DISCOVERY AND SETTLEMENT BY THE DUTCH, 1609-1636
IT is not positively known who discovered the territory now known as Delaware, but as early as 1526, the Spaniards not only explored the whole coast from the Mexican Gulf, northward to and beyond the thirty-fifth degree of latitude, but had even attempted to form a settlement about that parallel. There is evidence,* apparently incontrovertible, that the Chesapeake was known to the Spaniards, and that an expedition had been made by them for the occupation of its coasts at least twenty years before we have any knowledge of any attempt of the English to establish themselves in any part of the American continent. In view of these facts it would have been strange that the great basin, now known as Delaware Bay, should have remained unknown to the Spaniards until it was visited by Henry Hudson in 1609.
In the sixteenth century enterprises for discovery were numerous, and the daring and skill of the early voyagers who led the way to the colonization of the United States deserve the highest admiration. The character of the prevalent winds and currents was unknown, and the ships employed for discovery were generally of less than one hundred tons burden. Frobisher sailed in a vessel of but twenty-five tons; two of those of Columbus were without a deck, and so perilous were the voyages deemed that the sailors were accustomed, before embarking, to perform solemn acts of devotion, as if to prepare for eternity.
It is certain that the first practical discovery of the Delaware Bay and River and of the New York Bay and Hudson River was made in 1609, by Henry Hudson,** an English navigator in the service of the Dutch East India Company, whose title to immortality seems to be assured by the fact that one of the largest bays and one of the noblest rivers in the world equally bear his name, and are admitted to have been discovered by him. The discovery of Delaware Bay and River was made, according to the journal kept by Robert Jewett (or Juet), the first officer of Hudson's ship, on August 28, 1609 (new style), and on this discovery the Dutch founded their claim to the countries binding upon and adjacent to the North (Hudson) and the South (Delaware) Rivers.***
The accounts of Hudson's third voyage and his discovery of the North and South Rivers are too accurate, circumstantial, and satisfactory to allow of any question in regard to them. Hudson's journal as well as that of Robert Juet are preserved in Purchas' Pilgrims, and Juet has given not only the courses and distances sailed on the coast, but the various depths of water obtained by soundings off the bars and within the capes of the two bays Juet's log-book of August 28, 1609, has indeed been tested by actual soundings and sailing distances, and is found to be so accurate to this day that his route can be minutely followed.
At noon Hudson having passed the lower cape, the shores were descried stretching away northwest,(4*) while land was also seen towards the northeast, which he at first took to be an island, but it proved to be the main land and the second point (5*) of the bay.(6*)
The remainder of the day was spent in sounding the waters, which were in some parts filled with shoals, as at the present time, so that the "Half Moon," though of light draught, struck upon the hidden sands. "Hee that will throughly discover this great Bay," says Juet, "muste have a small Pinnasse that must draw but four or five foote water, to sound before him."
At sunset the master anchored his little vessel "in eight fathomes water," and found a tide running from the northwest; "and it riseth one fathome and floweth South-South-east."(7*) "From the strenth of the current that set out and caused the accumulation of sands," he "suspected that a large river discharged into the bay."(8*)
In the course of the night, the weather, which had been intensely warm all day, suddenly changed. A passing storm dispelled the heat, while the breeze blowing from the land refreshed the weary men with the moist perfumes of sweet shrubs and summer flowers. At early dawn the explorations were renewed and Hudson stood towards the "norther land," where he again "strooke ground" with his rudder. Convinced that the road to China did not lie that way, he hastened to emerge from the Delaware in search of new channels through which he might pass quickly to India, the goal of his wishes. Imbued with this idea, he continued his voyage along the coast of New Jersey, and cast anchor, on the 3d of September, within the shelter of what is now Sandy Hook, New York. His subsequent discovery of the river which bears his name, and his ascent to a point in the vicinity of the present city of Albany, are facts too well known to be given repetition here.(9*)
The English early gave the name of Delaware Bay and River to the South River of the Dutch, upon the pretext that it was discovered by Lord de la Warr in his voyage to Virginia in 1610. Mr. Brodhead and other writers, however, have plainly shown that Lord La Warr never saw Delaware Bay, and that the name Cape La Warr (10*) was given to Cape May by the roistering Capt. Samuel Argalls, of Lord Somers' squadron, who, being separated from his commander in a fog off the Bermudas, in that voyage the narration of which is supposed to have given Shakspeare his theme for the Tempest, was carried by a cyclone as far north as Cape Cod, and descending the coast again to Virginia, sighted the cape in question and gave his lordship's name to it.
The Dutch eventually rested their claim to the New Netherlands upon the magnificent discoveries of Hudson, as opposed to the English claim through the general discovery by the Cabots, but they did not immediately profit by them to any great extent, nor did they make prompt endeavors to by that best of all methods, organized colonization. Indeed, when it is taken into consideration that Holland was then the first maritime power and the greatest trading country of the world; that Amsterdam was to the north what Venice had been to the Mediterranean and the less known seas of two continents; that her traffic with Russia frequently necessitated the sending of as many as seventy or eighty ships a year to Archangel, and further, when it is brought to mind that her people had for years been urged by the energetic Usselinx (of whom much more anon), to systematically seek the riches of the New World, it is difficult to form other conclusion than that the Dutch were somewhat dilatory in taking advantage of their enlarged opportunities. There were reasons, which will presently be explained, for the avoidance of colonization schemes, but the tardiness, the comparatively inconsequential character and the incompletely organized efforts of this nation of merchants, towards establishing trade with the rich, new found regions of the world are facts not easily accounted for. What the Dutch at first undertook and actually accomplished, however, was inspired by monetary rather than political ambition.
The reports carried to Holland by Hudson were far more favorable in regard to the North than the Zuydt or South River, and to the former were directed the first commercial expeditions of the Dutch. The "Half Moon" in 1610 was sent back to the North River with a trading cargo, and took to Holland a heavy cargo of cheaply bought furs. In 1611 (the same year that Hudson was abandoned to a horrible death) Hendrick Christiaensen, of Cleves near Niemguen, Holland, a West India trader, and Adrien Block, of Amsterdam, chartered a ship in company with the Schipper Rysar, and made a voyage to the Manhattans and "the great river of the mountains," returning with a quantity of furs and bringing also two sons of Indian chiefs, whom they named "Valentine," and "Orson." These young savages, and the rare but cheap furs from their native land, appear to have roused the phlegmatic Hollanders from their lethargy, and public interest in the newly discovered territories began to show some liveliness. A memorial on the subject was presented to the Provincial States of Holland and West Friesland by several merchants and inhabitants of the United Provinces, and, says Brodhead, "it was judged of sufficient interest to be formally communicated to the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Hoorn and Euckhuysen."(11*) In the following year Christiaensen and Block received material aid from several leading merchants, and fitted out two vessels, the "Fortune" and "Tiger," upon which they sailed again to the Hudson and traded along its banks with the Indians. In 1813 other merchants, allured by the handsome profits of these ventures, caught the New World fever, and the "Little Fox," under command of John De Witt, and "Nightingale," under Thys Volkertsen, were sent out from Amsterdam, while the owners of the ship "Fortune," of Hoorn, placed their vessel under charge of Captain Cornelis Jacobsen Mey (or May). This little fleet sailed to the Hudson River, where Block's vessel, the "Tiger," was destroyed by fire just as he was about to set sail for Holland in the fall. Undaunted by this misfortune, the mariner built a hut on the shore of a small island (named by him Block Island), and spent the winter of 1613-14 in constructing a boat to supply the place of the "Tiger." This was a yacht of thirty-eight feet keel, forty-four and one-half feet long, and eleven feet wide, with a carrying capacity of sixteen tons. This little craft, the first built by Europeans in that part of America which became the United States, the builder named the "Onrust" or "Restless," and the name passed into history, and became famous as that of the vessel which bore the first actual explorers of the Delaware River. By the time that the "Onrust" was finished and nearly ready for service, in the spring of 1614, the companion vessels of the preceding year, heretofore enumerated, were on their way over the ocean, to begin their second season's work. This time, however, they came under new auspices, for in consequence of the presentation of petitions by "many merchants interested in the maritime discovery" to the "High and Mighty States General of Holland," an edict or ordinance had been issued (12*) declaring that it "was honorable, useful and profitable" that the people of the Netherlands should be encouraged to adventure themselves in discovering unknown countries, and for the purpose of making the inducement "free and common to every one of the inhabitants," it was granted and conceded that "whoever shall from this time forward discover any new passages, havens, lands or places, shall have the exclusive right of navigating to the same for four voyages." It was provided that the discoverer should, within fourteen days from his return, deliver to the State "a pertinent report of his discoveries," and that in case any discoveries were made simultaneously by different parties, they were to enjoy in common the rights acquired.
In the spring, when voyaging began, Christiaensen pushed up the Hudson and erected a trading post and block-house on Castle Island, just below the site of Albany; Block, with the "Onrest," explored Long Island Sound, and Mey sailed directly southward, upon the "Fortune," charted the coast from Sandy Hook to the Delaware and, entering that bay, gave his surname (now spelled May) to the northern cape, his Christian name, Cornelis, to the southern cape opposite, and to the southern cape, facing the ocean, the name of Hindlopen or Henlopen, probably after Thymen Jacobsen Hinlopen, of Amsterdam, or a town in Friesland, though the latter, applied as it was to a false cape, was subsequently transferred to the Delaware cape (near Lewes), which now bears it. There is no evidence that May attempted to change the name of Delaware Bay and River from that given by the Dutch, Zueydt River,(13*) or that he landed at any point. In the fall the vessels of the trading squadron all returned to Holland, except the "Onrust," which was left at Manhattan under the command of Captain Cornelis Hendricksen, doubtless for the express purpose of making a more minute examination of the country. The returned navigators and their associate merchants formed a company, drew up a report and chart of their several discoveries, and proceeded to the Hague to claim a concession under the edict of March 27, 1614. In the presence of the twelve mighty lords of the States General, by John Van Olden Barneveldt, the "advocate" of Holland, they unfolded what they called a "figurative map" of the West India (or American) coast, told their tale of adventures, discoveries, loss and gain, and asked for the monopoly which the edict promised. It was at once granted, and a special charter to them of exclusive privileges to trade for four voyages in the region they had explored, which now, for the first time, obtained the name of the "NEW NETHERLANDS", was drawn up and signed October 11, 1614. The territory covered by this charter was all of the region from New France (as the French possessions in Canada were called) and Virginia. The company was granted the privilege, exclusively, to navigate to the newly-discovered lands for five voyages, within the period of three years, commencing the 1st of January, 1615. The privilege expired on the 1st of January, 1618, and there is no evidence now extant that any of the vessels ever traded on the Delaware. This charter had a broader historical importance and greater influence in the chain of cause and effect than the mere granting of a valuable franchise to a half dozen or more individuals, for it, in effect, asserted that the Dutch territory of the New Netherlands embraced all the territory and coast line of North America from the fortieth to the forty-fifth parallel.
Hendricksen in the little yacht "Onrust" (scarcely larger than the smallest oyster shallop of the present day), was meanwhile engaged in making the first actual exploration of the Delaware Bay and River, a work which seems to have occupied the greater part of the year 1615, and some portion of the succeeding one. Authorities radically differ as to the extent of the Captain's explorations, some firmly asserting that he went as far north as the Schuylkill, and that he was, therefore, the first white man to gaze upon the site of the city of Philadelphia, and others stoutly denying that he went beyond the head of the Bay or the mouth of the Delaware River proper. Without entering into an elaborate and unsatisfying discussion of the merits of these clashing assertions, it may be stated that the former possesses the greater portion of probabilities, and has been generally conceded by the not over captious class of critics and historians. The chief ground for belief that he did sail up the river is to be found in his report, in which he speaks of having "discovered and explored certain lands, a bay and three rivers, situated between 38 and 40 degrees," corresponding respectively to the south boundary of Maryland, where it touches the Atlantic and the latitude of Philadelphia. It would seem from this statement that no other than the Delaware Bay and River and the Christiana and Schuylkill could be meant. But little has been preserved of the information which Hendricksen carried to Holland concerning his voyage. What is saved from oblivion may be regarded as the first record of man upon the Delaware, and it is enough to show that he landed at several places, took soundings, drew charts and discovered the contour of the bay and the capabilities of the river. He tells how he traded with the Indians for skins of various kinds, sables, otter, mink, bear robes, etc. He speaks of the vegetation of the shores and mentions the kinds of trees that abound the oaks, hickories and pines, richly draped and festooned here and there with grape vines and flowering creepers.
The forests he says were alive with game, bucks, does, turkeys and partridges. "He hath found," says his report, "the climate of said country very temperate," and he believed it to be similar in temperature to Holland.
At Christiana Creek where he landed, and possibly walked over the very ground that was destined to be covered with the streets and buildings of the City of Wilmington, Hendricksen met a band of Minquas (or Mingse) Indians, and redeemed from them three white men, who in the spring of 1616 had left the Dutch Fort near the site of Albany, wandered up the Mohawk Valley, crossed the dividing ridge to the head waters of the Delaware, and descended that stream until they had encountered the Minquas and been made prisoners by them.(14*)
In the summer of 1616, Captain Hendricksen was again in Holland, for on August 19, he laid his report of discoveries and claims for extensive trading privileges before the States General.(15*) For some reason which does not clearly appear this was not granted, and the brave and energetic explorer reaped no advantage from his arduous and dangerous undertaking, nor did he further figure in the cisatlantic affairs of his nation.(16*)
If of little use to himself, Hendricksen's discoveries were nevertheless of vast importance to Holland, and of far-reaching influence and effect in the planting of the American Colonies. His report of his voyages along the coast and exploration of the great Zuydt River, did more to bring about be the organization of the Dutch West India Company than any one power, if possibly we except the long continued patient, powerful and adroit manipulations of public opinion by William Usselinx. This man who had long before been a character in the action of the drama of human progress now became a most prominent one. He was a native of Antwerp, in Brabant, a merchant, who had traveled several years in Spain, Portugal and the Azores Islands, and had become thoroughly familiar with the profitable commerce carried on between those countries and West India, as all of the then known America was called.(17*)
As early as 1591, on his return to Holland, he proposed to certain merchants a plan to establish a company for carrying on trade with America, and in the following year he presented that plan in writing to the States General, to several cities and numerous individuals. He secured an ardent adherent in the person of Prince Maurice, and at his suggestion traveled throughout Holland to urge his scheme upon the inhabitants, but he could not arouse them, for as he expressed it "The people could not be awakened from their sleep." Now that Hendricksen's report had awakened fresh interest in America, Usselinx in 1616, resumed the agitation that he had commenced at the beginning of the century, and in that year he presented a petition to the States General of Holland and West Friesland, in which he offered to prove the following points:
"1. That through such a west Indian Company the United Netherlands could be strengthened and be better secured against the King of Spain than through all their revenues.
"2. That the country could expect more treasures and a more extensive trade from India than Spain, in case we continue in peace with the King of Spain.
"3. That in case we should become involved in war with the King of Spain, we could through the means which we might acquire, not only retain but take places now in his possession, or render them altogether fruitless to him.
"4. That money could be collected to carry on this work properly without weakening or reducing the regular trade in the least, even if the sum should amount to ten millions.
"5. That this work should not only prove a benefit to merchants, mechanics, and seafaring people, but that each and every inhabitant should derive an advantage from it."(18*)
It was not until nearly a year had passed that this document was permitted to be read, and even then its time of fruition had not come, and even when it did, the man who had fostered and nourished the plant received no reward for his indefatigable services which were of vast value to his country. For years he had devoted nearly all of his energies to his favorite scheme, and he became so impoverished and embarrassed in his private affairs, that in 1618 it became necessary that he should be protected from arrest by his creditors through the granting of suret du corps. But further than this his frequent pleadings for remuneration received no recognition, and the very people who received benefit from his acts harshly criticized them. This was too much for his fiery spirit to bear, and he gave expression to his indignation in unmistakable language. "Crack-brained and overwise pretenders" he wrote:
"Who think that which they cannot comprehend on their crazy heads is not to be found in nature, even if they don't know what has passed in this affair and what my intentions may have been, are yet so impertinent not only to slander the good work and my propositions, but even dare to accuse persons of high rank and intelligence of inconsiderateness and imprudence, because they give me a hearing and approve of my propositions."
If we follow for a brief period the history of this remarkable man, before taking up the organization and affairs of the company which he did more than any other one man to create, we find in his misfortunes the effect of an ingratitude which it is difficult to account for, except upon the ground of the baseness and selfishness of the common herd of man, who often when enjoying the results of wise action forgets the instrument by which they were accomplished. Prince Maurice most earnestly urged a settlement of poor Usselinx's claim, and in a letter to the States General of the United Netherlands under date of August 30, l622, said:
"Usselinx has during a number of years employed much of his time in laboring faithfully to promote and establish the West India Company, in which he has rendered great and useful services, and still continues in it with the same zeal, for which he justly deserves to be properly rewarded. Therefore it is our desire that your High Mightiness consider well his former and future services, and satisfy his just claim. Do not lose sight of him, do not 1et him go from here, for that may prove dangerous."
In spite of this strong advocacy of his rights by an influential personage, the States General on July 4, 1623, positively refused to settle his claim, and referred him to the managers of the West India Company, with a letter in which they warmly attested his zeal and affection for the continuance of the Company, spoke of his willingness to remain and his willingness" to give and explain the knowledge he had acquired by long experience," and begged that the managers "would examine and consider everything favorably, and according as they found him worthy of his services, make a suitable disposition." Usselinx did not deliver this letter, because in the first place he did not regard the managers or company as his debtors, but "that their High Mightinesses the Lords States Generals owed for his services," and secondly, because he had reason to fear the jealousy and unfriendliness of several of the managers. "For these reasons," he says, "I finally resolved not to trouble myself any more about the company, and, after giving due notice, left them and the country to try my luck elsewhere, out of the country." And thus poor, disappointed, stung with ingratitude and embittered in spirit, he transferred his valuable knowledge and energies to the service of Sweden and of Gustavus Adolphus, where as will presently be shown they were not only used to good advantages, but better appreciated than in his native country.
The Dutch West India Company was finally incorporated on the 3d of June, 1621, for the time was ripe for the consummation of the great scheme which, indeed, now looked to a colonization of the new world possessions of Holland, as well as the establishment of trade. To understand the long delay of this measure, it is necessary to recall one or two circumstances in the condition and attitude of Holland early in the seventeenth century. The nation had been in war with Spain for several years, but, in 1609, a truce, to last twelve years, was negotiated in lieu of a permanent treaty of peace. Philip II. had consented to the independence of the Netherlands, but would not consent to give them free trade in the East Indies. The Netherlands would not accept a final and permanent treaty which did not guarantee their commercial freedom, hence the truce as a compromise. The negotiation was effected by Grotius and Barneveldt and was bitterly opposed by the distinctively "war party" of the day, headed by Usselinx, for the reason that it destroyed the project for a West India Company. This party was eager to resort to every means to injure and humble their haughty and arrogant enemy, and, indeed, Usselinx appears to have had a bitter, personal hatred of Spain and the other Catholic countries in which he had traveled. The party, too, was infused as a whole with the heat of religious rancor for the Calvinists and Puritans (the latter exiles in Leyden) were in bitter antagonism to the Arminians, who controlled the State.(19*) The Reformers, finally in 1619, carried everything before them in the Synod of Dort, the Arminians were put down and thus one obstacle to the success of colonization was removed. The charter to the Amsterdam merchants expired in 1618; the twelve year truce with Spain ended in the spring of 1621, and the United Provinces must soon be renewed while the necessity for a more vigorous policy on the part of Holland, in support of its claims to the New Netherlands was given an additional force of demonstration by the fact that the English government was preparing to remonstrate against the expansion of the Dutch territory, both on the New England side and on the Delaware, the Virginians having, in Fact, sent one abortive expedition against the traders on the latter stream. Thus various causes conspired to bring about the result that Usselinx and his party had, for more than twenty years, labored to bring about.
It was upon the 3d of June, 1621, that the States General, under their great seal, granted the formal patent incorporating the West India Company, for the encouragement of that foreign settlement and commerce that its advocates asserted the welfare of the Netherlands largely rested. The company was invested with tremendous powers. It was authorized, as Brodhead says, to make in the name of the States General," contracts and alliances with the princes and natives of the countries comprehended within the limits of its charter, build forts, appoint and discharge governors, soldiers and public officers, administer justice and promote trade. It was bound to advance the peopling of these fruitful and unsettled parts and do all that the service of those countries and the profit and increase of trade shall require." It had a power in America practically equal to that of Holland itself, for all of the functions of that government, appertaining to its foreign possessions, were unreservedly delegated to it. The States General, reserving the power to declare war, had a sort of general supervision with the privilege of confirming the appointment of superior officers, but that was the limit of its powers. The charter set forth that except in the name of "the United Company of these United Netherlands," for the space of twenty-four years, no native inhabitants of the Netherlands should be permitted to sail to or from, or to traffic on the coast of Africa, from the tropic of Cancer to the Cape of Good Hope, nor in the countries of America or the West Indies, between the south-end of Terra Nova, by the straits of Magellan, La Maire, or any other straits and passage situate thereabout, to the straits of Arrian, neither upon the North or the South Seas, nor any islands situated on the one side or the other, or between both, nor on the Western or Southern Countries, reaching, lying and between both the meridians from the Cape of Good Hope in the
west-end of New Guinea in the west," under penalty of forfeiture of goods and ships."
The government of the company was vested in five boards of managers' one at Amsterdam managing four-ninths of the whole; one at Middleburg, in Zealand, managing two-ninths; one at Dortrecht, on the Maese, managing one-ninth; one in North Holland, one-ninth; and one in Friesland and Groningen, one-ninth. The general executive power was placed in the hands of a board of nineteen delegates, (usually denominated the College of Nineteen) of whom eight were to come from the Amsterdam Chamber, and the rest from the other Chambers in proportion to their shares, except that the States General was to be represented by one delegate. The States were pledged to defend the company against all comers, to give for its assistance sixteen ships of war, of three hundred tons each, and four yachts of eighty tons each, and were to advance a million guilders in money. The company was to provide at its own expense a number of ships equal to those supplied by the government and to arm and equip them all. The fleet thus constituted it was provided should be placed under the command of an Admiral selected by the States General. The books of the company were only to be kept open for stock subscriptions during the year 1621, and while any inhabitant of the Netherlands might become a stockholder within that period, it was announced that none could do so later. It happened, however, that the books were not closed until June, 1623, when the organization was completed.
While the organization was being completed, several ships were sent on trading ventures of more or less private character to the newly discovered countries, between latitudes 40 and 45 "together with a great river lying between 38 and 40 degrees of latitude," which of course was none other than the Delaware. There is no evidence that they actually traded on this river, but it is to be inferred from the action of the English in Virginia that they did. Indeed it is probable that they visited all of the waters of the coast from Buzzard's Bay (within twenty miles of Plymouth) down to the Delaware.
A plan of colonization was also matured. There were then in the Netherlands a number of Walloons (Belgian Protestants of supposed Waelsche or Celtic origin) who were refugees from Spanish persecution, who had sought to emigrate to Virginia but could not secure satisfactory terms. The West India Company quick to see that these people would be good immigrants with whom to begin the permanent settlement of their possessions in America, at once made provision to carry them over in one of their ships soon to sail. This was the "New Netherlands" in command of Captain Cornelis Jacobsen Mey, who first after Hudson had sailed into the Delaware Bay and who was going out now as the first resident director or governor of the colonies. The vessel sailed from the Texel in March 1623, (Adriaen Joris of Thienpoint being second in command), without about thirty Walloon (20*) families on board and took the southern course to America, (the one then commonly followed) by way of the British Channel, the Canaries, across the Atlantic to Guiana and the Carribees, thence northward between the Bermudas and Bahamas to the Virginia coast, and then skirting the shore to the North River. Reaching his destination Mey distributed his handful of colonists as far as he could. The majority were taken up to the site of Albany where the Dutch had built Fort Orange (Aurania) in 1614, a few to the Connecticut River and four couples who had married on the way out, with several sailors and other men were sent to the Delaware, where they were either accompanied or soon visited by Mey. The site selected for this South River settlement was Verhulsten Island near the present city of Trenton, N.J. While the Walloons were located at this place, it appears that the sailors and soldiers were stationed at a little fort which was hurriedly built for their protection at a spot which the natives called "Tekaacho" near Gloucester Point, immediately opposite the lower part of the city of Philadelphia. This was Fort Nassau, the first building known to have been erected by civilized men on the shores of the Delaware. Its exact site cannot now be pointed out, but it was supposed to be upon the north branch of Timber Creek or as the Dutch called it "Timmer Kill," (21*) then called "Sapackon." It was built close to the point of rocks, its southern rampart being within a few feet of the creek.(22*) The year in which the fort was built is disputed, but it is probable that its construction was undertaken about 1623, which was doubtless also the time of the settlement near the site of Trenton. The men and women of the Walloons at this isolated station grew homesick, and within a year or so returned to Manhattan. The fort too was abandoned after one or two years of occupations though it was irregularly occupied by a few soldiers for short periods, down to 1642 when it was continuously garrisoned until 1650 or 1651 when the Dutch themselves destroyed it, because it was too high up the river and too far from the chief theatre of their activities to serve any valuable purpose. It appears to have been occasionally used as a lodging place by the Indians, probably at such times as they expected trading vessels to arrive which was at least once a year, and De Vries found it thus tenanted by the savages when he visited it in 1633.
In 1625, the colony at Manhattan numbered over two hundred souls, and Cornelis Jacobsen May, who administered its simple government, during the year 1624, was succeeded by William Verhulst, as the second director of New Netherlands. He seems to have visited the South River, and his name was for a long time commemorated by "Verhulsten Island," near the bend of the Delaware at Trenton. Upon this island, which is described as being "near the falls of that river, and near the
west-side thereof," the West India Company established a trading house, "where there were three or four families of Walloons." The company also had a brick house at Horekill. The Walloon families did not remain very long in their lonely frontier home. By order of the West India Company," all those who were at the South River," at Verhulsten Island, and Fort Nassau, in 1628, were removed to Manhattan. A small vessel only remained there, to keep up the fur trade. That trade, however, was less profitable than traffic on the North River.
While ships regularly visited the South River for purposes of trade, half a dozen years elapsed before any further attempt was made to place a colony or build a fort upon its shores, and when this was finally brought about it was largely through private enterprise and resulted in the founding of the first settlement within the present state of Delaware. In the meantime changes had taken place in the management of New Netherland affairs and in the policy of the West India Company. Peter Minuit (23*) came out and succeeded Verhulst as Director of the New England colonies, in 1624, holding the position until 1632, when he was recalled and Van Twiller became governor in his stead-Minuit (as will become apparent in the succeeding chapter) was a man of great sagacity and energy, but he was compelled, so far as what might be called the home affairs of the colonies, to follow a very conservative policy, for the West India Company was sadly neglecting the colonization and commercial schemes it was supposed to have been organized to foster and devoting its strength to far more ambitious and adventurous ones. While the company had been nominally chartered to trade with and colonize the New Netherlands, the real object of its chiefs, had been a colossal system of legalized piracy against the commerce of Spain and Portugal, in Africa and America. And already had it won brilliant successes and acquired vast profits in following this mammon of unrighteousness. It had preyed upon Spanish fleets from one side of the Atlantic to the other. It had in two years taken one hundred and four prizes. It frequently sent out squadrons of seventy armed vessels to sweep the seas. It had captured Bahia and Pernambuco and aspired to the conquest of Brazil. It had declared dividends of fifty per cent. These spectacular and enormously profitable performances had dazzled the wealth-worshipping Dutch mind and completely cast into the shade humble profits of plodding, but legitimate trade and the company did not care to be bothered with the discharge of such common-place duties as directing the settlement of the Dutch possessions and organizing commerce. It was this abandonment or dwarfing in importance of the original purposes of the company which had been one of the chief causes of the withdrawal of William Usselinx, its promoter, in 1624. But there were, nevertheless, among the members of the Amsterdam chamber some shrewd minds albeit of conservative character, who did not, amid the excitement of conquest and quick making of vast fortunes, forget that there was an abiding value in lands. Of this class' all rich, all well-informed, all interested in the support and development of the colonies, all, also, not unwilling to make investments which would further enrich themselves were John De Laet, the historian, Killiaan Van Rensselaer, Michael Pauw Peter Evertsen Hueft, Jonas Witsen, Hendrick Hamel, Samuel Godyn and Samuel Blommaert. These Amsterdam men of substance, after consulting with Isaac De Rasieres, Minuit's secretary, who, for some reason, had been sent back to Holland, secured, from the College of Nineteen, a "Charter of Exemption and Privileges" to all such as shall plant colonies in New Netherlands, which the States General confirmed on June 7, 1629. This created a complete feudal system and planted it upon the soil of the western world, destined not, indeed, long to nourish it, but to become the globe's broadest field of democracy. A landed aristocracy was brought into existence and the New Netherlands were handed over pretty much to its control. The charter gave the privilege to members of the company to send to America by the company's ships, on certain conditions, three or four persons to select lands, which on purchase from the Indians and on prescribed conditions of planting colonies, should in tracts of fixed size, become the properties of feudal lords, or patroons, who were also to have the control and government of their inhabitants. The land selected for a colony might extend sixteen Dutch miles in length if confined to one side of a navigable river or eight miles on each side, if both banks were occupied, and extend as far into the country as the situation of the occupiers should make desirable (though this latter clause seems afterwards to have been revoked and the extent inland to have been modified to one half of a Dutch mile, or two English miles). These great grants were to be bestowed upon any members of the company (to none others were the privileges open) who should within four years plant a colony of fifty adults upon the tracts in question anywhere in New Netherlands except upon the Island of Manhattan. More immigrants entitled the patroon to proportionately more land. The patroons acquired their estates in fee simple, with power of disposing by will; they were magistrates within their own bounds "had chief command and dower jurisdiction" and each patroon had the exclusive privilege of fishing, fowling and grinding corn within his own domain. They had also the power of founding cities and appointing officers and could trade anywhere along the coast or to Holland on payment of five per cent. Duty to the company, at its reservation of Manhattan. The company prohibited engagement in manufacturing and retained exclusive monopoly of the fur trade. In all other matters the patroons were to be sovereign in their lordship.
Among the very first to act under the Charter of Exemptions and Privileges were Samuel Blommaert and Samuel Godwyn. In 1629 they sent two persons to the Delaware to examine and buy land, and these agents purchased from the Indians, on the south (or west) side of the bay, a tract, thirty-two miles long and two miles deep, extending from old Cape Henlopen (about where the south boundary of Delaware touches the ocean), northward, to the mouth of a river, the patent being registered and confirmed June 1, 1630.(24*) Other would-be patrons soon followed the example of Blommaert and Godwyn, and made similar purchases elsewhere in New Netherlands, Van Rensselaer becoming the proprietor of nearly all of the present Counties of Albany and Rensselaer in New York, while their comrades secured almost equally extensive, and in some cases even more valuable estates. But these lords of the soil began to quarrel among themselves, and to avoid exposure and scandal (for the land "pool" had much to fear because of the peculiar nature of its transactions), they divided the lands equally among the disaffected ones of their number, the historian, De Laet, Blommaert and Godyn, each receiving a fifth interest in Van Rensselaer's patents, and Blommaert and Godyn sharing similarly with their partners the tract on the South River and Bay (or Godyn's Bay, as it now began to be called).
Godyn and Blommaert, in order to hold, or rather secure full title to their tract, had to colonize and improve it, and, in the accomplishment of this, David Pietersen De Vries, of Hoorn, a North Holland port, "a bold and skilful seaman and master of artillery in the service of the United Provinces, became the leading instrument." De Vries, a skipper who was known to Godyn and, who in 1624, had tried, unsuccessfully, to invade the West India Company's monopoly, and now newly returned from a three years cruise to the East Indies, was offered an opportunity to go the New Netherlands as a captain and "second patroon." But he declined to enter into the project on any terms save equality with the rest, which finally being agreed to, he was made a patroon on October 16, 1630, and taken into partnership with Godyn, Blommaert, De Vries and Van Rensselaer, and about the same time four other directors of the West India Company, Van Ceulen, Hamel, Van Haringhoeck and Van Sittorigh, were admitted to the land "pool," as it would now be called. The captain now set to work to advance the enterprise of his associates. The ship "Walvis," or "Whale," of eighteen guns, and a yacht were immediately equipped and sailed from the Texel, in December, 1630, to plant the first settlement within the present boundaries of the State of Delaware, a settlement which has a mournful interest, from the fact that all of its people were massacred by the Indians. The vessels carried out immigrants, cattle, food and whaling implements, for De Vries had been told that whales abounded in Godyn's Bay, and he intended establishing a whale and seal fishery there, as well as a settlement and plantations for the cultivation of tobacco and grain. The expedition sailed from the Texel, in December, under the command of Peter Heyes, of Edam (for De Vries did not go out at this time, as stated by same writers).(25*) They arrived in South River, in April, 1631. Sailing up the southern or west shore the "Walvis" and her consort, just above the present Cape Henlopen, entered "a fine navigable stream; filled with islands, abounding in good oysters; and flowing through a fertile region, and there the immigrants about thirty in number, all males were landed, and the first colony in Delaware established. The place was near the site of Lewes, and the stream was what is now known as Lewes Creek, but was then named, by Heyes, Hoornkill, and subsequently corrupted into Whorekill or Horekill.(26*) The settlement was called Zwaanendael or Swanvale, and a small building,(27*) surrounded with palisades, was given the name of Fort Oplandt. The land at Zwaanendael, or the Valley of Swans," was again purchased, evidently in a kind of confirmatory way, by Peter Hayes and Gillis Hassett, respectively the captain and commissary of the expedition, on May 5, 1631, from Sannoowouns, Wiewit, Penehacke, Mekowetick, Teehepewuga, Mathamem, Sacoock, Anchoopoen, Janqueus and Pokahake, who were either Lenape or Nanticoke Indians.
Soon after the colonists were comfortably settled at Zwaannendael, Heyes crossed to Cape May and bought from ten chiefs on behalf of Godyn, Blommaert and their associates a tract of land twelve miles square which purchase was registered at Manhattan June 3, 1631. Then after demonstrating that nothing was to be expected from the whole fishery, Heyes sailed in September for Holland to report to his employers, leaving Hossett in command of Fort Oplandt and the colony of Zwaanendael. Just how the massacre of the settlers came about was never known, but there is reason to believe that it was incited by wrongful or at least unwise acts on the part of Hossett and his men. The Dutch says one account (given to De Vries by an Indian) as was the custom, erected a pillar and placed a piece of tin upon it, traced with the coat of arms of the United Provinces. One of the chiefs not knowing the gravity of the offence, took away the tin to make pipes from it, which created great indignation among the officers of the little garrison. The Indians, continues this narrative, were exceedingly anxious to make amends to the white men, for they entertained an awe and reverence scarcely inferior to that which they accorded the gods, and slaying the offending chief brought a token of their act to the fort hoping thus to appease the white Manitou's anger. They were rebuked for this act, which they thought would prove propitiatory, and went away displeased. Some of the friends of the murdered chief who had taken no part in the crime and regarded it as being actuated by the Dutch, resolved upon revenge, and stealing upon them when with the exception of one sick man they were all at work in the fields, slew them, afterwards going to the fort and making the massacre complete by killing its solitary occupant, and shooting twenty-five arrows into a huge chained mastiff. This account of the destruction of the first colony of white men within the boundaries of Delaware is open to doubt, so far as the provoking cause is concerned, but it appears certain that the whites were greatly to blame. Whatever may have been its causes the massacre was a melancholy fact, and thus was shed the first white blood upon the Delaware.
De Vries early in 1632 had made preparations to visit the colony, inspect its condition and place more settlers there. Just as he was ready to sail from the Texel in command of another ship and yacht, on May 24, Governor Minuit arrived from Manhattan with the startling intelligence of the massacre at Zwaanendale. Notwithstanding this discouraging news he sailed, and after a tedious voyage (making their customary immense detour to the southward) arrived off the Delaware coast early in December, knowing long before he saw land that it was near "by the odor of the underwood which at this time of the year is burned by the Indians in order to be less hindered in their hunting." On the 3d of December the weary voyagers saw the entrance of the Bay; on the 5th sailed around the Cape, and on the 6th ran with the coast up the Hoornkill, having first taken precautions against an ambushed attack by the savages. De Vries doubtless had hopes that the massacre would prove to have been of a less pending character than had been represented; that some of the men had escaped or been spared; but he found that his worst fears had been realized and the scene that met his eyes, even before landing told too well of the fact of the settlement. The stockade had been burned and the dwelling or store house which constituted the stronghold of Fort Oplandt was nearly ruined. But the worst was reached when they came to the place where their countrymen had been butchered, when they found "the ground bestrewed with heads and bones of their murdered men, and near by the remains of their cattle. (28*) Silence and ruin and desolation reigned in the once lovely valley. The melancholy little search party returned to their ship, and having as yet seen no Indians, De Vries ordered a cannon fired with the hope of bringing some of them down to the shore, but none came that day. Upon the next, the 7th of December, they discovered several Indians near the ruins of the fort, but they would not come down to the ship. They evidently feared to approach and desired the whites to come on shore, which De Vries did the following day, being anxious to learn some particulars of the massacre if possible. He went up the stream in the yacht in order that he might "have some shelter from their arrows," and found a number of the natives, but they were very shy, and it was some time before he could induce any of them to go on the vessel, though he finally succeeded in gaining their confidence. He then received the story, already given in substance, which was very probably a fabrication designed to palliate the action of the Indians and at the same time to conciliate the Dutch. De Vries did not care to investigate too clearly a deed which was irreparable, and which he felt assured originated in some brutality or debauchery among his own race. He already knew something of Dutch cruelty, and attributed the massacre of Hossett and his men to "mere jangling with the Indians" and made a treaty of peace with them and sealed it with presents duffels, bullets, hatchets and Nuremburg toys" after the usual custom.
De Vries and his men lingered in the region of Lewes Creek through the remainder of December, attempting, it is supposed, to capture whales, but on January 1, 1633, navigation being open, they weighed anchor and sailed up the bay and river to Fort Nassau, where he arrived on the 5th. There De Vries met some of the natives, who desired to barter furs for corn, of which, however, he had none, and was thus unable to trade with them. The Indians made a show of offering peace, but their actions were suspicious, and he was warned by a squaw whom he gave a cloth dress, that their intentions were evil. He noticed, too, that some of them wore English jackets, and presently learned that they had recently murdered the crew of an English sloop, said to have come up the river from Virginia, and, as they greatly out-numbered his men, the wary captain dealt with them very cautiously. On the 6th he anchored in front of the Timmer Kill (Timber Creek), fully prepared for the Indians if they intended harming him, and soon their canoes came shooting from the shore and approached the yacht. Forty odd of the natives clambered on board. Their visit was probably made with pacific intent, but they were closely watched, and when the captain thought they had been there long enough, he ordered them ashore, threatening them to fire if they refused to depart, and telling them that he had been warned by their Manitou (God or devil) of their wicked designs. On the 8th, after cruising up and down the river, he again returned to his position before the fort, which was now thronged with Indians, and presently a canoe came off with nine of them, who, when they came on to the yacht, were found to be chiefs. They crouched in a circle, and gave the captain to understand they had found he was afraid of them, but that they desired only peace and trade, and presented ten beaver skins, with much ceremony, in token of their friendship. On the 9th and 10th he obtained from them a small quantity of corn and a few furs, and on the latter day dropped down the river and anchored half a mile above the Minquas Kill (Christiana River), on the lookout for whales His yacht was afterwards twice frozen fast in the ice, and he was in some danger from Indians, of whom he saw numerous bands, there being some internecine war among them. He reached Zwaanendael, after most vexatious delays, on February 20th, and on March 6th sailed for Virginia to procure, if possible, supplies for his colony. He was upon his arrival there met by the Governor and some officers and soldiers, who treated him very cordially, but told him that the South River belonged to the British by right of discovery. The Governor appeared never before to have heard that the Dutch had built forts and placed settlements upon the river, but spoke of a small vessel that had been sent some time before to explore the stream, and of which nothing had since been heard although she was long since due. De Vries then narrated what had been told him by the Indian squaw in regard to the murder of a boat's crew, and related the circumstance of having seen some of the Indians wearing English garments. Purchasing provisions and receiving a present of half a dozen goats, De Vries set sail again to the northward, and in due time reached Zwaanendael. He found that his men stationed there had taken seven whales from which they had rendered thirty-two cartels of oil, but as the fishing was too expensive in proportion to the proceeds, and the colony being so small that it could not reasonably be expected to maintain itself and resist the Indians, he took the few adventurers there and sailed to Manhattan and thence to Holland some time in the summer of 1633. Thus the Delaware Bay was again abandoned to the Indians, and no people but they broke the solitude of its shores or trod the melancholy, blood-stained and desolate ground of the "Valley of Swans" the site of Delaware's first settlement, for many years.
According to English rule, occupancy was necessary to complete a title to the wilderness. The Delaware having been reconquered by the natives, before the Dutch could renew their claim, the patent granted to Cecilius Calvert, second Lord Baltimore, on June 20, 1632, gave the Dutch an English competitor in the person of the proprietary of Maryland.
Two years after the departure of De Vries and his colonists from the Delaware on the 7th of February, 1635, the whole of the patroon lands on both shores of the bay, one stretching along the coast thirty-two miles and the other embracing Cape May and the surrounding country for a distance of twelve miles, were sold by Godyn, Blommaert and their associates to the West India Company, for fifteen thousand six hundred guilders or six thousand two hundred and forty dollars. This was the first land sold by whites upon the Delaware Bay or River.
Fort Nassau, which was unoccupied except by Indians in 1633, must have been garrisoned soon afterwards, for in 1635 a party of Englishmen from the colony on the Connecticut River, who sought to make a settlement on the Delaware endeavored to capture it, but were thwarted, captured and sent as prisoners to Manhattan. It is probable that the fort was continuously occupied by the Dutch from this time to and after the settlement on the river by the Swedes in 1638, and it certainly was in that year as the accounts of expeditions for its maintenance in the West India Company's books prove. But other than this infinitesimal dot of slowly dawning civilization, near the present town of Gloucester, N.J., there was nowhere upon the shores of the river and bay any sign of human habitation, save the occasional wigwam of the natives; and the great wilderness that stretched away, no one knew whither, from the royal water-way lay as a virgin region awaiting the coming of man. But preparations were again making beyond the ocean this time in far away Sweden for the peopling of these shores.
* Ensayo Cronologico para la Historia de la Florida. Por don Gabriel de Cardenas y Cano. Madrid, 1723.
** We know surprisingly little of Henry Hudson. He is said to have been the personal friend of Capt. John Smith, the founder of Virginia, and it is probable that he was of the family of that Henry Hudson who, in 1554, was one of the original incorporators of the English Muscovy Company. This man's son, Christopher, supposed to have been the father of the great navigator, was as early as 1560 and up to 1601 the factor and agent on the spot of the London Company trading to Russia, and it seems likely that the younger Hudson, from his familiarity with Arctic navigation, and his daring pertinacity in attempting to invade the ice-bound northern wastes, may have served his apprenticeship as a navigator in trading, on behalf of the Muscovy Company, from Bristol to Russia, as was then often done through the North Channel, and round the Hebrides, Orkneys, Shetlands, and North Cape to the White Sea and Archangel. At any rate when Hudson makes his first picturesque appearance before us, in the summer of 1607, in the Church of St. Ethelburge, Bishopsgate Street, London, where he and his crew are present to partake of the Holy Sacrament together, it is preparatory to a voyage in the service of the newly-organized "London Company" in Jewett's own words, "for to discover a passage by the North Pole to Japan and China." The navigator was at that time a middle-aged man, experienced and trusted. Hudson reached Spitzbergen, and there the ice forced him back. He repeated next year the attempt to reach Asia by crossing directly over the Pole, and again he failed after having reached Nova Zembla. The London Company now became disheartened, and Hudson at once transferred his services to the Dutch, who were then also eagerly seeking a northern route to Asia, and preparing under the ardent urgings of Usselinx (of whom more will be said presently) to establish a West India Company. The Amsterdam directors of the Dutch East India Company put him in command of a yacht or vlie boat, the "Half-Moon" (the "yagt Halve-Maan "), of forty "lasts" or eighty tone burden, manned by a motley crew of sixteen or eighteen English and Dutch sailors, and bade him continue to search for a route to the Eastern seas such as the Spaniards and Portuguese could not obstruct. It was on his third voyage when, beaten back by the ice from the Greenland seas, he sailed as far south as the capes of the Chesapeake, and discovered Delaware Bay and Hudson River. In his fourth voyage he returned again to the service of England, discovered and entered Hudson's Bay, wintered there, and in the spring, having angered his crew by harshness and by persisting in going westward, was cast adrift by them in a small boat and left, with his son, to perish in the ice on the desolate border of the bay which bears his name. He was never heard of afterward. For further particulars of this stern, bold, and intelligent navigator, who was a man full of spirit, energy, and well-defined purpose, the reader may consult Purchas, Hakluyt, and the monographs of Hon. H.C. Murphy, Dr. Asher, Gen. John M. Read, Jr, and Rev. B.F. de Costa.
*** In an official report drawn up by a Dutch Chamber, from documents and papers placed in their hands, December 15, 1644, it is said that "New Netherland, situate in America, between English Virginia and New England, extending from the South (Delaware) River, lying in latitude 38 1/2, to Cape Malabar, in latitude 41 1/2, was first frequented by the inhabitants of this country in the year 1598, and especially by those of the Greenland Company, but without making any fixed settlements, only as a shelter in the winter; for which purpose they erected there two little forts on the South and North Rivers, against the incursions of the Indians." O'Callaghan's History of New Netherlands, Vol. I. p. 418.
(4*) Juet's Journal, Purchas III. p. 590.
(5*) Cape May.
(6*) De Laet Niewe Werelt fol. Amsterdam, 1625, Book III. Chap. 7, Hazard's Annals, p. 3, N.Y. Hist. Sect. Coll. Vol. I.N.S. p. 290.
(7*) Juet's Journal, Purchas III. 590. Vander Donck speaking of the South River, or Delaware, says: "This is the place where the ship Half-Moon first took possession." See also O'Callaghan's Hist. of New Netherland, Vol. I. p. 34.
(8*) De Laet's Nieuwe Werelt.
(9*) See Historical Inquiry Concerning Henry Hudson by John Meredith Read, Jr., delivered before the Historical Society of Delaware. The little "Half-Moon," the first craft other than the frail Indian canoes, that is known to have entered the waters of the Delaware Bay, was wrecked about six years later (in 1615) at the island of Mauritus. Brodhead's N.Y. Hist. Coll. Vol. I. p. 43.
(10*) Lord de la Warr's real name was Sir Thomas West, and he was Lord Delawarre only by courtesy, being the third son of Lord de la Warr and therefore ineligible to the title. He was the first Governor of Virginia and was appointed to that position for life, but was soon compelled to return to England and his government was administered by deputies. His married in 1602 the daughter of Sir Thomas Shirley from whom the name of the well-known old Virginia estate comes. Per( )ons descended from the West stock are still living in Virginia and West Point, N.Y., perpetuates the name of the old Dominion Governor. The family still exists in England and numbers among its members an Earl de la Warr, whose brother, Hon. L.S. Sackville West, is the present British Minister to Washington. Lord de la Warr in whose honor the bay, river and state were named is asserted to have died in 1618 while returning from Virginia to England, and some writers have stated that he was poisoned, which however seems improbable that sixty persons perished on the ship, some malignant malady prevailing. While the majority of his orians declare that he died at sea, it is circumstantially and positively asserted in Walpole's Royal and Noble Authors as enlarged by Thomas Park and quoted by Bancroft (Vol. I., that he died at Wherwell, Hauts, in England, June 7, 1618. Bancroft says of this personage in honor of whom Delaware received its name) "his affection for Virginia ceased only with his life," and all students accord him a high character as a man and ruler.
(11*) Brodhead, Vol. I. p. 46, N.Y. Hist. Coll. 2d Series, Vol. II. p. 355.
(12*) It was dated March 27, 1614.
(13*) Also variously called by the Indian names of Poutaxat, Makiriskitton, Makarish-Kisken, and Lenape Wihittuck, while Heylin, in his Cosmography, bravely gives it the further name of Arasapha. When it became better known, the Dutch sometimes called it the Nassau, Prince Hendrick's or Prince Charles' River; and the Swedes, New Swedeland stream. The earliest settlers sometimes styled it New Port May and Godyn's Bay.
(14*) By those who deny that Hendricksen ascended the Delaware to the Schuylkill it is claimed that he obtained his knowledge of the upper portion of the river from these men who passed down its shore.
(15*) Penn. Archives, 2d Series, Vol. I.
(16*) Hendricksen was doubtless a Hollander, although his name was Swedish. He is said in Dutch documents to have been from Monnikendam, eight miles from Amsterdam on the Zuyder Zee.
(17*) Joseph J. Mickley's "Some Account of William Usselinx and Peter Minuit," published by the Historical Society of Delaware.
(19*) It is a fact that the Puritans, in 1620, applied to the Netherlands, through the Amsterdam merchants, for permission to settle upon the North River, but that because of the opposing religious preferments of the State General, that body peremptorily rejected their proposition. It is interesting to speculate as to what, but for this refusal, might have been the course of American history.
(20*) The name comes, it is said, either from wall, (water or sea) or more probably, from the old German word Wahle, signifying a foreigner.
(21*) On the map in Campanius' work it is designated as being between the two branches of Timber Creek.
(22*) Various discoveries and relics have been made at different times in digging at the site of the fort. In 1745 a Spanish privateer threatened to land on the Delaware, and fears being entertained that they would attack Wilmington, attempts were made to place the old fort in repair. In digging the ground for that purpose, they found several pieces of money, with Queen Christina's stamp upon it. On the 31st of March, 1755, on taking up by chance some pieces of the walls, there were found many cannon balls, granadoes, and other similar things, which had been kept carefully concealed since the surrender of the fort by Rising. Five pieces of cannon (according to Acrelius) wore kept mounted there previously, as at the treaty of Aix la Chapelle, in 1646, an English salute was fired from them, in honor of the Governor, who was going to meet the Legislature at New Castle.
(23*) The name is variously spelled Minvet, Minnewit and Minnewe.
(24*) This tract of land was the first ever purchased by the whites within the limits of the State of Delaware. This first purchase from the Indians was recognized by the Directors and Council of New Netherlands acting for Samuel Godyn and Samuel Blommaert, in a
so-called deed dated at the Island of Manhattan July 15, 1630. This document, which is rather an acceptance or memorandum of purchase than a deed, being unsigned by the Indian grantors, has been preserved in the New York State Library and a photographic copy was given to the Historical Society of Delaware by Gen. Meredith Read. It has also been published in Hazard's Annals, p 23, It is impossible at this day to determine the bounds of the tract but it meet have comprised the greater part of the bay front of the present counties of Sussex and Kent from Cape Henlopen northward being thirty-two miles (eight Dutch miles) long and two miles (or half a Dutch groote Mylen brood). The Dutch probably over-measured the land and came north to the mouth of the Mahon River, (38) instead of (32) miles, and that in a straight line instead of following the curves of the coast. The document which is signed by Peter Minuit, Jacob Elbertson Wissink, Jan Jansen Brouwer, Simon Dircksen Pos, Reyner Harmensaer and Jan Lampe reads in part as follows:
"We, the Directors and Council of New Netherlands, residing on the Island of Manhattan and in Fort Amsterdam, under the authority of their High Mightinesses the Lord's State General of the United Netherlands, and of the Incorporated West India Company Chamber at Amsterdam, hereby acknowledge and declare, that on this day, the date underwritten came and appeared before us in their proper persons, Queskacous and Entquet, Siconesius and the inhabitants of the village, situate at the South Cape of the bay of South River, and freely and voluntarily declared by special authority of the rulers, and consent of the commonality there, that they already on the first day of June, of the past year 1629, for, and on account of certain parcels of cargoes, which they previous to the passing hereof, acknowledged to have received and got into their hands and power, to their full satisfaction, have transferred, ceded, given over, and conveyed, in just, true, and free property, as they hereby transport, code, give over, and convey to, and for the behoof of Messrs. Samuel Godyn and Samuel Blommaert absent; and for whom, We, by virtue of our office under proper stipulation, do accept the same, namely, the land to them belonging, situate on the south side of the aforesaid Bay, by us called the Bay of the South River, extending in length from Cape Hinloffin, off into the mouth of the aforesaid South River, about eight leagues (groote mylen), and half a league in breadth into the interior, extending to a certain marsh (lieyte) or valley, through which these limits can clearly enough be distinguished. And that with all the action, right, and jurisdiction, to them in the aforesaid quality therein appertaining, constituting and surrogating the Messrs. Godyn and Blommaert, in their stead, state, zeal, and actual possession thereof; and giving them at the same time, full and irrevocable authority, power, and special command to hold in quiet possession, occupancy and use, tanquam Actores et Procuratores in rem propriam the aforesaid land, acquired by the above mentioned Messrs. Godyn and Blommaert, or those who may hereafter obtain their interest; also, to so barter and dispose thereof, as they may do with their own well and lawfully acquired lands.". . . . So much of this quasi deed must suffice, the remainder being unimportant and technical. The first actual Indian deed on record in Delaware is given in the preceding chapter.
(25*) Ferris and Vincent have both fallen into this error, doubtless from the fact that De Vries was at the head of the enterprise and that he was afterwards on the Delaware.
(26*) There is not the slightest evidence that this name had its origin in the alleged ill behavior of the Indian women of the region. It was undoubtedly named after Hoorn of Holland with the affix of "kill" the Dutch for river, and corrupted by the English into Whorekill which name after the arrival of Penn was applied to all of the territory included in Sussex County. Cape Horn was also named after the "fatherland" town of Hoorn by William Cornelius Schouten.
(27*) This is said to have been a brick house, but there is no mention of either of the ships bringing over bricks or brick-making implements in their cargo.
(28*) De Vries, p. 251.
SOURCE: Page(s) 23-34, History of Delaware, 1609-1888, Volume One by Scharf, Thomas J., Philadelphia; L.J. Richards & Co., 1888