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The volume now presented to the public, the first in a new series of the Collections of the New York Historical Society, is almost exclusively taken up with the annals of the Dutch colonists by whom the arts of civilization were originally planted on the banks of the Hudson. A noble commonwealth has in the limits of their ancient jurisdiction, now rivalling in population and extent some of the monarchies of the old world. Beginning with the first glimpses of a discovery of our sea-coast, it has been our aim to bring together the earliest notices of Hudson's memorable voyage that disclosed the existence of the great river of the mountains,' now better known under the name of the navigator himself, and to collect the scattered traces of the first attempts to colonize the country. The primitive settlements on Manhattan island and near Albany—the gradual spread of population into the interior—the perils and hardships—the difficulties and embarrassments, with which the early colonists had to contend, and their final triumph over them all-respectively come under consideration in the following pages. Yet it should be recollected, that we give in most instances only the materials of history—the original documents to which historians must resort for their guidance-and therefore naked facts and unembellished statements are all that can be expected in the volume.*
It is remarked by Grahame, in his recent elaborate work upon the history of North America, that “ Founders of ancient colonies have sometimes been deified by their successors. New-York is perhaps the only commonwealth whose founders have been covered with ridicule from the same quarter.” Whatever may be thought of the wit and talent displayed in the well-known travesty here alluded to, the regret has often been expressed that a son of New
Lambrechtsen's work would be an exception to this remark in point of style, had it been translated with the elegance of the original. See a fine article upon it, in the ninth volume of the North American Review, (June, 1819,) from the pen of Mr. Verplanck.
York should have seen fit to make the fathers of the republic the subjects of a coarse caricature,' in which the inventive ingenuity of the author is only equalled by the grossness of his conceptions. The effort was well suited to the English notions of the Dutch character, too common, perhaps, among ourselves, and thus easily acquired an ill-deserved popularity.
"English writers," says Mr. Verplanck, in his learned discourse before this Society, “have long been accustomed to describe the manners and customs of Holland with a broad and clumsy exaggeration. This is a little injudicious in them, because most of their wit, if wit it may be called, recoils back upon
their own country, and strikingly resembles the flippant ridicule which their own more lively neighbours have lavished upon the hard drinking, the oaths, the gross amusements, the dingy coffee-houses, the boxing matches, the beer, and the coal-smoke of the proud and melancholy islanders. Their old maritime contests and commercial rivalry may serve to excuse this misrepresentation in Englishmen, but for us there is no apology."
The task of preparing and editing the present volume has devolved exclusively upon the subscriber; and if performed in a manner satisfactory to the public, and to those he has the honor to represent, he will be abundantly compensated for the trouble it has cost him. Much labour has been bestowed upon a careful revision of the various translations and in collating them with the original works; more perhaps, than will be apparent to the reader. But in such a variety of materials it is scarcely to be expected that mistakes should not sometimes occur, and he must crave the usual indulgence in such
GEO. FOLSOM, of the Publishing Committees
Now.York, June 1st., 1841.
1. Chancellor Kent's Anniversary Discourse,
V. Van der Donck's Description of New-Netherlands,
X. Letter of Thomas Dermer, &c.
mouth, A.D. 1627,
Report of A. Hudde,
Governor Rising's Report,
Complete List of Officers,