« AnteriorContinuar »
complaints of a similar nature remained behind, as was shown by the number of sticks which he still held in his hand.
A truce was at length agreed upon, to which the river tribes assented soon after; but it was only of brief duration. Their wrongs had been too great for the Indians to settle down quietly, and the presents they received as an equivalent for the damage they had sustained bore no proportion to the losses they had incurred. “The price of blood has not been paid,” said an old chief sadly, and the war broke out anew.
In September, the confederated tribes recommenced their devastations upon the frontier settlements, and Kieft was again compelled to call upon the colonists for assistance and advice. A board of eight men were appointed by the popular voice to consult with and aid the governor in the conduct of the war.
John Underhill, an English soldier, who had already distinguished himself by his bravery in the Pequod war of New England, was chosen to command the Dutch troops.
Never were energetic measures more imperatively needed. Nearly all the settlements upon Long Island were deserted and destroyed; and of the plantations upon Manhattan Island, only three remained. The distressed colonists, flying before the fury of the savages, were now huddled around the fort at New Amsterdani, where, half famished for want of provisions, and in daily fear of an attack, which they felt themselves incompetent to successfully resist they dragged out for nearly two years a misera ble and precarious existence. Fearful of being utterly exterminated, they applied for assistance to the colonists of Connecticut, and to the Dutch West India Company. But the former were unwilling to embroil themselves with their savage neighbours; and the latter, having suffered serious military disasters in the Brazils, was unable to afford any relief.
Underhill and his subordinates were, however actively engaged to the best of their ability. The Indian villages on Long Island were attacked with partial success.
The natives of Tappan were harassed, their corn destroyed, and their forts burned to the ground. Two other expeditions to Long Island, in 1644, were still more effective. In the first, one hundred Indians were killed, and several taken prisoners to New Amsterdam. In the second, Underhill, with one hundred and twenty men, made a sudden descent upon a large Indian town, and falling upon the inhabitants while they were celebrating one of their annual festivals, slew five hundred of them, and set fire to their wigwams.
By these fierce but energetic measures, the spirit of the confederacy was subdued. Several of the tribes solicited peace, but others still reso
TREATY OF PEACE.
lutely held out. A reinforcement of Dutch troops from Curacoa, arriving in June, 1645, placed the colonists of New Netherland in a better condition to carry on the war.
The Mohawks at length interposed. They sent an envoy to Manhattan, to use his influence in favour of a peace. The overtures were successful. On the 30th of August, 1645, delegates from the hostile tribes met in council in the vicinity of Fort Amsterdam, and by a solemn treaty put an end to a war which had been conducted with equal ferocity by both parties.
Close of the Indian war-Unpopularity of Keift-His recall and
shipwreck—Governor Stuyvesant-Condition of New Netherland-Beaverswyk-New Amsterdam-Negotiations with New England-Provisional treaty-War between England and Holland-Prudent policy of Massachusetts—The Dutch solicit assistance from the Narragansetts—Reply of one of their chiefs Swedish settlements on the Delaware-Fort Cassimer erected—Contentions with the Swedes_Capture of Fort Cassimer-Reduction of the Swedish province by Stuyvesant-Flourishing condition of New Netherland-Internal dissensions-Arbitrary rule of Stuyvesant-Claims of Maryland-Sale of Delaware to the city of Amsterdam-Political privileges granted by Stuyvesant-Patent of Charles II. to the Duke of York—English force sent to take possession of New Netherland–Surrender of the province.
THE close of the Indian war was celebrated with great rejoicings by the harassed colonists of New Netherland; but Kieft, who laboured under the imputation of having provoked the disasters they had undergone, grew daily more unpopular. His arbitrary temper and reckless policy produced numerous complaints among the colonists, and fostered a general desire for his removal. Fully conscious that the condition of antagonism which existed between the people of the province and their governor was greatly prejudicial to their commercial interests, the directors of the West India Company sought to restore harmony by the recall of Kieft, and the appointment of Peter 1648.]
Stuyvesant in his place. At the same time, the few remaining commercial restrictions were abolished, and the trade thrown open to all competitors.
Stuyvesant arrived in the province during the early part of May, 1647, and in the fall of the same year, Kieft sailed for Europe. The ship in which he embarked, laden with a valuable cargo of furs, was cast ashore on the coast of Wales, and the sanguinary governor, together with some eighty others, perished in the waves.
The new director-general, or governor of New Netherland, Peter Stuyvesant, was possessed of many estimable qualities. He was a brave, frank, honest, and tolerably well-educated soldier. The commencement of his rule was marked by a more tolerant policy toward the neighbouring Indians, though he soon showed himself disposed to regard the poorer settlers with a feeling pretty closely allied to contempt. In comparison with the neighbouring English colonies, that of Manhattan could not be said, up to this period, to have flourished. Its settlement, lucrative as the fur trade had proved itself at first, had not only absorbed the profits of the traffic, but had cost the Dutch West India Company a considerable sum besides. New England already contained twenty thousand inhabitants; while the whole of the settlers within the jurisdiction of New Netherland did not exceed three