callieres the letter of Bellomont and the 
twenty prisoners in their charge. 

The great question of the time, as to whom the Five 
Nations belonged, received a prolonged discussion with 
out a satisfactory conclusion. They arrived at Quebec on 
the 25th, and immediately called on the governor, by 
whom they were politely received. The next day the 
superior of the Jesuits and the clergy paid their respects. 


Their credentials had been presented to Frontenac, who 
omitted no formalities in the reception of such high func 
tionaries. On the 27th they had another interview with 
the count. Having previously given him a copy of the 
treaty of peace, they now formally demanded the release 
of the king s subjects, both Christians and Indians, who 
were detained as prisoners. The question as to the 
sovereignty over the Five Nations was again discussed. 
The count was willing to surrender the English prisoners, 
and would give orders to that effect ; but he declined to 
give up the Iroquois, until their deputies should come and 
make peace with him, as had been promised by some of 
their sachems. He claimed that they were French sub 
jects, by right of discovery and by the occupancy of their 
country by forts and missions. On the other hand, the 
commissioners contended that, as a free and independent 
people, they had placed themselves and their country 
under English protection, and had always been recognized 
as English subjects and allies. They failed to convince 
Frontenac of the justice of their claim, and he firmly but 
courteously refused to yield to their demand. Three days 
afterward the English prisoners then at Quebec were col 
lected together in their presence, and all but two or three 
refused to return with them. They had been carried away 
when mere children, had been educated in the Catholic 
religion, had formed new associations, had forgotten their 
old homes, and preferred to remain in Canada. The busi 
ness of the commissioners was now accomplished. They 
had discharged the duties of their mission, and on May 
3ist left Quebec for home. At Three Rivers and Mon 
treal other prisoners were released. They arrived at Al 
bany on June 22d, with twenty English captives, and ac 
companied by forty French Indians with five hundred 
beaver skins. 


Frontenac replied to the letter of Bellomont, that he had 
not yet received from France a confirmation of the peace, 
but was disposed from feelings of humanity to surrender 
the English prisoners in his hands, as soon as they could 
be collected from the various places where they were de 
tained. He refused, however, to surrender the Iroquois, 
for the reasons assigned to the commissioners. He com 
plimented the governor on his choice of persons sent to 
him, who appeared to him to be "gentlemen of merit ; " 
and, not to be outdone in courtesy, concluded by saying : 
" The King of England could not send into those provinces 
a person capable of affording me more joy, by the reputa 
tion I understand you possess." 

Bellomont was not able to meet the sachems of the Five 
Nations at the time appointed by the commissioners of 
Indian affairs. Missing the messengers sent to counter 
mand the appointment, the sachems arrived in Albany on 
May i6th. Schuyler and Dellius were on the road to 
Canada ; Bancker was absent. Dirk Wessels, the fourth 
commissioner, assisted by Robert Livingston, who was 
now at his old post, and some of the military officers and 
citizens, gave them an audience. The conference was 
short ; long enough, however, to develop the fact that 
Frontenac was misled in making the declaration to the 
commissioners, that the Five Nations had sent delegates 
to negotiate a peace with him. The sachems now in Al 
bany were the chiefs of the Onondagas, Senecas, Cayugas, 
and Oneidas. They emphatically denied that they were 
engaged in any negotiations with the French. 

Governor Bellomont held his first conference with the 
Five Nations in July, 1698. It was largely attended by 
the chief sachems, and by the representative men of the 
province. The earl gives some account of it in one of his 
letters to the Board of Trade, and makes it the occasion of 


passing some severe criticisms on his predecessor and his 
management of Indian affairs. A full account of the pro 
ceedings was carefully prepared by the secretary, Robert 
Livingston, and printed. It is a matter of some surprise 
that they were not reprinted among the colonial docu 
ments, as other like proceedings were. The absence of 
the document is a loss to the student of early history. 1 

Bellomont complained that at first the Indians were so 
cold and reserved, that he was alarmed lest we had lost 
their affection ; but when he discovered that they had 
been tampered with by Mr. Dellius, their behavior was 
accounted for. When they learned the errors into which 
they had been led by bad advisers, they became more con 
fidential and communicative. To one more familiar with 
the speeches of Indians at their councils with the govern 
ors, there appears little or no difference in tone or senti 
ment. The Indian orators were students of human nature, 
and until they had learned something of the peculiar 
characteristics of a new governor they were cautious in 
the use of words. Fletcher was an exception. He came 
so unexpectedly to the assistance of the Mohawks, in the 
winter of 1693, that they were at once won by him, and 
unreservedly expressed their gratitude and praise. On the 
third day of the conference Bellomont bestowed a larger 
gratuity than had ever been given before by any governor. 
This was the key that opened their hearts ; and they had 
now learned what would be most pleasing to the new gov 
ernor s ears. In their reply to Bellomont s speech, after 
giving the usual history of the covenant-chain, they spoke 
of their present condition as being much reduced by reason 
of the war, and were unsparing in their censures of Col- 

1 A manuscript copy, made from the printed original, is in the library of 
Cornell University. 


onel Fletcher, who had made large promises but small 

Bellomont assured them of his protection, and of his 
readiness to come to their assistance at any time when 
they were menaced by the French. They held some 
French prisoners, and some of their people were yet cap 
tives in Canada, whom they were urgently desirous to have 
released. Bellomont undertook an exchange of prison 
ers, in which their friends should be included, and urged 
them by no means to pursue their negotiations with the 
governor of Canada for a separate treaty or for an ex 
change of prisoners. They promised, in conclusion, to 
be guided by his advice, and leave the management of af 
fairs relating to peace or war to his superior wisdom. 
Bellomont was well pleased with his success in his first 
treaty. He reorganized the Board of Commissioners for 
Indian Affairs, making it somewhat cumbersome and un 
wieldy. To Peter Schtiyler, the mayor of the city, and 
Robert Livingston, as the leading members, he conjoined 
the aldermen and recorder of the city, the sheriff of the 
county, and the commandant of the garrison. 1 The gov 
ernor was not altogether pleased with Peter Schuyler, 
more probably because of their difference in politics than 
for other reasons ; and, had he been left entirely free to 
choose the commissioners, would have left Schuyler off 
the board. The Five Nations, in their public speeches, 
were urgent to have him retained, and mentioned him as 
the only man in the province to go out w T ith his men and 
fight with them against the enemy ; so that the governor 
and his near advisers did not think it prudent to slight 
their wishes. 

1 The Civil List under this date is not accurate. It makes the board to 
consist of the mayor, recorder, aldermen and commonalty, Dirk Wessels, 
and Hendrick House. 


While in Albany Bellomont received much attention 
from the citizens, and, although suffering from the gout, 
he was gratified and pleased with his visit. The mayor 
and Common Council made him a congratulatory address, 
alleging that the " frontiers were truly refreshed by his 
lordship s presence," and thanking him for the change he 
had made in the management of Indian affairs. The prin 
cipal citizens of Schenectady presented him with a humble 
petition, asking to be relieved from taxes for a time, on 
account of their great misfortunes in the war. To both 
address and petition he made formal replies, which were 
received with favor. 

Soon after his return to New York, Bellomont reported 
to the Council his transactions at Albany, and laid before 
them the records of the conference, together with the sev 
eral addresses and petitions he had received, as also the 
"haughty answer" of Count de Frontenac to his letter 
notifying him of the peace and proposing an exchange of 
prisoners. The Council were so well pleased with his 
success with the Indians, "and the good humor he had put 
them in," that Colonel Smith, the chief justice, was re 
quested to compliment him on his " care and prudence, 
which had produced such happy results." 

Five days afterward the Council was again convened. 
Some of the inferior sachems of Onondaga had continued 
negotiations with Frontenac for peace and exchange of 
prisoners through the proselytes. Their belts had been re 
jected. Frontenac refused an exchange until the sachems 
of the Iroquois should come and enter into a firm peace 
with him, otherwise he would again invade their country 
to destroy them. There was, consequently, excitement 
among the Five Nations, and a general council was called 
at Onondaga. Such was the purport of a message brought 
by Dekanissora and two other sachems to the commission- 


ers at Albany, who thought it of sufficient importance to 
send the message and the sachems to the governor. The 
Council was informed that the Five Nations now desired 
assistance, and also asked that some Christian should at 
tend their general meeting at Onondaga. Dekanissora 
was called in, and was assured by the governor that "he 
was fully resolved to succor and protect them. For that 
purpose he had ordered his lieutenant-governor, with his 
company, to repair to Albany, there to remain ; and should 
it be required, he would go to their assistance with all the 
forces on the frontiers." He likewise promised to send 
Dirk Wessels, the mayor of Albany, to attend their meet 
ing. Dekanissora was pleased with these promises, but 
said the way was long and difficult ; the lieutenant-gov 
ernor might not be able to reach them in time ; and added, 
" If we cannot be protected from the French, we must 
make peace with them." Bellomont labored long to con 
vince him that the great king was able and willing to 
give them all the protection they required. Dirk Wes 
sels was directed to go to Onondaga with an interpreter, 
to advise with the sachems ; and a messenger was de 
spatched to Canada with a letter to Frontenac, demanding 
the surrender of the Indian prisoners and a cessation of 
his annoyances of the Five Nations. 

Bellomont wrote a second, short, sharp letter to Fron 
tenac, assuring him that if he invaded the Five Nations he 
would arm every man in the provinces under his govern 
ment, if needs be, to join the Indians and repel him. He 
sent the letter by Captain Johannes Schuyler, with instruc 
tions to deliver it in the quickest possible time, and press 
for an answer. While in Canada he was also to procure 
all the information attainable, as to the designs of the 
French, their movements, and strength. Dirk Wessels was 
ordered to inform the sachems at Onondaga of the steps 


taken to procure the release of their friends from captivity, 
and by all fair means to dissuade them from any farther 
intercourse with the French. Lieutenant-Governor Nan- 
fan was directed to station himself at Albany and watch 
developments. Should he receive trustworthy intelli 
gence that the French were on the march to invade the 
Indian country, he was required to muster all the militia 
of Albany and Ulster Counties, and, with all the regular 
forces on the frontiers, go to the support of the allies 
against the enemy, " for it is for the honor and interest of 
his majesty that the Five Nations be protected." 

Mayor Wessels left Albany on his mission on August 
27, 1698, and arrived at Onondaga on September 3d, hav 
ing called on the Mohawks and Oneidas, who each sent 
two sachems with him as delegates to the council. The 
Indian sachems were not well satisfied with the message 
delivered to them from the governor ; but they finally con 
sented to comply with his directions, in so far, that they 
would send no French prisoners directly from their country 
to Canada, but by way of Albany, when their friends, the 
English, should appoint delegates to accompany them. In 
the meantime, if the French did them any harm, Brother 
Corlaer must bear the responsibility. Wessels returned to 
Albany on September i2th. 

Johannes Schuyler left Albany on August 27th, and 
arrived at Quebec on September pth. Without delay he 
waited upon the Count de Frontenac, to deliver the let 
ters with which he had been entrusted. The count was 
angry with their substance and tone ; he declared that 
he would pursue "unflinchingly" his methods and policy 
toward the Iroquois, for they were his rebellious children, 
and as a father he would chastise them until they sub 
mitted to his authority. In a subsequent interview he 
asked Schuyler as to Bellomont s strength, and expressed 


surprise that he should be so quick to espouse the cause 
of the Iroquois, and not wait until the commissioners to 
be appointed under the treaty of Ryswyk had settled the 
boundaries between the two provinces. Schuyler replied 
that he was equally astonished that the count, knowing 
that commissioners had been already appointed on the 
boundary question, should still press the subjects of the 
English crown to come to him. This opened the vexed 
question as to the sovereignty of the Iroquois nations, and 
after a long discussion it was left unsettled, as it had been 
many times before. The next day the proclamation of 
peace was made with many demonstrations of joy, winding 
up with a grand dinner, at which toasts were drank to the 
late belligerent kings and to the antagonistic governors. 

Schuyler left Quebec for home on September I4th. 
At Three Rivers he heard that the sachems of the Five 
Nations had arrived at Montreal, and he resolved to learn, 
if possible, their errand ; but on going to Montreal he 
found it a false report. He spent some days in that city 
not unprofitably. He was quick to observe that the gov 
ernor of Canada was in no condition to fulfil his threats 
against the Five Nations. The troops were disbanded, 
or distributed among the various forts, and several of the 
officers were returning to France. Even in the frontier 
fort (Chambly) there were only twelve men. He reached 
home the last of September, and went directly to New 
York to report to the governor in person. 

The lieutenant-governor had no occasion to call in the 
1 militia and march into the Indian country to resist the 
French. He remained quietly in Albany, and on Oc 
tober 8th received a call from Sadakanahtie and other 
sachems, who had come, with five French prisoners, on 
their way to Canada for an exchange, pursuant to their 
engagement with Dirk Wessels at Onondaga. Nanfan 


told them that Johannes Schuyler had returned from 
Canada, and was now in New York, but would be back in 
a few days. He thought that by waiting to see him they 
would be convinced that they need go no farther. On 
Schuyler s return they were induced by his representa 
tions to defer their journey to Canada, and to leave the 
Frenchmen in the fort for safe keeping. 

The death of the Count de Frontenac, which occurred 
on November 28, 1698, at Quebec, was considered of so 
much importance to the pacification of the Five Nations, 
that a meeting of the commissioners of Indian affairs was 
convened on December 26th, at the request of Colonel 
Schuyler and Secretary Livingston, to take into consider 
ation the expediency of sending the news by special mes 
senger to their several villages. It was decided without 
hesitation to send a courier, provided with the usual cre 
dentials "seven hands of wampum," on this occasion 
"two times seven hands." To secure despatch, the Mo 
hawk sachem chosen for the errand was promised a 
" match coat " as his reward. 

The death of Frontenac did not quiet the Indians. The 
French did not cease their pretensions, and were fertile in 
resources to induce them to come to Canada to make 
peace and release their prisoners. The Indians, naturally 
credulous, were easily made to believe the most improb 
able stories. Early in February, 1699, Dekanissora and 
an Oneida sachem appeared before the commissioners of 
Indian affairs, and gave a long and minute history of an 
Oneida s adventures in Canada while "in search of his 
father." At Montreal he fell in with M. Maricour, called 
by the Indians Stow Stow. This gentleman told the Onei 
da chief, among other things, that Johannes Schuyler, on 
his late visit, had fastened with " silver nails " their prison 
ers more securely than ever, and that they would never be 


released until sachems from all the Iroquois nations should 
come to the governor with their French prisoners and 
made a final peace. Dekanissora went on to say, that 
when this chief returned home and told his story, the Five 
Nations held a council, and resolved to take the exchange 
of prioners in their own hands. For this purpose they 
had selected the sachems to proceed at once on the busi 
ness. When he left Onondaga they were not yet gone, 
but were busy with their preparations. 

The commissioners, believing the affair to be of much 
importance, and to need immediate attention, despatched 
the interpreter to Onondaga, with instructions to stop the 
sachems bound for Canada ; or, if they had gone, to have 
them brought back. They also appointed the mayor of 
the city, Colonel Schuyler, and Dirk Wessels to go to On 
ondaga, to treat with the Indians and prevent their further 
negotiations with the French. When these gentlemen 
arrived in the Mohawk country they met an Onondaga 
sachem, who told them that their journey would be use 
less, as the men for Canada had been gone seven days. 

The Indian delegates to Canada returned to Onondaga 
on March 2ist, bearing five belts from M. de Callieres, the 
acting governor, inviting them to come to Montreal with 
in sixty days, when there should be an exchange of pris 
oners and all the differences should be amicably settled. 
A summons for a general meeting at the council-house was 
issued to all the nations, and a message with a belt sent to 
the Earl of Bellomont, requesting him to commission Col 
onel Schuyler and Major Wessels as delegates to attend the 
meeting. This request was not granted, for what reason 
does not appear. In place of these gentlemen, Colonel 
Schuyler s youngest brother, Johannes, and Captain John 
Bleecker were appointed. Their instructions were pre 
pared by the Council and Assembly, an unusual proced- 


lire, for it was the governor s prerogative to instruct all 
messengers and delegates sent directly from the capital, 
and he had always performed his duty in this respect. 
These instructions related mainly to the measures to be 
pursued to induce the Indians to break off their negotia 
tions with Canada and to cease to hold intercourse with 
the French. For this purpose they must be reminded of 
the covenant-chain, and its renewal by his excellency last 
summer, " when it was confirmed with greater earnestness 
than ever before." " Their correspondence must be pre 
vented by fair means or otherwise." 

Meantime the commissioners had sent Johannes Glen 
and Nicholas Bleecker to Onondaga, to watch and report 
the proceedings of the Five Nations in their intercourse 
with the French agents arid priests. They arrived in time 
to hear the purport of the messages of Callieres by his 
five belts ; and that of the proselytes, advising them for 
their own safety from their Indian enemies not to hunt 
on the north side of Lake Ontario. In view of the situa 
tion, they sent the interpreter to Albany to give full infor 
mation to the commissioners, and to deliver the request of 
the sachems that Colonel Schuyler and Major Wessels 
should attend the council. After the interpreter had been 
absent some weeks, the sachems became impatient, and 
told Mr. Glen nothing could be done until their Chris 
tian brethren and Quidor (Colonel Schuyler) were with 
them. Glen accordingly returned to Albany to hasten 
the movements of the English delegates. He was sur 
prised to find other gentlemen than those asked for about 
to start on their mission. 

Johannes Schuyler and Bleecker arrived at Onondaga on 
April 28th, having by the way called on the Mohawks and 
the Oneidas. The former declined to have anything to do 
with the council, and sent a message with wampum, that 


they submitted entirely to the direction of the Earl of 
Bellomont. At Onondaga they waited until May yth, 
when the council assembled. They then delivered their 
message according to instructions, and withdrew. After 
consulting two days, Dekanissora returned their answer. 
In its tone and matter it was more independent than 
usual. He said that it was a source of grief to them, that 
the governor did not himself release their friends from 
captivity, while he forbade them to do it. The English 
were slow in procuring a general exchange, and he feared 
that their love had grown cold. " We have been deluded 
by fair promises and little fulfilment. The French gov 
ernor not only keeps our men in prison, but threatens to 
invade our country, unless we go to him and make our 
peace ; and yet the English governor forbids us to go un 
der penalty of breaking the covenant-chain. Our brother 
wishes to build forts in our country. That should have 
been done when they were needed, in time of war. It is 
now peace, and they are of no use. Brother Corlaer, you 
say we are the King of England s subjects. Well, be it so. 
But if the French should make war on us, as they have 
done, pray let us have assistance, and not delude us with 
falsehoods, as formerly." Nevertheless, he promised they 
would obey the governor, and not go to Canada, but would 
attend the meeting in Albany, as appointed. " However, 
we desire the governor to be present in person." 

Governor Bellomont could not attend the "appointed 
meeting," for he was in Boston, looking after the affairs 
of that colony, but more especially arranging matters to 
obtain his salary. The lieutenant-governor was in New 
York, and not able to attend. He sent a brief letter of 
instructions. The commissioners were left comparatively 
free to conduct the conference in accordance with their 
own judgment and the temper of the Indians. 


Dekanissora had a great desire to go to Canada as often 
as he could find excuses to justify it. Although Frontenac 
and his successor had insisted on the Iroquois coming to 
make peace, so that there might be an exchange of prison 
ers, they had released from time to time several men, and 
-there were now only two left in their possession. Dekan 
issora kept up all this worry of councils and conferences 
that consent at last might be given to him to make a dip 
lomatic visit to the French governor for an exchange. 

True to their appointment, the sachems of the Five Na 
tions assembled at Albany on June 12, 1699. The commis 
sioners held a private meeting, at which Lieutenant-Gov- 
ernor Nanfan s letter was read, and the form of address to 
be made at the public meeting agreed upon. Opportunely, 
two Albanians had just come back from Canada, and re 
ported that the two Indian prisoners were at liberty, and 
could return to their friends whenever they chose. In 
their address the commissioners excused the absence of the 
governor, and rehearsed the proceedings of the last con 
ference, reminding them of their solemn promises to have 
nothing more to do with the French. As to the prisoners, 
the belief was expressed that there were other reasons 
which prompted them to go to Canada than merely to 
bring back those two men. " That excuse is now out of 
doors," for those men are free, and can come back when 
they choose. The commissioners reminded them of the 
deceptions practised by the French " time out of mind," re 
ferring for instance to the affair of Cadaraqui, and hinting 
that there was a covert design on the part of the Canadian 
governor to again put in practice some other evil designs. 
Finally the Indians were told that, as subjects of the English 
crown, they must be obedient, and lay aside all thoughts 
of holding further communications with the French. 

Dekanissora, who was evidently discontented, spoke 


briefly : " Brother Corlaer and Quidor," addressing the 
governor as if present, and linking with his name that of 
the chairman of the commissioners, " you have stopped 
the path to Canada yesterday, and we submit." Aqueen- 
desa, alias Sadakanahtie, took the word, and made a long 
speech. He denied that there was any other reason for 
their wish to go to Canada than a desire to rescue their 
poor countrymen from the French. He was glad that the 
path to Canada had been stopped, provided that it was 
shut against the brethren as well as to themselves, "for of 
late it has become a path knee-deep, so bare have you trod 
it. We are not the only ones deceived by the French. Last 
summer they made you believe, on the report of a poor In 
dian who came from Canada, that four of our nations had 
made peace, leaving out the Mohawks and the brethren, 
something quite impossible. So you see the French can 
deceive you as well as us. 

" Corlaer and Quidor Our heart is full, that no more 
regard is had to our prisoners. You tell us they are free ; 
but we have something else in our heads which makes us 
so eager to go to Canada. That is a tender point, and we 
beg you will handle it discreetly. Brethren, our stomach 
is full, for we see there is no thorough reconciliation 
between the French and us. Let Corlaer appease the 
French, that the kettle of wrath no longer boil. Devise 
some means to get our prisoners out of their hands, else 
some may go and take revenge." 

This speech, from the great war-chief of the central na 
tion, convinced the commissioners that something more 
must be done about the prisoners than the mere declaration 
that they were free. They accordingly asked for a u com 
mittee of conference." This was agreed to, and the com 
mittee appointed. Satisfactory arrangements were made 
to learn the true condition of the two men in Canada, and 


if free to bring them home. But before the conference 
dissolved, such information was received, from both In 
dians and some Frenchmen just arrived in Albany, as to 
convince the sachems that it was no idle report that their 
men were free. After a four-days anxious session, the 
meeting was adjourned with the best of feeling on both 
sides. Altogether the proceedings were wisely conducted 
by Colonel Schuyler and Robert Livingston. 

However free the two Iroquois men may have appeared 
to be in Canada, and notwithstanding the declarations of 
Callieres that they could return home when they pleased, 
they were still detained. Meantime the correspondence 
between Frontenac and Bellomont had been received by 
their respective governments, which issued peremptory 
orders, that all hostilities should cease between their col 
onies in America, until the boundary commissioners ap 
pointed by the treaty of Ryswyk had settled the limits ; 
and that all prisoners and hostages should be at once sur 
rendered. Duplicates of these orders were interchange 
ably sent to the governors of New York and Canada, with 
directions to forward the one to the other as soon as re 
ceived. They were received at New York about July ist, 
and Bellomont being still in New England, Lieutenant- 
Governor Nanfan sent the copy to Callieres with a let 
ter, under date July 3d, in which he took the oppor 
tunity to demand the return of those prisoners. Callieres 
replied on August 6th. He reciprocates Nanfan s expres 
sions of courtesy, and says that he will observe most punc 
tually the commands of his master, the king ; and as a be 
ginning sends back the two Iroquois prisoners. Callieres, 
with the packet sent from home and forwarded by Nanfan, 
received notice of his appointment to the governorship 
of Canada in place of the Count de Frontenac, deceased. 
It was a post he desired, and had solicited. He could well 


afford to begin his administration with a strict compliance 
with the commands of his master. 

It might be supposed, now that the questions of peace 
and the exchange of prisoners were settled, that there 
would be quiet on the borders, and little trouble with the 
Indians. It was a mistake, as we shall see presently. The 
most important question of all was not yet settled that 
of boundaries. The French adhered with tenacity to their 
original claim, that the country of the Five Nations, ex 
cept that occupied by the Mohawks, belonged to them by 
right of discovery and the law of nations. The commis 
sioners under the treaty of Ryswyk, after giving the sub 
ject of the conflicting claims some consideration, ad 
journed without coming to any conclusion. Although 
there was peace, both nations were watchful lest one or 
the other should gain some advantage. Both courted the 
friendship of the Indians the English to hold them to the 
" covenant-chain," as their bulwark ; and the French to 
seduce them, and attach them to their interests. To this 
end they employed various artifices to alarm their fears 
and arouse suspicions. Maricour was active and unscru 
pulous as to the reports he set afloat among them. He had 
lived in their country, knew their language, and had been 
adopted by them. From Fort Frontenac Onondaga was of 
easy access. Both French and Indians often visited each 
other, and Stow Stow found it easy to fill the minds of 
the credulous natives with all sorts of lies and falsehoods. 
Another means to weaken their attachment to the Eng 
lish and it was more effectual than any other was the 
religious zeal of the Jesuit missionaries. The Indians, by 
presents and blandishments, were induced to receive the 
priests and give them protection. The religious senti 
ment was awakened among them, and the missionaries 
gained converts and influence. 


The English gave to the Indians no religious instructors, 
nor residents to become their adopted children. No forts 
or trading-posts were established on their borders. In their 
treaties and conferences they were required to come to 
Albany, as well as for trade, and there was no half-way 
station between the Hudson River and the far-off country 
of the Senecas, with whom and the Cayugas there w r as 
little intercourse. These were open to the French emis 
saries, and were gradually brought under their influence ; 
and eventually the partisans of the French became the 
most numerous. The English were forced to rely on 
presents, the lower prices of their goods, and the higher 
prices paid for beaver-skins, as inducements to retain their 
affection and fidelity. But the Indian question was always 
troublesome and perplexing until Canada was conquered. 

Colonel Schuyler, as chairman of the Indian board, was 
expected to keep the governor informed of all matters 
of interest relating to the Five Nations and the River 
Indians. The Schaghticokes, never very numerous or 
trustworthy, had dwindled in numbers, and had become 
thriftless and poor. However, the government thought it 
desirable to retain them in its interests, because their 
locality afforded opportunities for observing any hostile 
parties from the north, and giving notice to the border 
settlers. Hence they were invited to meet the governor 
when he held conferences with the Five Nations, and 
received the usual presents. They were related to the 
eastern Indians, and still kept up some sort of intercourse 
with them. Those eastern tribes were devoted to the 
French. It was almost a matter of course that their rel 
atives, the Schaghticokes, should sympathize with them, 
and be open to French influences. 

About the last of June Colonel Schuyler communicated 
to Lieutenant-Governor Nanfan some intelligence just 


received, that the Schaghticoke Indians were about to 
settle on Onion River, "near Canada." In case of an 
other war, he said, they will add to the number of our 
enemies, should they be permitted to carry out their 
design. The reason they assigned for their removal was 
that they were in debt to Albanians, were too poor to 
pay, and were in fear of their creditors. The commis 
sioners laughed at their fears, assured them of protection, 
and forbade their removal. Nevertheless, it was thought 
that some fit person should be sent to them to quiet their 
fears and induce them to return. Nanfan approved the 
action taken by the board, and did not doubt its " wisdom 
in this important affair." 

Soon after the late Indian conference the Onondaga 
nation was excited by a report brought from Canada by a 
proselyte, that the England and French had combined to 
extirpate all the Five Nations, and thus rid themselves 
of these troublesome neighbors. A messenger was sent 
to Albany to investigate the alarming report. He was as 
sured that the report was false, and put into circulation 
by the same perfidious French who, in time of peace, had 
sent their friends to the galleys. 

In September following the sachems of the Five Na 
tions were invited to a convention at Albany, to receive a 
message and presents sent to them by the king, and to 
transact some business matters relating to Pennsylvania. 
The conference with the commissioners was hardly closed, 
when an express came from Onondaga to report that 
some French Indians had killed and scalped five Senecas 
while hunting near their castle. This was the fourth time 
some of the Five Nations had been killed since the peace. 
The commissioners immediately sent a courier to Gov 
ernor Bellomont (still in New England) with the news, 
and soliciting his advice. In their letter Colonel Schuyler 


and Secretary Livingston say, "the behavior of the French 
and their Indians since the peace has been intolerable." 
They inform the governor that they have just despatched 
the Mohawks and other Indians, as also the eastern In 
dians, who had engaged that three of their tribes should 
come and settle at Schaghticoke. 

Toward the last of January, 1700, Governor Winthrop, of 
Connecticut, wrote to Bellomont, enclosing copies of sworn 
statements of certain Indians, to the effect that there was 
to be a general rising of the Indians in New York and 
New England against the English, of which the Mohawks 
were the leaders. A Dutchman l was said to be at the 
bottom, as prime mover and instigator. It turned out to 
be a mere rumor, without any foundation, and was traced 
to a French source. At this time the Canadians were 
in a low condition, and unable, if inclined, to give the 
colonies much trouble. There was another scarcity of 
provisions, so stringent that it was almost a famine. The 
garrison at Fort Frontenac, as Colonel Schuyler wrote to 
the governor, was forced to procure food from the Onon- 
daga Indians. Strange retribution for Frontenac s de 
struction of their crops in 1696 ! 

The Earl of Bellomont, writing to the Lords of Trade, 
on February 28, 1700, refers to the French intrigues, and 
their impression on the Five Nations, and says : 

" If a speedy and effectual course be not taken, we shall 
Jose the Five Nations irrecoverably. The French never ap 
plied themselves so industriously as now to debauch them 
from us, and we on our parts have nothing nor do nothing 
to keep em in good humor and steady to us. The forts 

1 The people of Connecticut were more in fear of Dutchmen than of In 
dians. That the story might be sure of credibility, Winthrop s Indian 
informant shrewdly attributed the plot to a Dutchman s revelations to a 
Mohawk, and his advice to secure a store of powder and lead. 


of Albany and Schcnectndy are so weak and ridiculous, 
that they look liker pounds to impound cattle in than 
forts. Our soldiers, who ought to be four hundred men, 
are not over one hundred eighty. The weakness of our 
frontier places and of our garrisons make us contempti 
ble to the Five Nations above all other things. They are 
a discerning people, and know very well, that our piti 
ful forts, and a handful of half starved ragged soldiers 
cannot protect em from the French in time of war. . . . 
It falls out very unluckily, that Col. Schuyler and Mr. 
Livingston, who are the men of best figure in Albany, and 
are most popular with our Five Nations, and the princi 
pal men in managing them and keeping them firm to our 
interest, are at this time in the highest discontent imagi 
nable, and truly not without reason, for both of them had 
good estates, but by victualing the companies they are 
almost (if not quite) broke. I believe they cannot have 
disbursed less than ^7000 between em, besides what 
Col. Cortlandt has disbursed at York for the companies 
there, which I believe is ^3000 by this time. If these 3 
men knew what Sir W m . Ashhurst writ to me of the four 
companies, being cut off all their arrear to the 25 th of last 
March which is 27 months, it wou d make em quite des 
perate ; but I dare not let them know a word of it. ... 
Our Five Nations of Indians are the only barriers at pres 
ent between the French of Canada, and Virginia and 
Maryland, as well as between the French and New York. 
Now if the French can so seduce those nations as to turn 
them against us, Virginia and Maryland will be quite de 
stroyed, and with the greatest ease imaginable 300 of those 
Indians with their usual rapidity would not leave a planter 
or plantation in those two provinces in two months. . . ." 

Notwithstanding the peace and the orders of the French 
king, M. de Longueuil, commandant of the French fort at 
Detroit, called a council of four nations of Indians within 
his jurisdiction, and ordered them to make war on the 
English and their allied Indians. Later in the year 1700, 


he urged the "White River tribe to lift the hatchet against 
the English, commencing by binding and pillaging all the 
English who came to them and on the Beautiful River 
(Ohio). The French, therefore, did not confine them 
selves to intrigues, but urged their Indians to war. 

In consequence of the rumors that the Indians were 
forming a league to extirpate the English, Lord Bello- 
mont gave directions to the Indian board to send Colonel 
Schuyler, Robert Livingston, and Hendrick Hansen, late 
mayor of Albany, to Onondaga, and there make a thor 
ough investigation of the alleged plot. These gentlemen 
left Albany on April 9, 1700, carrying with them full in 
structions, and an address to the Five Nations from his 
excellency. It was Livingston s first visit to " the coun 
tries he had heard so much talk of." In a private letter to 
the governor, he says, " The Indians are dejected and in a 
staggering condition, tho they are so proud and will not 
own it. They are daily made so uneasy by the French, 
that I despair of a good issue, if something be not speedily 
done to relieve them. Presents will not do alone." He 
reported the negotiations of the three commissioners, sup 
plemented by his own personal observations. Both are 
interesting papers. He remarks of the Mohawks : "They 
were much lessened by the late war, but more since the 
peace, by the French daily drawing them from us to Can 
ada, so that near two-thirds of the nation are now actually 
in Canada with their families, who are kindly received, be 
ing clothed from head to foot, secured by a fort, and have 
priests to instruct them." Two reasons are assigned for 
their desertion : i. " Fear ; seeing the French so formid 
able as to destroy their castles, and we not able to protect 
them." 2. " Our neglect of sending ministers among 
them to instruct them in the Christian faith." The reme 
dies to be applied, he remarks, are forts and missionaries : 


a fort in the Onondaga country at the confluence of the 
Seneca and Oneida Rivers, and another as far west as 
Detroit ; missionaries to teach them the Christian faith 
and practices, and to wean them especially "from the dia 
bolical practice of poisoning one another;" He found the 
" Indians the same as he always took them to be, a subtle, 
designing people," influenced mainly by fear and interest. 
They feared the French because of their blows ; they 
loved the English because of their presents. In their es 
timation the French were the devil, and the English the 
source of good. 

The commissioners returned to Albany on May 2d, hav 
ing been absent three weeks. In their letter to the Earl of 
Bellomont, submitting their report, they say, "We learned 
that the French use all indirect means to vex and terrify 
them, more since the peace than ever ; and if matters be 
suffered to go on as they do, we shall lose them at last. 
The French have a great faction among them ; and those 
who are true to us are put out of the way. We are confi 
dent they are w^holly ignorant of the designs of the eastern 
Indians against the English, for they have opened their 
hearts to us. In our opinion, the only way to secure them 
to the English interest is what your excellency proposes 
a fort among them to protect them, and ministers to in 
struct them." 

Their visit to the Indian country in some respects was 
not well timed. It was the fishing season, and the Indians 
were at the fisheries busily engaged in laying in a supply 
of food. In this work the chief sachems and warriors were 
employed as well as women and slaves. Rank proved no 
exception to the rule that each one by his own hands was 
obliged to procure his own food. The commissioners were 
obliged to go to the fishing stations, and look up the men 
they sought. The Mohawk sachems were on the river 


above Little Falls ; the Oneidas were so far from home that 
they could not be seen ; the Onondagas were on the lakes 
and rivers of their country in various directions. With all 
who were found formal interviews were held, much after 
the manner of the conferences at Albany, by means of belts 
and wampum. They were enabled to study Indian char 
acter and habits from a new standpoint. In all their in 
terviews they were told the same story of French intrigues, 
and of the reports they put in circulation that the English 
had resolved to destroy them by refusing to furnish them 
with guns and ammunition, by the invasion of their country, 
and, above all, by poison. These false reports were received 
as truth by the credulous people ; even the eloquent Dekan- 
issora pretended to believe them. Of course they had much 
influence in cooling their affection for their old friends, 
and driving them to the embraces of their deceivers. 

The commissioners told them that Governor Bellomont 
had heard of such stories afloat among them, and had sent 
them to investigate the reports. They now assured them 
that there was no truth in them, as Lord Bellomont would 
prove at a general conference to be held at Albany in 
August next, to which all the Five Nations were invited. 
He would then show them that these reports were false, 
utterly false, propagated by the French to delude and de 
bauch them. " He will then make you such presents, not of 
clothing only, but of guns and ammunition, in such quanti 
ties as will prove his love and friendship to you, and the 
lies of your enemy, the French. Besides this, he has repre 
sented to the great king your wishes to have a fort near 
your castle, and Protestant ministers to be settled among 
you ; and he is now daily expecting orders to build the one 
and settle the others. The French tell you the English 
will poison you. How absurd that your life-long friends 
should prove so vile. On the other hand, we have cause to 


suspect, that your old enemies and ours have seduced you 
to poison one and another ; for those of you who have 
been most faithful to us, and have done the most signal 
service, they and their whole families have been poisoned. 
They languish and die by slow degrees." 

Belts were then left for the Senecas, Cayugas, and Onei- 
das, whom they had not seen, inviting them to a general 
conference in August. The sachems heartily thanked the 
commissioners for their visit. Their minds had been re 
lieved of a great burden. They promised to keep the ap 
pointment to meet the governor in Albany at the end of 
one hundred and four days. 1 

It was peace. But the French improved their leisure 
in repairing their fortifications at Quebec and Montreal, 
making them strong and substantial. The English w r ere 
suffering theirs to decay. The four companies of regulars 
were reduced to fifty men each, and were not full at that. 
Their pay and subsistence were neglected, so that they 
were reduced to nakedness, " without shirts, breeches, 
shoes, or stockings." The French made their jests about 
the miserable fortifications of Albany, now so ruinous that 
the guns fell through the bastions, and the rotten stockades 
falling from their own weight. " I h-ope in God," ex 
claimed Captain Weems, of Fort Albany, "you will soon 
receive some money for me, for I am in miserable want." 
Truly, Lord Bellomont began to experience some of the 
trials and crosses in time of peace to which his prede 
cessor had been exposed in time of war. His government 
greatly neglected him and his appeals in behalf of his 
poor province. He now, July 26th, wrote home, "the sol 
diers in garrison at Albany are in such a shameful con- 

1 The entire cost of the commissioners on this expedition was 260, 
including belts and presents. The service was undertaken for the interests 
of all the colonies, and was performed at the expense of the poorest. 


dition for the want of clothes, that the women when pass 
ing them are obliged to cover their eyes. The Indians 
ask with significance, Do you think us such fools as to 
believe a king who cannot clothe his soldiers can protect 
us from the French with their fourteen hundred men all 
in good condition ?" 

The affairs of the province at this period were in con 
siderable confusion. Bellomont had spent some time in 
New England, leaving Nanfan, the lieutenant-governor, 
in charge of New York. Nanfan was a young man, not 
very wise or energetic. The Five Nations had been 
much neglected. The Assembly, like the governor, was 
Leislerian in politics, and jealous of the men better ac 
quainted with public affairs than themselves. They had 
declined to make appropriations for the better protection 
of the frontiers, or for presents for the Indians. The home 
government, occupied with their domestic troubles, had left 
the province and its governor to drift along as best they 
could. We have seen their condition and perplexities il 
lustrated by the condition of the forts and garrisons. 
The reports of the commissioners to the Indian country 
have made us somewhat acquainted with the state of 
things among the Five Nations. In this connection, how 
ever, two or three anecdotes will not be inappropriate. 

Some Indians of the Far Nations were at Oriondaga, 
and were solicited by the interpreter to visit Albany with 
their furs. They replied that they were not " so green " 
as to place themselves in the power of those whose friends 
they had "knocked on the head." 

Sadakanahtie, the great war-chief and a friend of the 
English, was forced by the French faction to flee from his 
home for fear of being poisoned, as was his son. He came 
to his friend Quidor, who gave him quarters on his farm. 
His son, as he thought, was poisoned and bewitched. While 


languishing a great sore appeared on his side, out of which 
came handfuls of hair. Dekanissora had made an ill-as 
sorted match. He had married a French proselyte, who 
had been " taught by the Jesuits to poison as well as pray." 
" The Jesuits furnished her with a subtle poison, which 
she carried about under her long finger-nails, and taught 
her how to use it. When water was called for, she dropped 
the poison in the cup." She was believed to have poisoned 
a "multitude" of those well affected to the English. On 
a journey to Albany in company with others, among whom 
was a Christian Mohawk (" a goodly young man "), she 
poisoned him, and his body was left by the wayside. At 
Albany she was recognized by a friend of the murdered 
Mohawk, and "he clubbed her to death." 

The peace enabled some of the proselytes to visit their 
old home, and see old friends, both English and Indian. 
A party of them came to Albany in June with a quan 
tity of beaver. The superior quality of the goods, and 
their cheapness, tempted them to leave the dearer mar 
kets of Montreal and steal away, in spite of all orders and 
prohibitions, to do their trading in Albany. They were 
treated kindly, with the hope of winning them back. 
They had an audience of the board of commissioners, and 
presented them, for the governor, twenty-nine beaver-skins, 
worth in currency forty-one pounds. They received pres 
ents in return of equal value, chargeable on the revenues 
of the province. Their speaker said that they came to 
trade, and not to talk of religion. Only this he would 
say, that all the while he lived here he never heard re 
ligion spoken of, or any mention made of converting 
him to the Christian faith. " If you had given us re 
ligious instructors, I doubt whether any of us had ever 
gone to Canada." 

The Five Nations continued to be annoyed by the In- 


dian allies of the French, notwithstanding the peace and 
the orders of the government. The tribes whom Lon- 
gueuil had urged to lift the hatchet laid in wait for the 
Senecas while out hunting, and killed several of them. 

A delegation of the Five Nations, Dekanissora among 
them, appeared before the commissioners, and entered a 
complaint against the French for their infraction of the 
peace. The far Indians had confessed that they had been 
urged to such deeds by the French themselves. It was 
now three years that the Five Nations had been harassed 
in this way. They were tired and worn out ; they had 
no rest, no assurance of safety. The Senecas had now 
taken the matter of peace in their own hands, and had 
sent some of their sachems to Canada to negotiate. 

A few days afterward some of the sachems again pre 
sented themselves before the commissioners with a report 
just received from Canada. The Seneca delegates had 
seen Callieres at Montreal, and had complained of the 
murders perpetrated by the French Indians. He told them 
that it was their own fault, in not coming to him to make 
peace, and that as soon as they sent their sachems to him 
for that purpose he would take the hatchet from the hands 
of those Indians. 

Sufficient proof has now been presented, that the French 
were insincere in their professions of courtesy and kindly 
feeling toward their English neighbors. All their protes 
tations about observing the directions of their king in ref 
erence to the Five Nations were idle wind. They seem to 
have been determined to gain control over the Iroquois 
by all menns in their power. It was chiefly the course 
they continued to pursue in this regard which ultimately 
proved so disastrous to them. .Had they adopted a more 
honorable policy, and not sought universal empire, they 
might have retained a large portion of the American con- 


tinent over which to perpetuate their power and glory. 
Endeavoring to grasp too much, they lost the whole. 

Only a few days before the time appointed for Bello- 
mont to hold his conference with the Five Nations, in Au 
gust, 1700, he received a letter from Colonel Schuyler, in 
forming him that M. Maricour, with a priest and several 
other Frenchmen, had arrived at Onondaga. Bellomont 
then wrote a postscript to a letter he had just finished to 
the Lords of Trade, in which he says that the French have 
as many friends among the Onondagas as the English, a 
fact greatly to be regretted, for they are the most warlike 
of the Five Nations, except the Mohawks, " who are dwin 
dled to nothing almost." He fears the Five Nations are 
lost, and " questions whether it be in the art of man to re 
trieve them." For once he does not attribute this state of 
things to Fletcher, but to the English Government itself, 
because it failed to comply with his advice, in consequence 
of which he "is left destitute, in all manner of ways of 
support." He dare not now undertake to recover those 
nations from the French. 

After his return from Boston, Bellomont met the As 
sembly. Their session was short, and not noteworthy, 
because the governor had to meet the Five Nations in 
conference at Albany in the middle of August. He was 
detained, as it was, longer than was prudent, and feared 
lest the sachems had arrived and were waiting for him. 
To his surprise, they were not there when he came. More 
than that, they did not come for two weeks. As usual, he 
suspected that they had been tampered with by his politi 
cal opponents, and had purposely kept him waiting. The 
truth is, the governor was almost as credulous as the In 
dians. He could be made to believe almost anything, how 
ever absurd, of men who did not agree to all his notions, 
and had independence enough to express their opinions. 


He afterward learned the cause of the delay. Many of 
the Indians were yet under the delusion, so studiously 
propagated by the French, that the English intended to 
poison them, and much time had been spent discussing the 
matter among themselves, before they could fully deter 
mine to put themselves within the power of Bellomont. 

On August 26, 1700, sixteen days after the appointed 
time, the conference assembled. It was opened with great 
formality, and with imposing numbers. There were pres 
ent, besides the governor, three of his Council, the mayor, 
recorder and aldermen of Albany, justices of the peace, the 
sheriff, officers of the garrison and prominent citizens, fifty 
sachems and as many warriors from all the Five Nations. 
The earl in a carefully prepared speech opened the pro 
ceedings. He alluded to the false reports put into circula 
tion by the French Jesuits, and assured them that, before 
the close of their conference, they would be convinced the 
stones of killing them by poison or otherwise, and of refus 
ing to furnish them with guns and ammunition, were utter 
ly groundless. He then dwelt at length on the subject of 
religious instruction. 1 He contrasted the true Protestant 
religion to that of the Jesuits, and promised to supply them 
with ministers of the true gospel. Mr. Freeman was to be 
settled at Schenectady, who would instruct the Mohawks, 
and another young man was ready to reside as a mission 
ary among them. Bellomont had become thoroughly con 
vinced that the religious question among the Five Nations 
was important. The Mohawks, the most warlike and bar- 

1 Bellomont had just received trustworthy information that the Indian 
proselytes in Canada had greatly increased since the peace. In one vil 
lage they had increased from eighty-seven fighting men to three hundred 
and fifty, chiefly recruited from the Mohawks, "who come, said a French 
merchant, like wolves around the village, and beg the priests to take com 
passion on them." 


barous of all the Indian nations on the continent, and who 
had cruelly killed the Jesuit missionaries sixty years be 
fore, were now the most solicitous for religious instruc 
tion. They had deserted their country in large numbers, 
until the nation was " dwindled to nothing almost." Domi 
nie Dellius was the only Protestant minister who had been 
successful in winning converts. But he had been banished 
by Bellomont just after the close of the war, and his neo 
phytes were left without a shepherd. Had he been per 
mitted to remain and continue his labors, the rush to Can 
ada would have been far less. 

Sadakanahtie replied the next day to the governor s 
speech in courteous terms, accepting his advice, and ex 
pressing entire devotion to the covenant-chain. He de 
clared that it was the wish of all the nations to have a Prot 
estant minister settled at Onondaga, the capital, and closed 
by wishing the governor to make some arrangements to 
have them taught, as formerly, by the minister when they 
came to Albany. 

After the conference was adjourned for the day, some of 
the Protestant Mohawks asked liberty to speak. Hendrick, 
their spokesman, said that since yesterday, acting upon 
the governor s advice to the Five Nations, they " had pre 
vailed upon Brandt, and Jacob, and three others, who had 
determined to emigrate to Canada, to stay in their own 
country." Brandt confirmed what Hendrick had said. " He 
was now resolved to live and die in his country," and be 
further instructed in the Protestant religion. These were 
men who had been taught and baptized by Dominie Del 
lius. Hendrick was admitted to membership in the Dutch 

On the third day of the session Bellomont referred to 
their wish of having a Protestant minister settled at Onon 
daga, and said that he had conversed with some clergy- 


men, and had found that there was an unwillingness to 
settle there, unless there were a fort to protect them from 
enemies. This \vas reasonable, and inasmuch as they had 
once asked him to build one, he and the Assembly had 
arranged to comply with their wishes. For this purpose 
a.n engineer now present would visit their country to fix 
the site, and as soon as he reported the work would be 

Sadakanahtie, in behalf of the Five Nations, heartily 
thanked his lordship for all he proposed as to missionaries 
and the fort. He proffered their cheerful assistance to 
the engineer when in their country looking for the best 
location for a military establishment. 

On the fourth day of the session Bellomont, among 
other things, proposed that they should send three sons of 
their sachems to New York to be instructed in English 
and Indian free of charge. To this it was replied, that 
they were not masters of their children ; that their wives 
were the sole disposers of them while under age. 

The sixth day his lordship made them a farewell speech, 
and then distributed the presents provided by the Assem 
bly. Among them were two hundred guns, twelve hun 
dred pounds of powder, and two thousand pounds of 
lead. These were convincing arguments to show the fal 
sity of the reports circulated by the French. 

The sachems had not come prepared to exchange pres 
ents so large and costly, and were obliged to go to the 
market and buy an additional stock of beaver-skins. The 
next day Sadakanahtie made several propositions in reply 
to the governor s speech, and presented at the end of 
each one nine beavers, amounting in all to ninety, to 
which Hendrick, the Protestant Mohawk, added eighteen. 
These were the governor s perquisites, and amounted to 
over ^150. 


After the public conferences the earl held some private 
interviews with a few chosen sachems, as also with the 
River Indians. In all he spent eight days with the In 
dians. Dekanissora was not present ; probably he was 
fearful of poisoned rum. Sadakanahtie was the principal 
speaker. He proved himself on this occasion more than 
a match for Bellomont, showing, in a quiet way, the ab 
surdity of some of the governor s propositions. Perhaps 
it was this, perhaps the gout, which put the governor out 
of humor ; his temper was certainly ruffled. In his long 
letter to the Lords of Trade, giving an account of this 
convention, he shows his discontent and irritability in sev 
eral ways. " My conference lasted seven or eight days, 
and in my whole life I never went under such fatigue. I 
was shut up in a close chamber with fifty sachems, who, 
besides the stink of bears grease, with which they plenti 
fully daubed themselves, were either continually smoking / 
tobacco or drinking rum." The Assembly was not so 
loyal as when he first met them, and had passed several 
"frivolous" bills. The "angry men had succeeded in in 
timidating them." The commissioners for Indian affairs 
were detected in "unfair practices, by making large bills 
for care of the Indians, and Colonel Schuyler above all 
others was guilty of this." "Sadakanahtie and twenty- 
five others had been maintained at his house two months 
at the king s charge." " Colonel Schuyler was vain 
enough to absent himself from one of the sessions, and 
have one of his friends call for him." "I was eight days 
and as many nights coming down the Hudson in a little, 
nasty sloop." The Five Nations "are apt to be perfidious." 
" I suspended Lieutenant Lancaster Symms for two years _ 
absence from his post." " Major Ingoldesby has been ab. 
sent four years, and was so brutish as to leave his wife and 
children to starve." " I have suspended Chaplain Smith 


for immorality." " I suspended Mr. Augustine Graham 
for drunkenness and rowdyism." "I am puzzled to know 
whom to recommend for new councillors, unless mer 
chants." "At Albany the soldiers are worse used than 
here, to Mr. Livingston s only satisfaction." " Mr. Cort- 
landt has grown crazy and infirm." " The merchants here 
have combined against me." "The soldiers that came 
last from England were about to mutiny." "I shall con 
clude by reminding your lordships of a better salary for 

" Postscript My part of the conference was every word 
dictated by me, and drawn by my own hand," for the 
want of a competent secretary. "I hope your lordships 
will increase my salary very soon." The truth was, Bello- 
mont saw that his popularity was on the wane, which 
wounded his pride. He said many things which in more 
complacent moods he would have passed in silence. 

While in Albany the governor revoked iiis former in 
structions to the commissioners for Indian affairs, and sub 
stituted a new code. He was not satisfied with the large 
bills of expenses incurred for the entertainment of the In 
dian sachems who came to Albany on business relating to 
their affairs, or for asylum, as in the case of Sadakanahtie 
and his twenty-five friends, although they had been invited 
to come, without limit as to numbers, whenever they had 
messages to deliver, or business of importance to transact. 
They had been notified particularly to retire to Albany 
whenever they were menaced with dangers they could not 
otherwise escape. Such was the case with Sadakanahtie 
and his party. This danger and its nature were well-known 
to Bellomont, and their escape to Colonel Schuyler s farm 
he had approved. The new instructions required the com 
missioners to notify all the Five Nations "to send no more 
than three Indians on any message whatever, and such 


messengers are allowed to stay no longer than three days 
at most on the king s charge, and will be allowed three 
shillings a day each in cash for their board. Any provi 
sions or money are absolutely forbidden to be paid other 
wise than the above to any Indian, at the king s expense, 
from this date." The effect of this notice will be seen here 
after. Measures like this caused the Five Nations, "the 
bulwark of the English colonies," "the only barrier against 
the French," to be "sullen and out of humor," as Bcllo- 
mont said that they were at first in his late conference. 

The Five Nations acknowledged themselves to be the 
subjects of the English crown, but did not wish to be re 
minded of it too often. They preferred to be treated as 
an independent people, who were the friends and allies of 
the English. At this conference their old friends and ad 
visers had been neglected, and some of them insulted 
by unjust suspicions and accusations. Bellomont conse 
quently had been left to frame his own speeches, and 
" draw them with his own hand." He had no personal mag 
netism, and little acquaintance with Indian character, or 
with their modes of thought or expression ; his speeches 
were didactic, and wholly destitute of imagination ; he 
made no allusions to the renown of their fathers, or to the 
glory of their own warlike deeds ; he did not call them 
"brethren," except at the beginning of his speech ; he ad 
dressed them more as inferiors subject to instructions 
and commands. It is no marvel that they appeared cold 
and not well pleased. It was not until they caught sight of 
the presents that they assumed their wonted cheerfulness. 
Bellomont was conscious that the conference was not a 
success, but did not seem to think that the failure was at 
tributable to himself. It was because, as he believed, his 
political opponents, "the angry men," had sown distrust, 
arid had prejudiced the Indians against him. 


Another thing displeased him. An address, drawn by 
Robert Livingston, and numerously signed by the citizens 
of Albany of both political parties, was presented to him. 
It contained matter which was disagreeable, not to say 
offensive. A fort at Onondaga was his favorite measure, 
and he had expended much labor with the Assembly to 
procure an appropriation to build it, and with the Indians 
to obtain their consent ; and now the Albanians united to 
oppose it. 

The address refers to the hardships of Albany during 
the late war, in which many of the inhabitants were killed 
and taken prisoners, property destroyed, trade ruined, 
population reduced by removals to places of greater 
security, desertions of the Indians to Canada since the 
peace, the gloomy outlook for the future in case of war, 
fortifications gone to decay, soldiers in rags and many 
deserting, and public debts unpaid. To remedy these evils 
in part they pray that a good stone fort may be built in 
Albany, sufficiently large and strong to afford protection 
to the people in time of invasion, and a retreat for the 
allied Indians if driven from their villages. This they 
desire should be done before a fort is erected at Onon 
daga. They allege that the latter would prove so ex 
pensive, being so far away, that the appropriation would 
be insufficient to complete it ; or, if erected, unless better 
care was taken of it than of the forts at Albany and 
Schenectady, it would inevitably fall into the hands of 
the French should another war occur, and prove the 
means of the complete subjugation of the Five Nations to 
the crown of France. 

The governor made no response to this address. Its 
statements and arguments were too strong for a satisfac 
tory answer. Silence was wisdom. He was silenced, but 
not convinced ; he determined to push the work. He 


instructed Colonel Romer, the king s chief engineer in 
America, to go to Onondaga with all convenient speed, 
and select a site for the proposed fort. After this was 
done he was to visit the countries of the Cayugas and 
Senecas. At Onondaga he was directed to inspect the 
salt spring, " taste the water, and give him his opinion 
thereof." He must also "view a spring eight miles be 
yond the Senecas farthest castle, which they have told 
me blazes up in a flame when a firebrand is put into it. 
You must taste the water, give me your opinion of it, and 
bring with you some of it." 

We will follow Colonel Romer into the Indian country, 
and learn of his success in locating the fort. The as 
sembly had appointed two commissioners, Peter Van 
Brugh and Hendrick Hanscn, of Albany, to superintend 
its erection, and they accompanied the engineer on his 
journey. Romer was a foreigner, and knew little of the 
people among whom he was sent. Van Brugh and Han- 
sen knew scarcely more, and although as magistrates they 
had attended the Indian conferences, and the latter had 
accompanied Colonel Schuyler and Robert Livingston to 
Onondaga, they had never participated largely in the 
management of Indian affairs. The want of ordinary 
prudence in sending such a party on important business 
among men of great shrewdness was a blunder such as 
none but Bellomont would have committed. The result 
proved what might have been expected an entire failure. 

The engineer s party left Albany on September 13, 1700, 
and arrived at Onondaga on the 26th. They started on 
horseback ; but after leaving Schenectady they found that 
they could not carry their baggage, and hired a canoe. 
After travelling two days on horseback and with canoe they 
reached the second Mohawk village, when they transferred 
the baggage to the backs of four Indians. At the next vil- 


lage two of the carriers gave out, and their loads were taken 
up by two squaws. With these attendants they reached 
Oneida on the 23d, and were lodged in the cabin of a 
sachem. In the morning they called the sachems to 
gether, and desired them to have a canoe in readiness for 
Colonel Romer on his return. Various objections were 
raised, and finally the request was refused. Their host 
said that he was very sorry, but as he was about to start 
on the war-path with his braves he saw no help for it. 
Their carriers then left them, and they were obliged to 
look for others. Finally they reached Onondaga, where a 
cabin was speedily prepared for their use. Dekanissora 
and some others were not at home, having gone to meet 
the Seneca sachems returning from Canada, to hear the 
news. The next morning the party asked for a canoe, 
in which to go by w r ater to examine a place for the lo 
cation of the fort. The Indians said that there were 
none ; but they could not talk about it now ; they 
must wait till all the sachems were at home. The day 
after the sacherns were not yet come, although they were 
daily expected ; and it was a scandal to talk about 
business until all were come together. The third day 
there was the same excuse. But learning from his son 
that Dekanissora knew nothing about this business, and 
might not return in some days, Romer persuaded the 
sachems to send for him. The Seneca sachems arrived 
from Canada on the 3oth, and the whole day w r as occu 
pied with their narrative of what had occurred in Canada. 
In the afternoon Romer learned that the messenger who 
had been directed to go for Dekanissora had not per 
formed his duty, and he then hired a man to go for him. 
Dekanissora arrived in the afternoon of October ist, and 
called the sachems together. Romer s first request was 
for a canoe to be prepared for him with which to return ; 


his second, that they should lend him two canoes, and 
two of their men, for the purpose of seeking a place on 
which to build the fort. The sachems replied that they 
would give an answer in the morning. 

In the morning Dekanissora said that the Oneida sa 
chems had come to hear the news from Canada, and as 
they were in a hurry to return home the day would have 
to be devoted to that business first After the Canada 
business was concluded, Dekanissora told the party that 
two canoes and three Indians would be at their service 
the next day, but as they were poor they would expect to 
be paid. As for the canoe for Colonel Romer, he would 
consult with them on their return. On the morrow the 
sachem who had been detailed to go with them was drunk, 
and they had to look for another. They spent the day on 
the lake, but found no suitable place for a fort. 

Colonel Romer had been instructed to impress upon 
the nations the power and strength of the king to protect 
them from the French, and of the governor s kindness, 
provided the}- were faithful. The day after the fruitless 
trip on the lake was devoted to this duty. He held a 
conference with Dekanissora and a few other sachems, as 
sisted by the Senecas just returned from Canada. Dekan 
issora was the speaker, and again rehearsed the proceed 
ings with the French governor, after which he turned to 
Romer and his party, and with a little chain of wampum 
remarked : "Brother Corlaer, as we are one in heart and 
soul, what one knows the other ought to know also. 
Brother Corlaer, it is not good that we should know 
nothing of what you say in Canada." 

Romer replied by his match-coat, for he had nothing else 
to give : " Brethren, we are sorry to hear that since the 
death of Dekanissora s wife he is resolved to divest him 
self of business cares, and live solitary, like a hermit. We 


desire him to return, and resume the government. Breth 
ren, I hope that according to your promise you will not 
suffer the French or French priests to be among you." 

Dekanissora replied : " As to that, we should soon send 
some great sachem who could speak with them." 

On October 6th, Dekanissora and one other sachem went 
with Romer s party to the outlet of Oneida Lake, where a 
short distance off they found a suitable site for a fort. 
Returning to Onondaga on the yth, they found that the men 
and Indians had arrived whom Bellomont had delegated 
to go to the far Indians with his passes through the Five 
Nations. The Onondaga sachems, learning the business of 
these men, were not pleased, and left in an angry mood. 
The men were frightened by the stories told them by the 
Onondagas of the dangers of such a trip. They resolved 
to give up the journey, and return home. Poor Romer 
thought it was time for him to move, and get out of the 
Indian country as soon as possible. On the 8th he went 
within half a mile of the castle, and, fearing to go nearer 
because of the drunken Indians, he sent for Dekanissora 
and the other sachems to meet them in the field. They 
came and held a final interview. 

Romer reproved them for not furnishing a canoe, that 
he might go home by water, and observe how the water 
way might be improved, according to the governor s in 
structions. To this they made no reply. To the question 
as to the best location for the fort, it was said : " Two na 
tions cannot decide ; you must wait until we consult with 
the other two." "When will the Indians be ready to work 
on the fort ? " "If you begin work too early in the spring, 
you must work alone, for our people will be hunting. 
Therefore I pity you," said the orator. " Better not com 
mence work until after our next conference in the spring." 
Dekanissora gave them a bit of parting advice : " Brother 


Corlner, if it should so happen that some French priests 
come here, do not send an interpreter only, but also a 
great officer or two, with whom to consult," and threw 
down a beaver. Colonel Romer innocently remarks, 
" having nothing else to give, we presented them with a 
gun, which Mr. Livingston had lent me for mine own use." 
After the party had mounted, the Indians gave a loud 
huzza, and thus they parted. 

Romer did not taste the waters of the saline spring, nor 
did he visit the well whose waters broke into a blaze on 
the application of a torch. He was glad to get away, and 
did not prolong his stay with the Indian allies. 

Bellomont s stupidity in this whole affair was marvellous. 
In his conference he had treated the Five Nations as 
wards of his government, and issued his orders as laws to 
be obeyed. He had distributed a large amount of pres 
ents, and had seemed to believe that was sufficient to en 
sure a full compliance with all his arrangements, not tak 
ing into account the beavers he received in return, which, 
according to their custom, the Indians believed a full 
equivalent for all which they had received. He had re 
quired them to furnish three men to guide the engineer in 
his explorations, and to provide canoes for his use on 
Oneida Lake, Wood Creek, and the Mohawk River, but he 
had made no provision for compensation. He had directed 
the engineer and his party to confer with the Onondaga 
and other sachems, but had given them no belts or pres 
ents, not even a string or handful of wampum, so that in 
obeying his instructions Colonel Romer was obliged to 
use his overcoat and a borrowed gun. The men who had 
influence with the sachems had been studiously ignored, 
even to the interpreter, while others who had no influence 
had been selected to execute a work which he pretended 
to believe of the first importance. He had ordered the 


Indians to give unobstructed passage to the remote In 
dians through their country to Albany, and to traders 
going thence to them. Without waiting for their consent, 
merely on the strength of his orders, fre had organized a 
party of traders and River Indians to visit the distant 
tribes, and had given them passes, which he supposed the 
Five Nations would respect without any notice of his inten 
tions. Dekanissorawas in disgrace with his tribe, and had 
retired for a time to private life; him ho, had selected 
as the particular man with whom the engineering party 
should communicate. Sadakanahtie, the most influential 
and active of all the chiefs, was neglected. It is no mar 
vel, with such arrangements and instructions, with such 
neglect of the commonest precautions, with such over 
bearing treatment of a people proud of their position, as 
the masters of a great empire conquered by their arms, 
and as the arbiters between two rival European nations, 
the project of the fort and trade with far-off tribes should 
have utterly failed. Well might Dekanissora and his few 
friends raise a " loud huzza " when they saw the engineer 
and the commissioners of the fort on their homeward 

Bellomont could not see, or would not admit, that he was 
at fault for the failure of his projects. He suspected that 
Colonel Schuyler and his friends "had infused a jealousy 
into the Indians," which made them averse to the fort. 
" If," said he, " I could manage the Five Nations to my 
mind, I could accomplish my purpose ; but we have some 
men at Albany as angry as any in New York, and they 
cross all my measures with the Indians. They are cun 
ning, and I cannot prove it on them. Mr. Livingston 
-assured me that there was a league between Colonel 
Schuyler, Major Wessels, Mr. Dellius, Mr. Bancker, and 
the chief sachems ; that the latter would transact no 


business without the privity of the former." No doubt 
there was such an understanding, when those gentlemen 
were commissioners of Indian affairs ; but, except Colonel 
Schuyler, they had ceased to hold that office more than 
two years before this period, and Mr. Dellius long since 
was in Holland. 

Bellomont had no doubt that Colonel Schuyler had 
been playing tricks, yet so cunningly that he could not be 
detected, and in the same connection he says, "Schuyler 
is wholly under the influence of his brother-in-law, Mr. 
Nicol." He thought his best course for securing the Five 
Nations would be to live at Albany a year, where he could 
" watch the behavior of Colonel Schuyler and his asso 
ciates." "I would let him know, and the Indians see, 
that I had the management of them, and not he." Poor 
man ! he had already convinced them of this fact by his 
late management. "Jealousy had been infused into " his 
own mind, not of himself and his methods, but of Schuyler, 
whose " management " had been more successful than his 









Under the Dutch. 
The Council, 

Under the English. 

Under the Dutch. 
BENCKES, and a Council of War, 

Under the English. 


Commander-in-chief, ANTHONY BROCKHOLLES, 

Commander-in-chief, ANTHONY BROCKHOLLES, 




May 4, 1626 

March, 1632 

April, 1633 

March 28, 1638 

May n, 1647 

Sept. 8, 1664 
Aug. 17, 1667 

Aug. 12, 1673 
Sept. 19, 1673 

Nov. 10, 1674 

Nov. 1 6, 1677 

Aug. 7, 1678 

Jany. 13, 1681 

Aug. 27, 1682 

Aug. n, 1688 




Lieutenant-Governor, FRANCIS NICHOLSON, 



Commander-in-chief, MAJOR RICHARD INGOLDESBY, 


Oct. 9, 1688 
June 3, 1689 
March 19, 1691 
July 26, 1691 
Aug. 30, 1692 


" RICHARD COOTE, Earl of Bellomout, April 13, 1698 

Lieut.- Go v., JOHN NAN FAN, May 17, 1699 


The Eldest Councillor present, 

Lieut.-Gov., JOHN NANFAN, 

Governor, EDWARD HYDE, Viscount Cornbury, 











President, RIP VAN DAM, 


Pres. & Lieut.-Gov., GEORGE CLARKE, 



Lieut.-Gov., JAMES DE LANCEY, 


Lieut.-Gov., JAMES DE LANCEY, 
Pres. & Lieut.-Gov., CADWALLADER GOLDEN, 


Lieu t. -Go v., CADWALLADER GOLDEN, Nov. 18, 1761 


Lieut. -Oov., CADWALLADER COLDEN, June 28, 1763 

Governor, SIR HENRY MOORE, Bart., Nov. 13, 1765 

July 24, 1700 

March 5, 1701 

May 19, 1701 

May 3, 1702 

Dec. 1 8, 1708 

May 6, 1709 

May 9, 1709 

May 25, 1709 

June i, 1709 

April 10, 1710 

June 14, 1710 

July 21, 1719 

Sept. 17, 1720 

April 15, 1728 

July i, 1731 

Au S- !> I73 2 

March 10, 1736 

Sept. 2, 1743 

Oct. 10, 1753 

Oct. 12, 1753 

Sept. 3, 1755 
June 3, 1757 
Aug. 4, 1760 

1 Commissioned as lieutenant governor July 30, 1736; sworn October 30, 1736. Lord 
De La Warr was appointed governor June, 1737, but resigned in September following. 




Lieut. -Gov., CADWALLADER GOLDEN, Sept. 12, 1769 

Governor, JOHN MURRAY, Earl of Dunmore, Oct. 19, 1770 

" WILLIAM TRYON, July 9, 1771 

Lieut. -Gov., CADWALLADER GOLDEN, April 7, 1774 

Governor, WILLIAM TRYON, June 28, 1775 

" JAMES ROBERTSON, * March 23 _ 1780 

Lieut.-Gov., ANDREW ELLIOTT,* April 17, 1783 

* Not recognized by the State. 




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