Among many Surprising and Curious Matters, the Unutterable
Ponderings of Walter the Doubter, the Disastrous
Projects of William the Testy, and the Chivalric
Achievments of Peter the Headstrong, the three
Dutch Governors of New Amsterdam; being the only
Authentic History of the Times that ever hath been, or ever
will be Published.


De waarheid die in duiffer lag,
Die komt met klaarheid aan den dag.








Containing the first part of the reign of Peter Stuy-
vesant and his troubles with the Amphyctionic


     In which the death of a great man is shewn to be
no such inconsolable matter of sorrow -- and how
Peter Stuyvesant acquired a great name from
the uncommon strength of his head

     To a profound philosopher, like myself, who
am apt to see clear through a subject, where the
penetration of ordinary people extends but half
way, there is no fact more simple and manifest,
than that the death of a great man, is a matter of
very little importance. Much as we think of our-
selves, and much as we may excite the empty plau-
dits of the million, it is certain that the greatest
among us do actually fill but an exceeding small
space in the world; and it is equally certain, that
even that small space is quickly supplied, when we
leave it vacant. "Of what consequence is it," said
the elegant Pliny, "that individuals appear, or
make their exit? the world is a theatre whose
scenes and actors are continually changing." Ne-
ver did philosopher speak more correctly, and I
only wonder, that so wise a remark could have ex-
isted so many ages, and mankind not have laid it
more to heart. Sage follows on in the footsteps of
sage; one hero just steps out of his triumphant car,
to make way for the hero who comes after him;
and of the proudest monarch it is merely said, that
-- "he slept with his fathers, and his successor
reigned in his stead."

     The world, to tell the private truth, cares but
little for their loss, and if left to itself would soon
forget to grieve; and though a nation has often
been figuratively drowned in tears on the death of
a great man, yet it is ten chances to one if an indivi-
dual tear has been shed on the melancholy occasion,
excepting from the forlorn pen of some hungry au-
thor. It is the historian, the biographer, and the
poet, who have the whole burden of grief to sus-
tain; who -- unhappy varlets! -- like undertakers in
England, act the part of chief mourners -- who in-
flate a nation with sighs it never heaved, and deluge
it with tears, it never dreamed of shedding. Thus
while the patriotic author is weeping and howling,
in prose, in blank verse, and in rhyme, and collect-
ing the drops of public sorrow into his volume, as
into a lachrymal vase, it is more than probable his
fellow citizens are eating and drinking, fiddling and
dancing; as utterly ignorant of the bitter lamenta-
tions made in their name, as are those men of straw,
John, Doe, and Richard Roe, of the plaintiffs for
whom they are generously pleased on divers occa-
sions to become sureties.

     The most glorious and praise-worthy hero that
ever desolated nations, might have mouldered into
oblivion among the rubbish of his own monument,
did not some kind historian take him into favour,
and benevolently transmit his name to posterity --
and much as the valiant William Kieft worried,
and bustled, and turmoiled, while he had the desti-
nies of a whole colony in his hand, I question seri-
ously, whether he will not be obliged to this authen-
tic history, for all his future celebrity.

     His exit occasioned no convulsion in the city of
New Amsterdam, or its vicinity: the earth trem-
bled not, neither did any stars shoot from their
spheres -- the heavens were not shrowded in black,
as poets would fain persuade us they have been, on
the unfortunate death of a hero -- the rocks (hard
hearted vagabonds) melted not into tears; nor did
the trees hang their heads in silent sorrow; and as
to the sun, he laid abed the next night, just as long,
and shewed as jolly a face when he arose, as he
ever did on the same day of the month in any year,
either before or since. The good people of New
Amsterdam, one and all, declared that he had been
a very busy, active, bustling little governor; that
he was "the father of his country" -- that he was
"the noblest work of God" -- that "he was a man,
take him for all in all, they never should look upon
his like again" -- together with sundry other civil
and affectionate speeches that are regularly said on
the death of all great men; after which they smo-
ked their pipes, thought no more about him, and
Peter Stuyvesant succeeded to his station.

     Peter Stuyvesant was the last, and like the re-
nowned Wouter Van Twiller, he was also the best,
of our ancient dutch governors. Wouter having
surpassed all who preceded him; and Pieter, or
Piet, as he was sociably called by the old dutch
burghers, who were ever prone to familiarize
names, having never been equalled by any succes-
sor. He was in fact the very man fitted by nature
to retrieve the desperate fortunes of her beloved
province, had not the fates or parcæ, Clotho, La-
chesis and Atropos, those most potent, immaculate
and unrelenting of all ancient and immortal spin-
sters, destined them to inextricable confusion.

     To say merely that he was a hero would be
doing him unparalleled injustice -- he was in truth
a combination of heroes -- for he was of a sturdy,
raw boned make like Ajax Telamon, so famous for
his prowess in belabouring the little Trojans -- with
a pair of round shoulders, that Hercules would
have given his hide for, (meaning his lion's hide)
when he undertook to ease old Atlas of his load.
He was moreover as Plutarch describes Corio-
lanus, not only terrible for the force of his arm, but
likewise of his voice, which sounded as though it
came out of a barrel; and like the self same war-
rior, he possessed a sovereign contempt for the
sovereign people, and an iron aspect, which was
enough of itself to make the very bowels of his
adversaries quake with terror and dismay. All
this martial excellency of appearance was inex-
pressibly heightened by an accidental advantage,
with which I am surprised that neither Homer
nor Virgil have graced any of their heroes, for it
is worth all the paltry scars and wounds in the
Iliad and Eneid, or Lucan's Pharsalia into the bar-
gain. This was nothing less than a redoubtable
wooden leg, which was the only prize he had gain-
ed, in bravely fighting the battles of his country;
but of which he was so proud, that he was often
heard to declare he valued it more than all his
other limbs put together; indeed so highly did he
esteem it, that he caused it to be gallantly enchased
and relieved with silver devices, which caused it to
be related in divers histories and legends that he
wore a silver leg. [1]

     Like that choleric warrior Achilles, he was
somewhat subject to extempore bursts of passion,
which were oft-times rather unpleasant to his
favourites and attendants, whose perceptions he
was apt to quicken, after the manner of his illus-
trious imitator, Peter the Great, by anointing their
shoulders with his walking staff.

     But the resemblance for which I most value
him was that which he bore in many particulars to
the renowned Charlemagne. Though I cannot
find that he had read Plato, or Aristotle, or Hob-
bes, or Bacon, or Algernon Sydney, or Tom Paine,
yet did he sometimes manifest a shrewdness and
sagacity in his measures, that one would hardly
expect from a man, who did not know Greek, and
had never studied the ancients. True it is, and I
confess it with sorrow, that he had an unreason-
able aversion to experiments, and was fond of
governing his province after the simplest manner --
but then he contrived to keep it in better order
than did the erudite Kieft, though he had all the
philosophers ancient and modern, to assist and
perplex him. I must likewise own that he made
but very few laws, but then again he took care that
those few were rigidly and impartially enforced -- -
and I do not know but justice on the whole, was as
well administered, as if there had been volumes of
sage acts and statutes yearly made, and daily ne-
glected and forgotten.

     He was in fact the very reverse of his prede-
cessors, being neither tranquil and inert like Wal-
ter the Doubter, nor restless and fidgetting, like
William the Testy, but a man, or rather a governor, of
such uncommon activity and decision of mind that
he never sought or accepted the advice of others;
depending confidently upon his single head, as did
the heroes of yore upon their single arms, to work
his way through all difficulties and dangers. To
tell the simple truth he wanted no other requisite
for a perfect statesman, than to think always right,
for no one can deny that he always acted as he
thought, and if he wanted in correctness he made
up for it in perseverance -- An excellent quality!
since it is surely more dignified for a ruler to be
persevering and consistent in error, than wavering
and contradictory, in endeavouring to do what is
right; this much is certain, and I generously make
the maxim public, for the benefit of all legislators,
both great and small, who stand shaking in the wind,
without knowing which way to steer -- a ruler
who acts according to his own will is sure of
pleasing himself, while he who seeks to consult the
wishes and whims of others, runs a great risk of
pleasing nobody. The clock that stands still, and
points resolutely in one direction, is certain of being
right twice in the four and twenty hours -- while
others may keep going continually, and continually
be going wrong.

     Nor did this magnanimous virtue escape the
discernment of the good people of Nieuw Neder-
lants; on the contrary so high an opinion had they
of the independent mind and vigorous intellects of
their new governor, that they universally called
him Hard-koppig Piet, or Peter the Head-
strong -- a great compliment to his understanding!

     If from all that I have said thou dost not gather,
worthy reader, that Peter Stuyvesant was a tough,
sturdy, valiant, weatherbeaten, mettlesome, leath-
ernsided, lion hearted, generous spirited, obstinate,
old "seventy six" of a governor, thou art a very
numscull at drawing conclusions.

     This most excellent governor, whose character I
have thus attempted feebly to delineate, commenced
his administration on the 29th of May 1647: a re-
markably stormy day, distinguished in all the
almanacks of the time, which have come down to
us, by the name of Windy Friday. As he was
very jealous of his personal and official dignity, he
was inaugurated into office with great ceremony;
the goodly oaken chair of the renowned Wouter
Van Twiller, being carefully preserved for such
occasions; in like manner as the chair and stone
were reverentially preserved at Schone in Scotland,
for the coronation of the caledonian monarchs.

     I must not omit to mention that the tempestuous
state of the elements, together with its being that
unlucky day of the week, termed "hanging day,"
did not fail to excite much grave speculation, and
divers very reasonable apprehensions, among the
more ancient and enlightened inhabitants; and
several of the sager sex, who were reputed to be
not a little skilled in the science and mystery of
astrology and fortune telling, did declare outright,
that they were fearful omens of a disastrous
administration -- an event that came to be lamenta-
bly verified, and which proves, beyond dispute, the
wisdom of attending to those preternatural inti-
mations, furnished by dreams and visions, the flying
of birds, falling of stones and cackling of geese, on
which the sages and rulers of ancient times placed
such judicious reliance -- or to those shootings of
stars, eclipses of the moon, howlings of dogs and
flarings of candles, carefully noted and interpreted
by the oracular old sybils of our day; who,
in my humble opinion, are the legitimate possessors
and preservers of the ancient science of divination.
This much is certain, that governor Stuyvesant
succeeded to the chair of state, at a turbulent
period; when foes thronged and threatened from
without; when anarchy and stiff necked opposition
reigned rampant within; and when the authority
of their high mightinesses the lords states gen-
eral, though founded on the broad dutch bottom
of unoffending imbecility; though supported by
economy, and defended by speeches, protests,
proclamations, flagstaffs, trumpeters and windmills
-- vacillated, oscillated, tottered, tumbled and was
finally prostrated in the dirt, by british invaders, in
much the same manner that our majestic, stupen-
dous, but ricketty shingle steeples, will some
day or other be toppled about our ears by a brisk
north wester.

  [1] See the histories of Masters Josselyn and Blome.


     Shewing how Peter the Headstrong bestirred himself
among the rats and cobwebs on entering into of-
fice -- And the perilous mistake he was guilty of,
in his dealings with the Amphyctions


     The very first movements of the great Peter, on
taking the reins of government, displayed the mag-
nanimity of his mind, though they occasioned not a
little marvel and uneasiness among the people of the
Manhattoes. Finding himself constantly interrupt-
ed by the opposition and annoyed by the sage ad-
vice of his privy council, the members of which
had acquired the unreasonable habit of thinking and
speaking for themselves during the preceding reign;
he determined at once to put a stop to such a griev-
ous abomination. Scarcely therefore had he enter-
ed upon his authority than he kicked out of office
all those meddlesome spirits that composed the
factious cabinet of William the Testy, in place of
whom he chose unto himself councillors from
those fat, somniferous, respectable families, that
had flourished and slumbered under the easy reign
of Walter the Doubter. All these he caused to be
furnished with abundance of fair long pipes, and to
be regaled with frequent corporation dinners, ad-
monishing then to smoke and eat and sleep for the
good of the nation, while he took all the burden of
government upon his own shoulders -- an arrange-
ment to which they all gave a hearty grunt of ac-

     Nor did he stop here, but made a hideous rout
among the ingenious inventions and expedients of
his learned predecessor -- demolishing his flag-
staffs and wind-mills, which like mighty giants,
guarded the ramparts of New Amsterdam -- pitch-
ing to the duyvel whole batteries of quaker guns --
rooting up his patent gallows, where caitiff vaga-
bonds were suspended by the breech, and in a word,
turning topsy-turvy the whole philosophic, econo-
mic and wind-mill system of the immortal sage of

     The honest folk of New Amsterdam, began to
quake now for the fate of their matchless cham-
pion Antony the trumpeter, who had acquired
prodigious favour in the eyes of the women by
means of his whiskers and his trumpet. Him did
Peter the Headstrong, cause to be brought into his
presence, and eyeing him for a moment from head
to foot, with a countenance that would have appall-
ed any thing else than a sounder of brass -- " Pry-
thee who and what art thou?" said he. -- "Sire," re-
plied the other in no wise dismayed, -- "for my
name, it is Antony Van Corlear -- for my paren-
tage, I am the son of my mother -- for my profes-
sion I am champion and garrison of this great city
of New Amsterdam." -- -"I doubt me much," said
Peter Stuyvesant," that thou art some scurvy cos-
tard-monger knave -- how didst thou acquire this
paramount honour and dignity?" -- "Marry sir,"
replied the other, "like many a great man before
me, simply by sounding my own trumpet." -- "Aye,
is it so?" quoth the governor, why then let us have
a relish of thy art." Whereupon he put his instru-
ment to his lips and sounded a charge, with such
a tremendous outset, such a delectable quaver, and
such a triumphant cadence that it was enough to
make your heart leap out of your mouth only to be
within a mile of it. Like as a war-worn charger,
while sporting in peaceful plains, if by chance he
hears the strains of martial music, pricks up his
ears, and snorts and paws and kindles at the noise,
so did the heroic soul of the mighty Peter joy to
hear the clangour of the trumpet; for of him might
truly be said what was recorded of the renowned
St. George of England, "there was nothing in all
the world that more rejoiced his heart, than to hear
the pleasant sound of war, and see the soldiers
brandish forth their steeled weapons." Casting
his eyes more kindly therefore, upon the sturdy
Van Corlear, and finding him to be a jolly, fat little
man, shrewd in his discourse, yet of great dis-
cretion and immeasurable wind, he straightway
conceived an astonishing kindness for him; and
discharging him from the troublesome duty of gar-
risoning, defending and alarming the city, ever
after retained him about his person, as his chief
favourite, confidential envoy and trusty squire. In-
stead of disturbing the city with disastrous notes,
he was instructed to play so as to delight the go-
vernor, while at his repasts, as did the minstrels
of yore in the days of glorious chivalry -- and on
all public occasions, to rejoice the ears of the peo-
ple with warlike melody -- thereby keeping alive a
noble and martial spirit.

     Many other alterations and reformations, both
for the better and for the worse, did the governor
make, of which my time will not serve me to re-
cord the particulars, suffice it to say, he soon con-
trived to make the province feel that he was its
master, and treated the sovereign people with such
tyrannical rigour, that they were all fain to hold
their tongues, stay at home and attend to their bu-
siness; insomuch that party feuds and distinctions
were almost forgotten, and many thriving keepers
of taverns and dram-shops, were utterly ruined for
want of business.

     Indeed the critical state of public affairs at this
time, demanded the utmost vigilance, and promp-
titude. The formidable council of the Amphyctions,
which had caused so much tribulation to the un
fortunate Kieft, still continued augmenting its
forces, and threatened to link within its union, all
the mighty principalities and powers of the cast.
In the very year following the inauguration of go-
vernor Stuyvesant a grand deputation departed
from the city of Providence (famous for its dusty
streets, and beauteous women,) in behalf of the
puissant plantation of Rhode Island, praying to be
admitted into the league.

     The following mention is made of this applica-
tion in the records still extant, of that assemblage
of worthies. [2]

     "Mr. Will Cottington and captain Partridg of
Rhoode Hand presented this insewing request to the
commissioners in wrighting --

     "Our request and motion is in behalfe of
Rhoode Hand, that wee the Handers of Rhoode
Iland may be rescauied into combination with all
the united colonyes of New England in a firme and
perpetuall league of friendship and amity of ofence
and defence, mutuall advice and succor upon all
just occasions for our mutuall safety and well-
faire, &c.

Will Cottington,
Alicxsander Partridg."

     I confess the very sight of this fearful docu-
ment, made me to quake for the safety of my belo-
ved province. The name of Alexander, however
misspelt, has been warlike in every age, and though
its fierceness is in some measure softened by being
coupled with the gentle cognomen of Partridge,
still, like the colour of scarlet, it bears an exceeding
great resemblance to the sound of a trumpet.
From the style of the letter, moreover, and the sol-
dierlike ignorance of orthography displayed by the
noble captain Alicxsander Partridg in spelling his
own name, we may picture to ourselves this mighty
man of Rhodes like a second Ajax, strong in arms,
great in the field, but in other respects, (meaning
no disparagement) as great a dom cop, as if he had
been educated among that learned people of Thrace,
who Aristotle most slanderously assures us, could
not count beyond the number four.

     But whatever might be the threatening aspect
of this famous confederation, Peter Stuyvesant
was not a man to be kept in a state of incertitude
and vague apprehension; he liked nothing so much
as to meet danger face to face, and take it by the
beard. Determined therefore to put an end to all
these petty maraudings on the borders, he wrote
two or three categorical letters to the grand council,
which though neither couched in bad latin, nor yet
graced by rhetorical tropes about wolfs and lambs,
and beetle flies, yet had more effect than all the
elaborate epistles, protests and proclamations of his
learned predecessor, put together. In consequence
of his urgent propositions, the sage council of the
amphyctions agreed to enter into a final adjustment
of grievances and settlement of boundaries, to the
end that a perpetual and happy peace might take
place between the two powers. For this purpose
governor Stuyvesant deputed two ambassadors, to
negotiate with commissioners from the grand coun-
cil of the league, and a treaty was solemnly conclu-
ded at Hartford. On receiving intelligence of this
event, the whole community was in an uproar of
exultation. The trumpet of the sturdy Van Cor-
lear, sounded all day with joyful clangour from the
ramparts of Fort Amsterdam, and at night the city
was magnificently illuminated with two hundred
and fifty tallow candles; besides a barrel of tar,
which was burnt before the governor's house, on
the cheering aspect of public affairs.

     And now my worthy, but simple reader, is
doubtless, like the great and good Peter, congratu-
lating himself with the idea, that his feelings will
no longer be molested by afflicting details of stolen
horses, broken heads, impounded hogs, and all the
other catalogue of heart-rending cruelties, that dis-
graced these border wars. But if my reader should
indulge in such expectations, it is only another proof,
among the many he has already given in the course
of this work, of his utter ignorance of state affairs --
and this lamentable ignorance on his part, obliges
me to enter into a very profound dissertation, to
which I call his attention in the next chapter --
wherein I will shew that Peter Stuyvesant has al-
ready committed a great error in politics; and by
effecting a peace, has materially jeopardized the
tranquility of the province.

  [2] Haz. Col. Stat. pap.


     Containing divers philosophical speculations on war
and negociations -- and shewing that a treaty of
peace is a great national evil

     It was the opinion of that poetical philosopher
Lucretius, that war was the original state of man;
whom he described as being primitively a savage
beast of prey, engaged in a constant state of hostility
with his own species, and that this ferocious spirit
was tamed and ameliorated by society. The same
opinion has been advocated by the learned Hobbes,
nor have there been wanting a host of sage philoso-
phers to admit and defend it.

     For my part, I am prodigiously fond of these
valuable speculations so complimentary to human
nature, and which are so ingeniously calculated
to make beasts of both writer and reader; but in
this instance I am inclined to take the proposition
by halves, believing with old Horace, [3] that though
war may have been originally the favourite amuse-
ment and industrious employment of our progeni-
tors, yet like many other excellent habits, so far
from being ameliorated, it has been cultivated and
confirmed by refinement and civilization, and en-
creases in exact proportion as we approach to-
wards that state of perfection, which is the ne plus
of modern philosophy.

     The first conflict between man and man was the
mere exertion of physical force, unaided by auxiliary
weapons -- his arm was his buckler, his fist was his
mace, and a broken head the catastrophe of his
encounters. The battle of unassisted strength,
was succeeded by the more rugged one of stones
and clubs, and war assumed a sanguinary aspect.
As man advanced in refinement, as his faculties
expanded, and his sensibilities became more exqui-
site, he grew rapidly more ingenious and experienced,
in the art of murdering his fellow beings. He
invented a thousand devices to defend and to
assault -- the helmet, the cuirass and the buckler;
the sword, the dart and the javelin, prepared him
to elude the wound, as well as to launch the blow.
Still urging on, in the brilliant and philanthropic
career of invention, he enlarges and heightens his
powers of defence and injury -- The Aries, the
Scorpio, the Balista and the Catapulta, give a horror
and sublimity to war, and magnify its glory, by
encreasing its desolation. Still insatiable; though
armed with machinery that seemed to reach the
limits of destructive invention, and to yield a power
of injury, commensurate, even to the desires of
revenge -- still deeper researches must be made in
the diabolical arcana. With furious zeal he dives
into the bowels of the earth; he toils midst poi-
sonous minerals and deadly salts -- the sublime
discovery of gunpowder, blazes upon the world
-- and finally the dreadful art of fighting by procla-
mation, seems to endow the demon of war, with
ubiquity and omnipotence!

     By the hand of my body but this is grand! -- this
indeed marks the powers of mind, and bespeaks that
divine endowment of reason, which distinguishes us
from the animals, our inferiors. The unenlighten-
ed brutes content themselves with the native force
which providence has assigned them. The angry
bull butts with his horns, as did his progenitors be-
fore him -- the lion, the leopard, and the tyger, seek
only with their talons and their fangs, to gratify
their sanguinary fury; and even the subtle serpent
darts the same venom, and uses the same wiles, as
did his sire before the flood. Man alone, blessed
with the inventive mind, goes on from discovery to
discovery -- enlarges and multiplies his powers of
destruction; arrogates the tremendous weapons of
deity itself, and tasks creation to assist him, in mur-
dering his brother worm!

     In proportion as the art of war has increased in
improvement, has the art of preserving peace ad-
vanced in equal ratio. But as I have already been
very prolix to but little purpose, in the first part of
this truly philosophic chapter, I shall not fatigue my
patient, but unlearned reader, in tracing the history
of the art of making peace. Suffice it to say, as we
have discovered in this age of wonders and inven-
tions, that proclamation is the most formidable en-
gine in war, so have we discovered the no less in-
genious mode of maintaining peace by perpetual ne-

     A treaty, or to speak more correctly a negocia-
tion, therefore, according to the acceptation of your
experienced statesmen, learned in these matters, is
no longer an attempt to accommodate differences, to
ascertain rights, and to establish an equitable ex-
change of kind offices; but a contest of skill between
two powers, which shall over-reach and take in the
other. It is a cunning endeavour to obtain by
peaceful manoeuvre, and the chicanery of cabinets,
those advantages, which a nation would otherwise
have wrested by force of arms. -- In the same man-
ner that a conscientious highway-man reforms and
becomes an excellent and praiseworthy citizen con-
tenting himself with cheating his neighbour out of
that property he would formerly have seized with
open violence.

     In fact the only time when two nations can be
said to be in a state of perfect amity, is when a ne-
gociation is open, and a treaty pending. Then as
there are no stipulations entered into, no bonds to
restrain the will, no specific limits to awaken that
captious jealousy of right implanted in our nature,
as both parties have some advantage to hope and
expect from the other, then it is that the two na-
tions are as gracious and friendly to each other, as
two rogues making a bargain. Their ministers
professing the highest mutual regard, exchanging
billets-doux, making fine speeches and indulging
in all those little diplomatic flirtations, coquetries
and fondlings, that do so marvelously tickle the
good humour of the respective nations. Thus
it may paradoxically be said, that there is never
so good an understanding between two nations,
as when there is a little misunderstanding -- and
that so long as they are on no terms, they are on
the best terms in the world!

     As I am of all men in the world, particularly
historians, the most candid and unassuming, I would
not for an instant claim the merit of having made
the above political discovery. It has in fact long
been secretly acted upon by certain enlightened
cabinets, and is, together with divers other notable
theories, privately copied out of the common place
book of an illustrious gentleman, who has been
member of congress, and enjoyed the unlimited con-
fidence of heads of department. To this principle
may be ascribed the wonderful ingenuity that has
been shewn of late years in protracting and inter-
rupting negociations. -- Hence the cunning measure
of appointing as ambassador, some political pettifog-
ger skilled in delays, sophisms, and misconstruc-
tions, and dexterous in the art of baffling argument --
or some blundering statesman, whose stupid errors
and misconstructions may be a plea for refusing to
ratify his engagements. And hence too that most
notable expedient, so popular with our government,
of sending out a brace of ambassadors; who having
each an individual will to consult, character to
establish, and interest to promote, you may as well
look for unanimity and concord between them, as
between two lovers with one mistress, two dogs
with one bone, or two naked rogues and one pair
of breeches. This disagreement therefore is con-
tinually breeding delays and impediments, in con-
sequence of which the negociation goes on swim-
mingly -- inasmuch as there is no prospect of its
ever coming to a close. Nothing is lost by these
delays and obstacles but time, and in a negociation,
according to the theory I have exposed, all time
lost, is in reality so much time gained -- with what
delightful paradoxes, does the modern arcana of
political economy abound!

     Now all that I have here advanced is so
notoriously true, that I almost blush to take up the
time of my readers, with treating of matters which
must many a time have stared them in the face.
But the proposition to which I would most earnestly
call their attention is this, that though a negociation
is the most harmonizing of all national transactions,
yet a treaty of peace is a great political evil and one
of the most fruitful sources of war.

     I have rarely seen an instance in my time, of
any special contract between individuals, that did
not produce jealousies, bickerings, and often down-
right ruptures between them; nor did I ever know
of a treaty between two nations, that did not keep
them continually in hot water. How many worthy
country neighbours have I known, who after living
in peace and good fellowship for years, have been
thrown into a state of distrust, cavilling and ani-
mosity, by some ill starred agreement about fences,
runs of water, and stray cattle. And how many
well meaning nations, who would otherwise have
remained in the most amiable disposition towards
each other, have been brought to loggerheads
about the infringement, or misconstruction of some
treaty, which in an evil hour they had constructed
by way of making their amity more sure.

     Treaties at best are but complied with so long as
interest requires their fulfillment; consequently they
are virtually binding on the weaker party only, or
in other words, they are not really binding at all.
No nation will wantonly go to war with another if
it has nothing to gain thereby, and therefore needs
no treaty to restrain it from violence; and if it has
any thing to gain, I much question, from what I
have witnessed of the righteous conduct of nations,
whether any treaty could be made so strong, that
it could not thrust the sword through -- nay I would
hold ten to one, the treaty itself, would be the very
source to which resort would be had, to find a
pretext for hostilities.

     Thus therefore I sagely conclude -- that though it
is the best of all policies for a nation to keep up a
constant negociation with its neighbours, it is the
utmost summit of folly, for it ever to be beguiled
into a treaty; for then comes on the non-fulfilment
and infraction, then remonstrance, then altercation,
then retaliation, then recrimination and finally open
war. In a word, negociation is like courtship, a
time of sweet words, gallant speeches, soft looks
and endearing caresses, but the marriage ceremony
is the signal for hostilities -- and thus ends this very
abstruse though very instructive chapter.

  [3] Quum prorepserunt primis animalia terris,
Mutum ac turpe pecus, glandem atque cubilia propter,
Unguibus et pugnis, dein fustibus, atque ita porro
Pugnabant armis, quæ post fabricaverat usus.

     Hor. Sat. L. i. S 3.



     How Peter Stuyvesant was horribly belied by his
adversaries the Moss Troopers -- and his con-
duct thereupon

    my pains-taking reader, whose perception,
it is a hundred to one, is as obtuse as a beetle's, is
not somewhat perplexed, in the course of the ra-
tiocination of my last chapter; he will doubtless, at
one glance perceive, that the great Peter, in conclu-
ding a treaty with his eastern neighbours, was guil-
ty of a most notable error and heterodoxy in poli-
tics. To this unlucky agreement may justly be as-
cribed a world of little infringements, altercations,
negociations and bickerings, which afterwards took
place between the irreproachable Stuyvesant, and
the evil disposed council of amphyctions; in all
which, with the impartial justice of an historian, I
pronounce the latter to have been invariably in the
wrong. All these did not a little disturb the con-
stitutional serenity of the good and substantial
burghers of Mannahata -- otherwise called Manhat-
toes, but more vulgarly known by the name of Man-
hattan. But in sooth they were so very scurvy
and pitiful in their nature and effects, that a grave
historian like me, who grudges the time spent in
any thing less than recording the fall of empires,
and the revolution of worlds, would think them un-
worthy to be recorded in his sacred page.

     The reader is therefore to take it for granted,
though I scorn to waste in the detail, that time,
which my furrowed brow and trembling hand, in-
form me is invaluable, that all the while the great
Peter was occupied in those tremendous and bloody
contests, that I shall shortly rehearse, there was a
continued series of little, dirty, snivelling, pettifog-
ging skirmishes, scourings, broils and maraudings
made on the eastern frontiers, by the notorious
moss troopers of Connecticut. But like that mir-
ror of chivalry, the sage and valourous Don Quix-
ote, I leave these petty contests for some future
Sancho Panza of an historian, while I reserve my
prowess and my pen for achievements of higher

     Now did the great Peter conclude, that his la-
bours had come to a close in the east, and that he
had nothing to do but apply himself to the internal
prosperity of his beloved Manhattoes. Though a
man of great modesty, he could not help boasting
that he had at length shut the temple of Janus, and
that, were all rulers like a certain person who should
be nameless, it would never be opened again. But
the exultation of the worthy governor was put to a
speedy check, for scarce was the treaty concluded,
and hardly was the ink dried on the paper, before
the crafty and discourteous council of the league
sought a new pretence for reilluming the flames of

     In the year 1651, with a flagitious hardihood
that makes my gorge to rise while I write, they ac-
cused the immaculate Peter -- the soul of honour
and heart of steel -- that by divers gifts and promi-
ses he had been secretly endeavouring to instigate
the Narrohigansett (or Narraganset) Mohaque and
Pequot Indians, to surprize and massacre the En-
glish settlements. For, as the council maliciously
observed, "the Indians round about for divers hun-
dred miles cercute, seeme to have drunke deep of
an intoxicating cupp, att or from the Monhatoes
against the English, whoe have sought there good,
both in bodily and sperituall respects." To sup-
port their most unrighteous accusation, they examin-
ed divers Indians, who all swore to the fact as stur-
dily as if they had been so many christian troopers.
And to be more sure of their veracity, the knowing
council previously made every mother's son of them
devoutly drunk, remembering the old proverb -- In
vino veritas

     Though descended from a family which suffer-
ed much injury from the losel Yankees of those
times; my great grandfather having had a yoke of
oxen and his best pacer stolen, and having received
a pair of black eyes and a bloody nose, in one of
these border wars; and my grandfather, when a
very little boy tending the pigs, having been kid-
napped and severely flogged by a long sided Con-
necticut schoolmaster -- Yet I should have passed
over all these wrongs with forgiveness and oblivion
-- I could even have suffered them to have broken
Evert Ducking's head, to have kicked the doughty
Jacobus Van Curlet and his ragged regiment out
of doors, carried every hog into captivity, and de-
populated every hen roost, on the face of the earth
with perfect impunity -- But this wanton, wicked
and unparalleled attack, upon one of the most
gallant and irreproachable heroes of modern times,
is too much even for me to digest, and has overset,
with a single puff, the patience of the historian and
the forbearance of the Dutchman.

     Oh reader it was false! -- I swear to thee it
was false! -- if thou hast any respect for my word --
if the undeviating and unimpeached character for
veracity, which I have hitherto borne throughout
this work, has its due weight with thee, thou wilt
not give thy faith to this tale of slander; for I
pledge my honour and my immortal fame to thee,
that the gallant Peter Stuyvesant, was not only
innocent of this foul conspiracy, but would have
suffered his right arm, or even his wooden leg to
consume with slow and everlasting flames, rather
than attempt to destroy his enemies in any other
way, than open generous warfare -- Beshrew those
caitiff scouts, that conspired to sully his honest
name by such an imputation!

     Peter Stuyvesant, though he perhaps had never
heard of a Knight Errant; yet had he as true a
heart of chivalry as ever beat at the round table of
King Arthur. There was a spirit of native gal-
lantry, a noble and generous hardihood diffused
through his rugged manners, which altogether gave
unquestionable tokens of an heroic mind. He was,
in truth, a hero of chivalry struck off by the hand
of nature at a single heat, and though she had taken
no further care to polish and refine her workman-
ship, he stood forth a miracle of her skill.

     But not to be figurative, (a fault in historic
writing which I particularly) eschew the great Peter
possessed in an eminent degree, the seven renown-
ed and noble virtues of knighthood; which, as he
had never consulted authors, in the disciplining and
cultivating of his mind, I verily believe must have
been stowed away in a corner of his heart by dame
nature herself -- where they flourished, among his
hardy qualities, like so many sweet wild flowers,
shooting forth and thriving with redundant luxuri-
ance among stubborn rocks. Such was the mind
of Peter the Headstrong, and if my admiration for
it, has on this occasion, transported my style beyond
the sober gravity which becomes the laborious
scribe of historic events, I can plead as an apology,
that though a little, grey headed Dutchman, arrived
almost at the bottom of the down-hill of life, I
still retain some portion of that celestial fire, which
sparkles in the eye of youth, when contemplating
the virtues and achievements of ancient worthies.
Blessed, thrice and nine times blessed, be the good
St. Nicholas -- that I have escaped the influence of
that chilling apathy, which too often freezes the
sympathies of age; which like a churlish spirit,
sits at the portals of the heart, repulsing every
genial sentiment, and paralyzing every spontaneous
glow of enthusiasm.

     No sooner then, did this scoundrel imputation
on his honour reach the ear of Peter Stuyvesant,
than he proceeded in a manner which would have
redounded to his credit, even if he had studied for
years, in the library of Don Quixote himself. He
immediately dispatched his valiant trumpeter and
squire, Antony Van Corlear, with orders to ride
night and day, as herald, to the Amphyctionic
council, reproaching them in terms of noble indig-
nation, for giving ear to the slanders of heathen in-
fidels, against the character of a Christian, a gen-
tleman and a soldier -- and declaring, that as to the
treacherous and bloody plot alledged against him,
whoever affirmed it to be true, he lied in his teeth!
-- to prove which he defied the president of the
council and all of his compeers, or if they pleased,
their puissant champion, captain Alicxsander Part-
ridg that mighty man of Rhodes, to meet him in
single combat, where he would trust the vindication
of his innocence to the prowess of his arm.

     This challenge being delivered with due cere-
mony, Antony Van Corlear sounded a trumpet of
defiance before the whole council, ending with a
most horrific and nasal twang, full in the face of
captain Partridg, who almost jumped out of his
skin in an extacy of astonishment, at the noise. This
done he mounted a tall Flanders mare, which he
always rode, and trotted merrily towards the Man-
hattoes -- passing through Hartford, and Pyquag
and Middletown and all the other border towns --
twanging his trumpet like a very devil, so that the
sweet vallies and banks of the Connecticut resound-
ed with the warlike melody -- and stopping occa-
sionally to eat pumpkin pies, dance at country fro-
licks, and bundle with the beauteous lasses of those
parts -- whom he rejoiced exceedingly with his soul
stirring instrument.

     But the grand council being composed of con-
siderate men, had no idea of running a tilting with
such a fiery hero as the hardy Peter -- on the con-
trary they sent him an answer, couched in the
meekest, the most mild and provoking terms, in
which they assured him that his guilt was proved
to their perfect satisfaction, by the testimony of
divers sage and respectable Indians, and conclud-
ing with this truly amiable paragraph. -- "For
youer confidant denialls of the Barbarous plott
charged, will waigh little in ballance against such
evidence, soe that we must still require and seeke
due satisfaction and cecuritie, soe we rest,

Youres in wayes of Righteousness, &c."

     I am conscious that the above transaction has
been differently recorded by certain historians of the
east, and elsewhere; who seem to have inherited
the bitter enmity of their ancestors to the brave
Peter -- and much good may their inheritance do
them. These moss troopers in literature, whom I
regard with sovereign scorn, as mere vampers up of
vulgar prejudices and fabulous legends, declare, that
Peter Stuyvesant requested to have the charges
against him, enquired into, by commissioners to be
appointed for the purpose; and yet that when such
commissioners were appointed, he refused to sub-
mit to their examination. Now this is partly true
-- he did indeed, most gallantly offer, when that he
found a deaf ear was turned to his challenge, to sub-
mit his conduct to the rigorous inspection of a court
of honour -- but then he expected to find it an august
tribunal, composed of courteous gentlemen, the go-
vernors and nobility, of the confederate plantations,
and of the province of New Netherlands; where he
might be tried by his peers, in a manner worthy of
his rank and dignity -- whereas, let me perish, if
they did not send on to the Manhattoes two lean
sided hungry pettifoggers, mounted on Narraganset
pacers, with saddle bags under their bottoms, and
green satchels under their arms, as if they were
about to beat the hoof from one county court to
another -- in search of a law suit.

     The chivalric Peter, as well he might, took no
notice of these cunning varlets; who with professional
industry fell to prying and sifting about, in quest of
ex parte evidence; bothering and perplexing divers
simple Indians and old women, with their cross
questioning, until they contradicted and forswore
themselves most horribly -- as is every day done in
our courts of justice. Thus having dispatched
their errand to their full satisfation, they returned
to the grand council with their satchels and saddle-
bags stuffed full of the most scurvy rumours, apo-
cryphal stories and outrageous heresies, that ever
were heard -- for all which the great Peter did not
care a tobacco stopper; but I warrant me had they
attempted to play off the same trick upon William
the Testy, he would have treated them both to an
ærial gambol on his patent gallows.

     The grand council of the east, held a very solemn
meeting on the return of their envoys, and after they
had pondered a long time on the situation of affairs,
were upon the point of adjourning without being able
to agree upon any thing. At this critical moment one
of those little, meddlesome, indefatigable spirits, who
endeavour to establish a character for patriotism by
blowing the bellows of party, until the whole fur-
nace of politics is red-hot with sparks and cinders
-- and who have just cunning enough to know, that
there is no time so favourable for getting on the peo-
ple's backs, as when they are in a state of turmoil,
and attending to every body's business but their
own -- This aspiring imp of faction, who was called
a great politician, because he had secured a seat in
council by calumniating all his opponents -- He I
say, conceived this a fit opportunity to strike a blow
that should secure his popularity among his consti-
tuents, who lived on the borders of Nieuw Neder-
landt, and were the greatest poachers in Christen-
dom, excepting the Scotch border nobles. Like a
second Peter the hermit, therefore, he stood forth
and preached up a crusade against Peter Stuyve-
sant, and his devoted city.

     He made a speech which lasted three days, ac-
cording to the ancient custom in these parts, in which
he represented the dutch as a race of impious here-
tics, who neither believed in witchcraft, nor the
sovereign virtues of horse shoes -- who, left their
country for the lucre of gain, not like themselves
for the enjoyment of liberty of conscience -- who, in
short, were a race of mere cannibals and anthropo-
phagi, inasmuch as they never eat cod-fish on satur-
days, devoured swine's flesh without molasses, and
held pumpkins in utter contempt.

     This speech had the desired effect, for the coun-
cil, being awakened by their serjeant at arms, rub-
bed their eyes, and declared that it was just and
politic to declare instant war against these unchris-
tian anti-pumpkinites. But it was necessary that
the people at large should first be prepared for this
measure, and for this purpose the arguments of the
little orator were earnestly preached from the pul-
pit for several sundays subsequent, and earnestly
recommended to the consideration of every good
Christian, who professed, as well as practised the
doctrine of meekness, charity, and the forgiveness
of injuries. This is the first time we hear of the
"Drum Ecclesiastic" beating up for political re-
cruits in our country; and it proved of such signal
efficacy, that it has since been called into frequent
service throughout our union. A cunning politician
is often found skulking under the clerical robe, with
an outside all religion, and an inside all political
rancour. Things spiritual and things temporal are
strangely jumbled together, like poisons and anti-
dotes on an apothecary's shelf, and instead of a de-
vout sermon, the simple church-going folk, have
often a political pamphlet, thrust down their throats,
labeled with a pious text from Scripture.


     How the New Amsterdammers became great in
arms, and of the direful catastrophe of a mighty
army -- together with Peter Stuyvesant's mea-
sures to fortify the City -- and how he was the
original founder of the Battery

But notwithstanding that the grand council, as
I have already shewn, were amazingly discreet in
their proceedings respecting the New Nether-
lands, and conducted the whole with almost as much
silence and mystery, as does the sage British cabi-
net one of its ill star'd secret expeditions -- yet did the
ever watchful Peter receive as full and accurate in-
formation of every movement, as does the court of
France of all the notable enterprises I have men-
tioned. -- He accordingly set himself to work, to
render the machinations of his bitter adversaries

     I know that many will censure the precipitation
of this stout hearted old governor, in that he hur-
ried into the expenses of fortification, without as-
certaining whether they were necessary, by pru-
dently waiting until the enemy was at the door.
But they should recollect Peter Stuyvesant had not
the benefit of an insight into the modern arcana of
politics, and was strangely bigotted to certain obso-
lete maxims of the old school; among which he
firmly believed, that, to render a country respected
abroad, it was necessary to make it formidable at
home -- and that a nation should place its reliance
for peace and security, more upon its own strength,
than on the justice or good will of its neighbours. --
He proceeded therefore, with all diligence, to put
the province and metropolis in a strong posture
of defence.

     Among the few remnants of ingenious inven-
tions which remained from the days of William the
Testy, were those impregnable bulwarks of public
safety, militia laws; by which the inhabitants were
obliged to turn out twice a year, with such military
equipments -- as it pleased God; and were put un-
der the command of very valiant taylors, and man
milliners, who though on ordinary occasions, the
meekest, pippen-hearted little men in the world,
were very devils at parades and court-martials,
when they had cocked hats on their heads, and
swords by their sides. Under the instructions of
these periodical warriors, the gallant train bands
made marvellous proficiency in the mystery of gun-
powder. They were taught to face to the right, to
wheel to the left, to snap off empty firelocks with-
out winking, to turn a corner without any great up-
roar or irregularity, and to march through sun and
rain from one end of the town to the other without
flinching -- until in the end they became so valour-
ous that they fired off blank cartridges, without so
much as turning away their heads -- could hear the
largest field piece discharged, without stopping
their ears or falling into much confusion -- and would
even go through all the fatigues and perils of a sum-
mer day's parade, without having their ranks much
thinned by desertion!

     True it is, the genius of this truly pacific peo-
ple was so little given to war, that during the inter-
vals which occurred between field days, they gene-
rally contrived to forget all the military tuition they
had received; so that when they re-appeared on pa-
rade, they scarcely knew the butt end of the musket
from the muzzle, and invariably mistook the right
shoulder for the left -- a mistake which however
was soon obviated by shrewdly chalking their left
arms. But whatever might be their blunders and
aukwardness, the sagacious Kieft, declared them to
be of but little importance -- since, as he judiciously
observed, one campaign would be of more instruc-
tion to them than a hundred parades; for though
two-thirds of them might be food for powder, yet
such of the other third as did not run away, would
become most experienced veterans.

     The great Stuyvesant had no particular venera-
tion for the ingenious experiments and institutions
of his shrewd predecessor, and among other things,
held the militia system in very considerable con-
tempt, which he was often heard to call in joke -- for
he was sometimes fond of a joke -- governor Kieft's
broken reed. As, however, the present emergency
was pressing, he was obliged to avail himself of such
means of defence as were next at hand, and accor-
dingly appointed a general inspection and parade of
the train bands. But oh! Mars and Bellona, and
all ye other powers of war, both great and small,
what a turning out was here! -- Here came men
without officers, and officers without men -- long
fowling pieces, and short blunderbusses -- muskets
of all sorts and sizes, some without bayonets, others
without locks, others without stocks, and many
without lock, stock, or barrel. -- Cartridge-boxes,
shot belts, powder-horns, swords, hatchets, snick-
er-snees, crow-bars, and broomsticks, all mingled
higgledy, piggledy -- like one of our continental ar-
mies at the breaking out of the revolution.

     The sturdy Peter eyed this ragged regiment
with some such rueful aspect, as a man would eye
the devil; but knowing, like a wise man, that all
he had to do was to make the best out of a bad bar-
gain, he determined to give his heroes a seasoning.
Having therefore drilled them through the ma-
nual exercise over and over again, he ordered the
fifes to strike up a quick march, and trudged his
sturdy boots backwards and forwards, about the
streets of New Amsterdam, and the fields adja-
cent, till I warrant me, their short legs ached, and
their fat sides sweated again. But this was not
all; the martial spirit of the old governor caught
fire from the sprightly music of the fife, and he re-
solved to try the mettle of his troops, and give
them a taste of the hardships of iron war. To
this end he encamped them as the shades of evening
fell, upon a hill formerly called Bunker's hill, at
some distance from the town, with a full intention
of initiating them into the dicipline of camps, and
of renewing the next day, the toils and perils of
the field. But so it came to pass, that in the night
there fell a great and heavy rain, which descended
in torrents upon the camp, and the mighty army
of swing tails strangely melted away before it; so
that when Gaffer Phoebus came to shed his morn-
ing beams upon the place, saving Peter Stuyvesant
and his trumpeter Van Corlear, scarce one was to
be found of all the multitude, that had taken roost
there the night before.

     This awful dissolution of his army would have
appalled a commander of less nerve than Peter
Stuyvesant; but he considered it as a matter of
but small importance, though he thenceforward
regarded the militia system with ten times greater
contempt than ever, and took care to provide him-
self with a good garrison of chosen men, whom
he kept in pay, of whom he boasted that they at
least possessed the quality, indispensible in sol-
diers, of being water proof.

     The next care of the vigilant Stuyvesant, was
to strengthen and fortify New Amsterdam. For
this purpose he reared a substantial barrier that
reached across the island from river to river, being
the distance of a full half a mile! -- a most stupend-
ous work, and scarcely to be rivalled in the opinion
of the old inhabitants, by the great wall of China,
or the Roman wall erected in Great Britain against
the incursions of the Scots, or the wall of brass
that Dr. Faustus proposed to build round Ger-
many, by the aid of the devil.

     The materials of which this wall was construct-
ed are differently described, but from a majority of
opinions I am inclined to believe that it was a
picket fence of especial good pine posts, intended
to protect the city, not merely from the sudden in-
vasions of foreign enemies, but likewise from the
incursions of the neighbouring Indians.

     Some traditions it is true, have ascribed the
building of this wall to a later period, but they are
wholly incorrect; for a memorandum in the Stuy-
vesant manuscript, dated towards the middle of the
governor's reign, mentions this wall particularly, as
a very strong and curious piece of workmanship,
and the admiration of all the savages in the neigh-
bourhood. And it mentions moreover the alarm-
ing circumstance of a drove of stray cows, breaking
through the grand wall of a dark night; by which
the whole community of New Amsterdam was
thrown into as great panic, as were the people of
Rome, by the sudden irruptions of the Gauls, or
the valiant citizens of Philadelphia, during the
time of our revolution: by a fleet of empty kegs
floating down the Delaware. [4]

     But the vigilance of the governor was more
especially manifested by an additional fortification
which he erected as an out work to fort Amster-
dam, to protect the sea bord, or water edge. I
have ascertained by the most painful and minute
investigation, that it was neither fortified accord-
ing to the method of Evrard de Bar-le-duc, that
earliest inventor of complete system; the dutch
plan of Marollois; the French method invented by
by Antoine de Ville; the Flemish of Stevin de
Bruges; the Polish of Adam de Treitach, or the
Italian of Sardi.

     He did not pursue either of the three systems
of Pagan; the three of Vauban; the three of Schei-
ter; the three of Coehorn, that illustrious dutch-
man, who adapted all his plans to the defence of
low and marshy countries -- or the hundred and
sixty methods, laid down by Francisco Marchi of

     The fortification did not consist of a Polygon,
inscribed in a circle, according to Alain Manesson
Maillet; nor with four long batteries, agreeably to
the expensive system of Blondel; nor with the
fortification a rebours of Dona Rosetti, nor the
Caponiere Couverte, of the ingenious St. Julien;
nor with angular polygons and numerous case-
mates, as recommended by Antoine d'Herbert; who
served under the duke of Wirtemberg, grandfa-
ther to the second wife, and first queen of Jerome
Bonaparte -- otherwise called Jerry Sneak.

     It was neither furnished with bastions, fash-
ioned after the original invention of Zisca, the
Bohemian; nor those used by Achmet Bassa, at
Otranto in 1480; nor those recommended by San
Micheli of Verona; neither those of triangular
form, treated of by Specle, the high dutch engineer
of Strasbourg, or the famous wooden bastions,
since erected in this renowned city, the destruction
of which, is recorded in a former chapter. In
fact governor Stuyvesant, like the celebrated Mon-
talembert, held bastions in absolute contempt; yet
did he not like him substitute a tenaille angulaire
des polygons à ailerons

     He did not make use of Myrtella towers, as
are now erecting at Quebec; neither did he erect
flagstaffs and windmills as was done by his illus-
trious predecessor of Saardam; nor did he employ
circular castellated towers, or batteries with two
tier of heavy artillery, and a third of columbiads on
the top; as are now erecting for the defence of this
defenceless city.

     My readers will perhaps be surprized, that out
of so many systems, governor Stuyvesant should
find none to suit him; this may be tolerably ac-
counted for, by the simple fact, that many of them
were unfortunately invented long since his time;
and as to the rest, he was as ignorant of them, as
the child that never was and never will be born.
In truth, it is more than probable, that had they all
been spread before him, with as many more into
the bargain; that same peculiarity of mind, that
acquired him the name of Hard-kopping Piet,
would have induced him to follow his own plans,
in preference to them all. In a word, he pursued
no system either past, present or to come; he
equally disdained to imitate his predecessors, of
whom he had never heard -- his contemporaries,
whom he did not know; or his unborn successors,
whom, to say the truth, he never once thought of
in his whole life. His great and capacious mind
was convinced, that the simplest method is often
the most efficient and certainly the most expeditious,
he therefore fortified the water edge with a formi-
dable mud breast work, solidly faced, after the
manner of the dutch ovens common in those days,
with clam shells.

     These frowning bulwarks in process of time,
came to be pleasantly overrun by a verdant carpet
of grass and clover, and their high embankments
overshadowed by wide spreading sycamores, among
whose foilage the little birds sported about, making
the air to resound with their joyous notes. The
old burghers would repair of an afternoon to smoke
their pipes under the shade of their branches, con-
templating the golden sun as he gradually sunk
into the west an emblem of that tranquil end toward
which themselves were hastening -- while the young
men and the damsels of the town would take many
a moonlight stroll among these favourite haunts,
watching the silver beams of chaste Cynthia, trem-
ble along the calm bosom of the bay, or light up
the white sail of some gliding bark, and inter-
changing the honest vows of constant affection.
Such was the origin of that renowned walk, the
, which though ostensibly devoted to the
purposes of war, has ever been consecrated to the
sweet delights of peace. The favourite walk of
declining age -- the healthful resort of the feeble
invalid -- the sunday refreshment of the dusty trades-
man -- the scene of many a boyish gambol -- the
rendezvous of many a tender assignation -- the
comfort of the citizen -- the ornament of New York,
and the pride of the lovely island of Mannahata.

  [4] In an antique view of Nieuw Amsterdam, taken some few
years after the above period, is an accurate representation of this
wall, which stretched along the course of Wall-street, so called in
commemoration of this great bulwark. One gate, called the
Land-poort opened upon Broadway, hard by where at present
stands the Trinity Church; and another called the Water-poort,
stood about where the Tontine coffee-house is at present -- opening
upon Smits Vleye, or as it is commonly called Smith fly; then a
marshy valley, with a creek or inlet, extending up what we call
maiden lane.


     How the people of the east country were suddenly
afflicted with a diabolical evil -- and their judici-
ous measures for the extirpation thereof

Having thus provided for the temporary secu-
rity of New Amsterdam, and guarded it against
any sudden surprise, the gallant Peter took a hear-
ty pinch of snuff, and snapping his fingers, set the
great council of Amphyctions, aud their champion,
the doughty Alicxsander Partridg at defiance. It
is impossible to say, notwithstanding, what might
have been the issue of this affair, had not the great
council been all at once involved in huge perplexity,
and as much horrible dissension sown among its
members, as of yore was stirred up in the camp of
the brawling warriors of Greece.

     The all potent council of the league, as I have
shewn in my last chapter, had already announced its
hostile determinations, and already was the mighty
colony of New Haven and the puissant town of Py-
quag, otherwise called Wethersfield -- famous for
its onions and its witches -- and the great trading
house of Hartford, and all the other redoubtable lit-
tle border towns, in a prodigious turmoil, furbishing
up their rusty fowling pieces and shouting aloud for
war; by which they anticipated easy conquests, and
gorgeous spoils, from the little fat dutch villages.
But this joyous brawling was soon silenced by the
conduct of the colony of Massachusetts. Struck
with the gallant spirit of the brave old Peter, and
convinced by the chivalric frankness and heroic
warmth of his vindication, they refused to believe
him guilty of the infamous plot most wrongfully
laid at his door. With a generosity for which I
would yield them immortal honour, they declared,
that no determination of the grand council of the
league, should bind the general court of Massachu-
setts, to join in an offensive war, which should appear
to such general court to be unjust. [5]

     This refusal immediately involved the colony
of Massachusetts and the other combined colonies,
in very serious difficulties and disputes, and would
no doubt have produced a dissolution of the confe-
deracy, but that the great council of Amphyctions,
finding that they could not stand alone, if mutilated
by the loss of so important a member as Massachu-
setts, were fain to abandon for the present their hos-
tile machinations against the Manhattoes. Such is
the marvellous energy and puissance of those nota-
ble confederacies, composed of a number of sturdy,
self-will'd, discordant parts, loosely banded toge-
ther by a puny general government. As it is how-
ever, the warlike towns of Connecticut, had no
cause to deplore this disappointment of their mar-
tial ardour; for by my faith -- though the combined
powers of the league might have been too potent
in the end, for the robustious warriors of the Man-
hattoes -- yet in the interim would the lion hearted
Peter and his myrmidons, have choaked the sto-
machful heroes of Pyquag with their own onions,
and have given the other little border towns such a
scouring, that I warrant they would have had no
stomach to squat on the land, or invade the hen-
roost of a New Nederlander for a century to come.

     Indeed there was more than one cause to divert
the attention of the good people of the east, from
their hostile purposes; for just about this time were
they horribly beleagured and harassed by the in-
roads of the prince of darkness, divers of whose
liege subjects they detected, lurking within their
camp, all of whom they incontinently roasted as so
many spies, and dangerous enemies. Not to speak
in parables, we are informed, that at this juncture,
the unfortunate "east countrie" was exceedingly
troubled and confounded by multitudes of losel
witches, who wrought strange devices to beguile
and distress the multitude; and notwithstanding nu-
merous judicious and bloody laws had been enacted,
against all "solem conversing or compacting with
the divil, by way of conjuracon or the like,"6 yet
did the dark crime of witchcraft continue to en-
crease to an alarming degree, that would almost
transcend belief, were not the fact too well authenti-
cated to be even doubted for an instant.

     What is particularly worthy of admiration is,
that this terrible art, which so long has baffled the
painful researches, and abstruse studies of philoso-
phers, astrologers, alchymists, theurgists and other
sages, was chiefly confined to the most ignorant,
decrepid, ugly, abominable old women in the com-
munity, who had scarcely more brains than the
broomsticks they rode upon. Where they first ac-
quired their infernal education -- whether from the
works of the ancient Theurgists -- the demonology
of the Egyptians -- the belomancy, or divination by
arrows of the Scythians -- the spectrology of the
Germans -- the magic of the Persians -- the enchant-
ment of the Laplanders, or from the archives of
the dark and mysterious caverns of the Dom Dan-
iel, is a question pregnant with a host of learned
and ingenious doubts -- particularly as most of them
were totally unversed in the occult mysteries of the

     When once an alarm is sounded, the public,
who love dearly to be in a panic, are not long in
want of proofs to support it -- raise but the cry of
yellow fever, and immediately every head-ache,
and indigestion, and overflowing of the bile is pro-
nounced the terrible epidemic -- In like manner in
the present instance, whoever was troubled with a
cholic or lumbago, was sure to be bewitched, and
woe to any unlucky old woman that lived in his
neighbourhood. Such a howling abomination could
not be suffered to remain long unnoticed, and it ac-
cordingly soon attracted the fiery indignation of the
sober and reflective part of the community -- more
especially of those, who, whilome, had evinced so
much active benevolence in the conversion of qua-
kers and anabaptists. The grand council of the
amphyctions publicly set their faces against so
deadly and dangerous a sin, and a severe scrutiny
took place after those nefarious witches, who were
easily detected by devil's pinches, black cats, broom-
sticks, and the circumstance of their only being
able to weep three tears, and those out of the left

     It is incredible the number of offences that were
detected, "for every one of which," says the pro-
found and reverend Cotton Mather, in that excel-
lent work, the history of New England -- "we have
such a sufficient evidence, that no reasonable man
in this whole country ever did question them; and
it will be unreasonable to do it in any other

     Indeed, that authentic and judicious historian
John Josselyn, Gent. furnishes us with unquestiona-
ble facts on this subject. "There are none," ob-
serves he "that beg in this country, but there be
witches too many -- bottle bellied witches and others,
that produce many strange apparitions, if you will be-
lieve report of a shalop at sea manned with women
-- and of a ship and great red horse standing by the
main mast; the ship being in a small cove to the east-
ward vanished of a sudden," &c.

     The number of delinquents, however, and their
magical devices, were not more remarkable than
their diabolical obstinacy. Though exhorted in the
most solemn, persuasive and affectionate manner,
to confess themselves guilty, and be burnt for the
good of religion, and the entertainment of the pub-
lic; yet did they most pertinaciously persist in as-
serting their innocence. Such incredible obstinacy
was in itself deserving of immediate punishment,
and was sufficient proof, if proof were necessary,
that they were in league with the devil, who is per-
verseness itself. But their judges were just and
merciful, and were determined to punish none that
were not convicted on the best of testimony; not
that they needed any evidence to satisfy their
own minds, for, like true and experienced judges
their minds were perfectly made up, and they
were thoroughly satisfied of the guilt of the
prisoners before they proceeded to try them; but
still something was necessary to convince the
community at large -- to quiet those prying quid
nuncs who should come after them -- in short, the
world must be satisfied. Oh the world -- the world!
-- all the world knows the world of trouble the world
is eternally occasioning! -- The worthy judges there-
fore, like myself in this most authentic, minute and
satisfactory of all histories, were driven to the ne-
cessity of sifting, detecting and making evident as
noon day, matters which were at the commence-
ment all clearly understood and firmly decided upon
in their own own pericraniums -- so that it may truly
be said, that the witches were burnt, to gratify the
populace of the day -- but were tried for the satis-
faction of the whole world that should come after

     Finding therefore that neither exhortation, sound
reason, nor friendly entreaty had any avail on these
hardened offenders, they resorted to the more ur-
gent arguments of the torture, and having thus ab-
solutely wrung the truth from their stubborn lips --
they condemned them to undergo the roasting due
unto the heinous crimes they had confessed. Some
even carried their perverseness so far, as to expire
under the torture, protesting their innocence to the
last; but these were looked upon as thoroughly and
absolutely possessed, and governed by the devil,
and the pious bye-standers, only lamented that they
had not lived a little longer, to have perished in the

     In the city of Ephesus, we are told, that the
plague was expelled by stoning a ragged old beg-
gar to death, whom Appolonius pointed out as be-
ing the evil spirit that caused it, and who actually
shewed himself to be a demon, by changing into a
shagged dog. In like manner, and by measures
equally sagacious, a salutary check was given to
this growing evil. The witches were all burnt,
banished or panic struck, and in a little while
there was not an ugly old woman to be found
throughout New England -- which is doubtless one
reason why all their young women are so handsome.
Those honest folk who had suffered from their in-
cantations gradually recovered, excepting such as
had been afflicted with twitches and aches, which,
however assumed the less alarming aspects of rheu-
matisms, sciatics and lumbagos -- and the good
people of New England, abandoning the study of
the occult sciences, turned their attention to the
more profitable hocus pocus of trade, and soon be-
came expert in the legerdemain art of turning a pen-
ny. Still however, a tinge of the old leaven is dis-
cernable, even unto this day, in their characters --
witches occasionally start up among them in differ-
ent disguises, as physicians, civilians, and divines.
The people at large shew a 'cuteness, a cleverness,
and a profundity of wisdom, that savours strongly
of witchcraft -- and it has been remarked, that when-
ever any stones fall from the moon, the greater part
of them are sure to tumble into New England!


  [5] Haz. Col. S. Pap.

  [6] New Plymouth record.


     Which records the rise and renown of a valiant
commander, shewing that a man, like a bladder,
may be puffed up to greatness and importance,
by mere wind

When treating of these tempestuous times, the
unknown writer of the Stuyvesant manuscript,
breaks out into a vehement apostrophe, in praise of
the good St. Nicholas; to whose protecting care he
entirely ascribes the strange dissentions that broke
out in the council of the amphyctions, and the
direful witchcraft that prevailed in the east country
-- whereby the hostile machinations against the
Nederlanders were for a time frustrated, and his
favourite city of New Amsterdam, preserved from
imminent peril and deadly warfare. Darkness
and lowering superstition hung over the fair valleys
of the east; the pleasant banks of the Connecticut,
no longer echoed with the sounds of rustic gaiety;
direful phantoms and portentous apparitions were
seen in the air -- gliding spectrums haunted every
wildbrook and dreary glen -- strange voices, made by
viewless forms, were heard in desart solitudes -- and
the border towns were so occupied in detecting and
punishing the knowing old women, that had pro-
duced these alarming appearances, that for a while
the province of New Nederlandt and its inhabitants
were totally forgotten.

     The great Peter therefore, finding that nothing
was to be immediately apprehended from his eastern
neighbours, turned himself about with a praisewor-
thy vigilance that ever distinguished him, to put
a stop to the insults of the Swedes. These lossel
freebooters my attentive reader will recollect had
begun to be very troublesome towards the latter part
of the reign of William the Testy, having set the
proclamations of that doughty little governor at
naught, and put the intrepid Jan Jansen Alpendam
to a perfect non plus!

     Peter Stuyvesant, however, as has already been
shewn, was a governor of different habits and turn
of mind -- without more ado he immediately issued
orders for raising a corps of troops to be stationed
on the southern frontier, under the command of
brigadier general Jacobus Von Poffenburgh. This
illustrious warrior had risen to great importance
during the reign of Wihelmus Keift, and if histories
speak true, was second in command to the gallant
Van Curlet, when he and his ragged regiment were
inhumanly kicked out of Fort Good Hope by the
Yankees. In consequence of having been in such
a "memorable affair," and of having received
more wounds on a certain honourable part that
shall be nameless, than any of his comrades, he was
ever after considered as a hero, who had "seen
some service." Certain it is, he enjoyed the un-
limited confidence and friendship of William the
Testy; who would sit for hours and listen with
wonder to his gunpowder narratives of surprising
victories -- he had never gained: and dreadful bat-
tles -- from which he had run away; and the governor
was once heard to declare that had he lived in
ancient times, he might unquestionably have claimed
the armour of Achilles -- being not merely like
Ajax, a mighty blustering man of battle, but in the
cabinet a second Ulysses, that is to say, very valiant
of speech and long winded -- all which, as nobody
in New Amsterdam knew aught of the ancient
heroes in question, passed totally uncontradicted.

     It was tropically observed by honest old Socrates,
of hen-pecked memory, that heaven had infused
into some men at their birth a portion of intellectual
gold; into others of intellectual silver; while others
were bounteously furnished out with abundance of
brass and iron -- now of this last class was undoubt-
edly the great general Von Poffenburgh, and from
the great display he continually made, I am inclined
to think that dame nature, who will sometimes be
partial, had blessed him with enough of those
valuable materials to have fitted up a dozen ordinary
braziers. But what is most to be admired is, that he
contrived to pass off all his brass and copper upon
Wilhelmus Kieft, who was no great judge of base
coin, as pure and genuine gold. The consequence
was, that upon the resignation of Jacobus Van Cur-
let, who after the loss of fort Goed Hoop retired
like a veteran general, to live under the shade of
his laurels, the mighty "copper captain" was pro-
moted to his station. This he filled with great
importance, always styling himself "commander
in chief of the armies of the New Netherlands;"
though to tell the truth the armies, or rather army,
consisted of a handful of half uniformed, hen
stealing, bottle bruizing raggamuffins.

     Such was the character of the warrior appointed
by Peter Stuyvesant to defend his southern frontier,
nor may it be uninteresting to my reader to have a
glimpse of his person. He was not very tall, but
notwithstanding, a huge, full bodied man, whose
size did not so much arise from his being fat, as
windy; being so completely inflated with his own
importance, that he resembled one of those puffed
up bags of wind, which old Eolus, in an incredible
fit of generosity, gave to that vagabond warrior

     His dress comported with his character, for he
had almost as much brass and copper without, as
nature had stored away within -- His coat was cros-
sed and slashed, and carbonadoed, with stripes of
copper lace, and swathed round the body with a
crimson sash, of the size and texture of a fishing
net, doubtless to keep his valiant heart from bursting
through his ribs. His head and whiskers were pro
fusely powdered, from the midst of which his full
blooded face glowed like a fiery furnace; and his
magnanimous soul seemed ready to bounce out at
a pair of large glassy blinking eyes, which projected
like those of a lobster.

     I swear to thee, worthy reader, if report belie
not this great general, I would give half my for-
tune (which at this moment is not enough to pay
the bill of my landlord) to have seen him accou-
tered cap-a-pie, in martial array -- booted to the
middle -- sashed to the chin -- collared to the ears --
whiskered to the muzzle -- crowned with an over-
shadowing cocked-hat, and girded with a leathern
belt ten inches broad, from which trailed a faulchion
of a length that I dare not mention.

     Thus equipped, he strutted about, as bitter look-
ing a man of war as the far-famed More of More
Hall, when he sallied forth, armed at all points, to
slay the Dragon of Wantley --

"Had you but seen him in this dress
     How fierce he look'd and how big;
You would have thought him for to be
     Some Egyptian Porcupig.
He frighted all, cats, dogs and all,
     Each cow, each horse, and each hog;
For fear they did flee, for they took him to be
     Some strange outlandish hedge hog." [7]

     Notwithstanding all the great endowments and
transcendent qualities of this renowned general, I
must confess he was not exactly the kind of man
that the gallant Peter the Headstrong would have
chosen to command his troops -- but the truth is, that
in those days the province did not abound, as at pre-
sent, in great military characters; who like so many
Cincinnatuses people every little village -- marshal-
ling out cabbages, instead of soldiers, and signa-
lizing themselves in the corn field, instead of the
field of battle. Who have surrendered the toils of
war, for the more useful but inglorious arts of
peace, and so blended the laurel with the olive, that
you may have a general for a landlord, a colonel
for a stage driver, and your horse shod by a valiant
"captain of volunteers" -- Neither had the great
Stuyvesant an opportunity of choosing, like modern
rulers, from a loyal band of editors of newspapers --
no mention being made in the histories of the times,
of any such class of mercenaries, being retained in
pay by government, either as trumpeters, cham-
pions, or body guards. The redoubtable general
Von Poffenburgh, therefore, was appointed to the
command of the new levied troops; chiefly because
there were no competitors for the station, and partly
because it would have been a breach of military
etiquette, to have appointed a younger officer over
his head -- an injustice, which the great Peter would
rather have died than have committed.

     No sooner did this thrice valiant copper cap-
tain receive marching orders, than he conducted
his army undauntedly to the southern frontier;
through wild lands and savage deserts; over in-
surmountable mountains, across impassable floods
and through impenetrable forests; subduing a vast
tract of uninhabited country, and overturning, dis-
comfiting and making incredible slaughter of cer-
tain hostile hosts of grass-hoppers, toads and pis-
mires, which had gathered together to oppose his
progress -- an achievement unequalled in the pages
of history, save by the farfamed retreat of old
Xenephon and his ten thousand Grecians. All
this accomplished, he established on the South (or
Delaware) river, a redoubtable redoubt, named
Fort Casimer, in honour of a favourite pair of
brimstone coloured trunk breeches of the go-
vernor's. As this fort will be found to give rise to
very important and interesting events, it may be
worth while to notice that it was afterwards called
Neiuw Amstel, and was the original germ of the
present flourishing town of New Castle, an ap-
pellation erroneously substituted for No Castle,
there neither being, nor ever having been a castle,
or any thing of the kind upon the premises.

     The Swedes did not suffer tamely this mena-
cing movement of the Nederlanders; on the con-
trary Jan Printz, at that time governor of New
Sweden, issued a sturdy protest against what he
termed an encroachment upon his jurisdiction. --
But the valiant Von Poffenburgh had become too
well versed in the nature of proclamations and pro-
tests, while he served under William the Testy,
to be in any wise daunted by such paper warfare.
His fortress being finished, it would have done
any man's heart good to behold into what a magni-
tude he immediately swelled. He would stride in
and out a dozen times a day, surveying it in front
and in rear; on this side and on that. -- Then would
he dress himself in full regimentals, and strut back-
wards and forwards, for hours together, on the top
of his little rampart -- like a vain glorious cock
pidgeon vapouring on the top of his coop. In a
word, unless my readers have noticed, with curi-
ous eye, the petty commander of a little, snivel-
ling, military post, swelling with all the vanity
of new regimentals, and the pomposity derived
from commanding a handful of tatterdemalions,
I despair of giving them any adequate idea of
the prodigious dignity of general Von Poffen-

     It is recorded in the delectable romance of
Pierce Forest, that a young knight being dubbed
by king Alexander, did incontinently gallop into an
adjoining forest, and belaboured the trees with such
might and main, that the whole court were convin-
ced that he was the most potent and courageous
gentleman on the face of the earth. In like man-
ner the great general Von Poffenburgh would ease
off that valourous spleen, which like wind is so apt
to grow unruly in the stomachs of new made sol-
diers, impelling them to box-lobby brawls, and bro-
ken headed quarrels. -- For at such times, when he
found his martial spirit waxing hot within him, he
would prudently sally forth into the fields, and lug-
ging out his trusty sabre, of full two flemish ells in
length, would lay about him most lustily, decapi-
tating cabbages by platoons -- hewing down whole
phalanxes of sunflowers, which he termed gigantic
Swedes; and if peradventure, he espied a colony of
honest big bellied pumpkins quietly basking them-
selves in the sun, "ah caitiff Yankees," would he
roar, "have I caught ye at last!" -- so saying, with
one sweep of his sword, he would cleave the unhap-
py vegetables from their chins to their waistbands:
by which warlike havoc, his choler being in some
sort allayed, he would return to his garrison with a
full conviction, that he was a very miracle of milita-
ry prowess.

     The next ambition of general Von Poffenburgh
was to be thought a strict disciplinarian. Well
knowing that discipline is the soul of all military
enterprize, he enforced it with the most rigorous
precision; obliging every man to turn out his toes,
and hold up his head on parade, and prescribing the
breadth of their ruffles to all such as had any shirts
to their backs.

     Having one day, in the course of his devout re-
searches in the bible, (for the pious Eneas himself,
could not exceed him in outward religion) encoun-
tered the history of Absalom and his melancholy
end; the general in an evil hour, issued orders for
cropping the hair of both officers and men through-
out the garrison. Now it came to pass, that among
his officers was one Kildermeester; a sturdy old
veteran, who had cherished through the course of a
long life, a rugged mop of hair, not a little resem-
bling the shag of a Newfoundland dog; termina-
ting with an immoderate queue, like the handle of
a frying pan; and queued so tightly to his head,
that his eyes and mouth generally stood ajar, and
his eye-brows were drawn up to the top of his fore-
head. It may naturally be supposed that the pos-
sessor of so goodly an appendage would resist with
abhorrence, an order condemning it to the shears.
Sampson himself could not have held his wig more
sacred, and on hearing the general orders, he dis-
charged a tempest of veteran, soldier-like oaths,
and dunder and blixums -- swore he would break any
man's head who attempted to meddle with his tail --
queued it stiffer than ever, and whisked it about
the garrison, as fiercely as the tail of a crocodile.

     The eel-skin queue of old Kildermeester, became
instantly an affair of the utmost importance. The
commander in chief was too enlightened an officer
not to perceive, that the discipline of the garrison,
the subordination and good order of the armies of
the Nieuw Nederlandts, the consequent safety of
the whole province, and ultimately the dignity and
prosperity of their high mightinesses, the lords
states general, but above all, the dignity of the
great general Von Poffenburgh, all imperiously de-
manded the docking of that stubborn queue. He
therefore patriotically determined that old Kilder-
meester should be publicly shorn of his glories in
presence of the whole garrison -- the old man as re-
solutely stood on the defensive -- whereupon the
general, as became a great man, was highly exas-
perated, and the offender was arrested and tried
by a court martial for mutiny, desertion and all the
other rigmarole of offences noticed in the articles of
war, ending with a "videlicit, in wearing an eel-skin
queue, three feet long, contrary to orders" -- Then
came on arraignments, and trials, and pleadings,
and convictings, and the whole country was in a
ferment about this unfortunate queue. As it is
well known that the commander of a distant frontier
post has the power of acting pretty much after his
own will, there is little doubt but that the old vete-
ran would have been hanged or shot at least, had he
not luckily fallen ill of a fever, through mere cha-
grin and mortification -- and most flagitiously de-
serted from all earthly command, with his beloved
locks unviolated. His obstinacy remained unsha-
ken to the very last moment, when he directed that
he should be carried to his grave with his eel-skin
queue sticking out of a knot hole in his coffin.

     This magnanimous affair obtained the general
great credit as an excellent disciplinarian, but it is
hinted that he was ever after subject to bad dreams,
and fearful visitations in the night -- when the griz-
ly spectrum of old Kildermeester would stand cen-
tinel by his bed side, erect as a pump, his enor-
mous queue strutting out like the handle.


  [7] Ballad of Drag of Want.


     Containing the second part of the reign of Peter
the Headstrong -- and his gallant achievements on
the Delaware.


     In which is presented a warlike portrait of the
Great Peter. -- And how General Von Poffen-
burgh gave a stout carousal, for which he got
more kicks than coppers

     Hitherto most venerable and courteous reader,
have I shewn thee the administration of the valour-
ous Stuyvesant, under the mild moonshine of
peace; or rather the grim tranquillity of awful pre-
paration; but now the war drum rumbles, the bra-
zen trumpet brays its thrilling note, and the rude
clash of hostile arms, speaks fearful prophecies of
coming troubles. The gallant warrior starts from
soft repose, from golden visions and voluptuous
ease; where in the dulcet, "piping time of peace,"
he sought sweet solace after all his toils. No more
in beauty's syren lap reclined, he weaves fair gar-
lands for his lady's brows; no more entwines with
flowers his shining sword, nor through the live-long
lazy summers day, chaunts forth his lovesick soul
in madrigals. To manhood roused, he spurns the
amorous flute; doffs from his brawny back the robe
of peace, and clothes his pampered limbs in panoply
of steel. O'er his dark brow, where late the myr-
tle waved; where wanton roses breathed enervate
love, he rears the beaming casque and nodding
plume; grasps the bright shield and shakes the pon-
drous lance; or mounts with eager pride his fiery
steed; and burns for deeds of glorious chivalry!

     But soft, worthy reader! I would not have you
go about to imagine, that any preux chevalier thus
hideously begirt with iron existed in the city of
New Amsterdam. -- This is but a lofty and gigantic
mode in which we heroic writers always talk of
war, thereby to give it a noble and imposing as-
pect; equipping our warriors with bucklers, helms
and lances, and a host of other outlandish and ob-
solete weapons, the like of which perchance they
had never seen or heard of; in the same manner
that a cunning statuary arrays a modern general or
an admiral in the accoutrements of a Cæsar or an
Alexander. The simple truth then of all this ora-
torical flourish is this. -- That the valiant Peter
Stuyvesant all of a sudden found it necessary to
scour his trusty blade, which too long had rusted
in its scabbard, and prepare himself to undergo
those hardy toils of war, in which his mighty soul
so much delighted.

     Methinks I at this moment behold him in my
imagination -- or rather I behold his goodly por-
trait, which still hangs up in the family mansion of
the Stuyvesants -- arrayed in all the terrors of a
true dutch general. His regimental coat of Ger-
man blue, gorgeously decorated with a goodly
shew of large brass buttons, reaching from his
waistband to his chin. The voluminous skirts
turned up at the corners and separating gallantly
behind, so as to display the seat of a sumptuous
pair of brimstone coloured trunk breeches -- a grace-
ful style still prevalent among the warriors of our
day, and which is in conformity to the custom of
ancient heroes, who scorned to defend themselves
in rear. -- His face rendered exceeding terrible and
warlike by a pair of black mustachios; his hair
strutting out on each side in stiffly pomatumed ear
locks and descending in a rat tail queue below his
waist; a shining stock of black leather supporting
his chin, and a little, but fierce cocked hat stuck
with a gallant and fiery air, over his left eye. Such
was the chivalric port of Peter the Headstrong;
and when he made a sudden halt, planted himself
firmly on his solid supporter, with his wooden leg,
inlaid with silver, a little in advance, in order to
strengthen his position; his right hand stuck a-
kimbo, his left resting upon the pummel of his
brass hilted sword; his head dressing spiritedly
to the right, with a most appalling and hard favour-
ed frown upon his brow -- he presented altogether
one of the most commanding, bitter looking, and
soldierlike figures, that ever strutted upon canvass.
-- Proceed we now to enquire the cause of this
warlike preparation.

     The encroaching disposition of the Swedes, on
the south, or Delaware river, has been duly re-
corded in the Chronicles of the reign of William
the Testy. These encroachments having been en-
dured with that heroic magnanimity, which is the
corner stone, or according to Aristotle, the left
hand neighbour of true courage, had been repeated
and wickedly aggravated.

     The Swedes, who, were of that class of cunning
pretenders to Christianity, that read the Bible up-
side down, whenever it interferes with their inte-
rests, inverted the golden maxim, and when their
neighbour suffered them to smite him on the one
cheek, they generally smote him on the other also,
whether it was turned to them or not. Their re-
peated aggressions had been among the numerous
sources of vexation, that conspired to keep the
irritable sensibilities of Wilhelmus Kieft, in a con-
stant fever, and it was only owing to the unfortu-
nate circumstance, that he had always a hundred
things to do at once, that he did not take such un-
relenting vengeance as their offences merited. But
they had now a chieftan of a different character to
deal with; and they were soon guilty of a piece of
treachery, that threw his honest blood in a ferment,
and precluded all further sufference.

     Printz, the governor of the province of New
Sweden, being either deceased or removed, for of
this fact some uncertainty exists; he was succeeded
by Jan Risingh, a gigantic Swede, and who, had he
not been rather in-kneed and splay-footed, might
have served for the model of a Sampson, or a Her-
cules. He was no less rapacious than mighty, and
withal as crafty as he was rapacious; so that in fact
there is very little doubt, had he lived some four or
five centuries before, he would have made one of
those wicked giants, who took such a cruel pleasure
in pocketing distressed damsels, when gadding about
the would, and locking them up in enchanted castles,
without a toilet, a change of linen, or any other
convenience. -- In consequence of which enormities
they fell under the high displeasure of chivalry,
and all true, loyal and gallant knights, were in-
structed to attack and slay outright any miscreant
they might happen to find above six feet high;
which is doubtless one reason that the race of large
men is nearly extinct, and the generations of latter
ages so exceeding small.

     No sooner did governor Risingh enter upon
his office, than he immediately cast his eyes upon
the important post of Fort Casimer, and formed the
righteous resolution of taking it into his possession.
The only thing that remained to consider, was the
mode of carrying his resolution into effect; and
here I must do him the justice to say, that he ex-
hibited a humanity rarely to be met with among
leaders; and which I have never seen equalled in
modern times, excepting among the English, in
their glorious affair at Copenhagen. Willing to
spare the effusion of blood, and the miseries of open
warfare, he benevolently shunned every thing like
avowed hostility or regular seige, and resorted to
the less glorious, but more merciful expedient of

     Under pretence therefore, of paying a sociable,
neighbourly visit to general Von Poffenburgh, at
his new post of Fort Casimer, he made requisite
preparation, sailed in great state up the Delaware,
displayed his flag with the most ceremonious punc-
tilio, and honoured the fortress with a royal salute,
previous to dropping anchor. The unusual noise
awakened a veteran dutch centinel, who was nap-
ping faithfully on his post, and who after hammering
his flint for good ten minutes, and rubbing its edge
with the corner of his ragged cocked hat, but all to
no purpose, contrived to return the compliment,
by discharging his rusty firelock with the spark of
a pipe, which he borrowed from one of his comrades.
The salute indeed would have been answered by
the guns of the fort, had they not unfortunately
been out of order, and the magazine deficient in
ammunition -- accidents to which forts have in all
ages been liable, and which were the more excusa-
ble in the present instance, as Fort Casimir had
only been erected about two years, and general
Von Poffenburgh, its mighty commander, had been
fully occupied wish matters of much greater self

     Risingh, highly satisfied with this courteous
reply to his salute, treated the fort to a second,
for he well knew its puissant and pompous leader,
was marvellously delighted with these little cere-
monials, which he considered as so many acts of
homage paid unto his greatness. He then landed
in great state, attended by a suite of thirty men --
a prodigious and vain-glorious retinue, for a petty
governor of a petty settlement, in those days of
primitive simplicity; and to the full as great an
army as generally swells the pomp and marches in
the rear of our frontier commanders at the present

     The number in fact might have awakened sus-
picion, had not the mind of the great Von Poffen-
burgh been so completely engrossed with an all
pervading idea of himself, that he had not room to
admit a thought besides. In fact he considered
the concourse of Risingh's followers as a compli-
ment to himself -- so apt are great men to stand
between themselves and the sun, and completely
eclipse the truth by their own shadow.

     It may readily be imagined how much general
Von Poffenburgh was flattered by a visit from so
august a personage; his only embarrassment was,
how he should receive him in such a manner as to
appear to the greatest advantage, and make the
most advantageous impression. The main guard
was ordered immediately to turn out, and the arms
and regimentals (of which the garrison possessed
full half a dozen suits) were equally distributed
among the solidiers. One tall lank fellow, appeared
in a coat intended for a small man, the skirts of
which reached a little below his waist, the buttons
were between his shoulders and the sleeves half way
to his wrists, so that his hands looked like a couple
of huge spades -- and the coat not being large enough
to meet in front, was linked together by loops,
made of a pair of red worsted garters. Another
had an old cocked hat, stuck on the back of his
head and decorated with a bunch of cocks tails --
a third had a pair of rusty gaiters hanging about
his heels -- while a fourth, who was a short duck
legged little trojan, was equipped in a huge pair of
the general's cast off breeches, which he held up
with one hand, while he grasped his firelock with
the other. The rest were accoutred in similar
style, excepting three graceless raggamuffins, who
had no shirts and but a pair and half of breeches
between them, wherefore they were sent to the
black hole, to keep them out of view. There is
nothing in which the talents of a prudent commander
are more completely testified, than in thus setting
matters off to the greatest advantage; and it is for
this reason that our frontier posts at the present
day (that of Niagara in particular) display their
best suit of regimentals on the back of the centinel
who stands in sight of travellers.

     His men being thus gallantly arrayed -- those
who lacked muskets shouldering shovels and pick
axes, and every man being ordered to tuck in his
shirt tail and pull up his brogues, general Von
Poffenburgh first took a sturdy draught of foaming
ale, which like the magnanimous More of More-
hall8 was his invariable practice on all great occa-
sions -- which done he put himself at their head, or-
dered the pine planks, which served as a draw bridge,
to be laid down, and issued forth from his castle,
like a mighty giant, just refreshed with wine. But
when the two heroes met, then began a scene of
warlike parade and chivalric courtesy, that beggars
all description. Risingh, who, as I before hinted,
was a shrewd, cunning politician, and had grown
grey much before his time, in consequence of his
craftiness, saw at one glance the ruling passion of
the great Von Poffenburgh, and humoured him in all
his valorous fantasies.

     Their detachments were accordingly drawn up
in front of each other; they carried arms and they
presented arms; they gave the standing salute and
the passing salute -- They rolled their drums, they
flourished their fifes and they waved their colours --
they faced to the left, and they faced to the right,
and they faced to the right about -- They wheeled
forward, and they wheeled backward, and they
wheeled into echellon -- They marched and they
countermarched, by grand divisions, by single divi-
sions and by sub-divisions -- by platoons, by sections
and by files -- In quick time, in slow time and in no
time at all; for, having gone through all the evolu-
tions of two great armies, including the eighteen
manoeuvres of Dundas (which, not being yet in-
vented they must have anticipated by intuition or
inspiration) having exhausted all that they could
recollect or imagine of military tactics, including
sundry strange and irregular evolutions, the like of
which were never seen before or since, excepting
among certain of our newly raised drafts, the
two great commanders and their respective troops,
came at length to a dead halt, completely exhausted
by the toils of war -- Never did two valiant train
band captains, or two buskin'd theatric heroes, in
the renowned tragedies of Pizarro, Tom Thumb, or
any other heroical and fighting tragedy, marshal
their gallows-looking, duck-legged, heavy-heeled,
sheep-stealing myrmidons with more glory and self-

     These military compliments being finished, ge-
neral Von Poffenburgh escorted his illustrious visi-
tor, with great ceremony into the fort; attended him
throughout the fortifications; shewed him the horn
works, crown works, half moons, and various other
outworks; or rather the places where they ought to
be erected, and where they might be erected if he
pleased; plainly demonstrating that it was a place
of "great capability," and though at present but a
little redoubt, yet that it evidently was a formidable
fortress, in embryo. This survey over, he next had
the whole garrison put under arms, exercised and
reviewed, and concluded by ordering the three bride-
well birds to be hauled out of the black hole, brought
up to the halberts and soundly flogged, for the
amusement of his visitor, and to convince him, that
he was a great disciplinarian.

     There is no error more dangerous than for a
commander to make known the strength, or, as in
the present case, the weakness of his garrison; this
will be exemplified before I have arrived to an end
of my present story, which thus carries its moral
like a roasted goose his pudding in its very middle.
The cunning Risingh, while he pretended to be
struck dumb outright, with the puissance of the
great Von Poffenburgh, took silent note of the
incompetency of his garrison, of which he gave a
hint to his trusty followers; who tipped each other
the wink, and laughed most obstreperously -- in
their sleeves.

     The inspection, review, and flogging being con-
cluded, the party adjourned to the table; for
among his other great qualities, the general was re-
markably addicted to huge entertainments, or rather
carousals, and in one afternoon's campaign would
leave more dead men on the field, than he ever did
in the whole course of his military career. Many
bulletins of these bloodless victories do still remain
on record; and the whole province was once thrown
in amaze, by the return of one of his campaigns;
wherein it was stated, that though like captain
Bobadel, he had only twenty men to back him,
yet in the short space of six months he had con-
quered and utterly aunihilated sixty oxen, ninety
hogs, one hundred sheep, ten thousand cabbages,
one thousand bushels of potatoes, one hundred and
fifty kilderkins of small beer, two thousand seven
hundred and thirty five pipes, seventy eight pounds
of sugar-plumbs, and forty bars of iron, besides
sundry small meats, game, poultry and garden stuff.
An atchievement unparalleled since the days of
Pantagruel and his all devouring army, and which
shewed that it was only necessary to let the great
general Von Poffenburgh, and his garrison, loose
in an enemies country, and in a little while they
would breed a famine, and starve all the inhabit-

     No sooner therefore had the general received
the first intimation of the visit of governor Risingh,
than he ordered a big dinner to be prepared; and
privately sent out a detachment of his most ex-
perienced veterans, to rob all the hen-roosts in
the neighbourhood, and lay the pig-styes under
contribution; a service to which they had been
long enured, and which they discharged with such
incredible zeal and promptitude, that the garrison
table groaned under the weight of their spoils.

     I wish with all my heart, my readers could see
the valiant Von Poffenburgh, as he presided at the
head of the banquet: it was a sight worth behold-
ing -- there he sat, in his greatest glory, surround-
ed by his soldiers, like that famous wine bibber
Alexander, whose thirsty virtues he did most ably
imitate -- telling astounding stories of his hair-
breadth adventures and heroic exploits, at which,
though all his auditors knew them to be most in-
continent and outrageous gasconadoes, yet did they
cast up their eyes in admiration and utter many in-
terjections of astonishment. Nor could the gene-
ral pronounce any thing that bore the remotest
semblance to a joke, but the stout Risingh would
strike his brawny fist upon the table till every glass
rattled again, throwing himself back in his chair,
and uttering gigantic peals of laughter, swearing
most horribly, it was the best joke he ever heard
in his life. -- Thus all was rout and revelry and hi-
deous carousal within Fort Casimer, and so lustily
did the great Von Poffenburgh ply the bottle, that
in less than four short hours he made himself, and
his whole garrison, who all sedulously emulated
the deeds of their chieftain, dead drunk, in singing
songs, quaffing bumpers, and drinking fourth of
July toasts, not one of which, but was as long as a
Welsh pedigee or a plea in chancery.

     No sooner did things come unto this pass, than
the crafty Risingh and his Swedes, who had cun-
ningly kept themselves sober, rose on their enter-
tainers, tied them neck and heels, and took formal
possession of the fort, and all its dependencies, in
the name of queen Christina, of Sweden: adminis-
tering, at the same time, an oath of allegiance to all
the dutch soldiers, who could be made sober enough
to swallow it. Risingh then put the fortifications
in order, appointed his discreet and vigilant friend
Suen Scutz, a tall, wind-dried, water drinking
Swede, to the command, and departed bearing with
him this truly amiable garrison, and their puissant
commander; who when brought to himself by a
sound drubbing, bore no little resemblance to a
"deboshed fish;" or bloated sea monster, caught
upon dry land.

     The transportation of the garrison was done
to prevent the transmission of intelligence to New
Amsterdam; for much as the cunning Risingh ex-
ulted in his stratagem, he dreaded the vengeance of
the sturdy Peter Stuyvesant; whose name spread
as much terror in the neighbourhood, as did whi-
lome that of the unconquerable Scanderbeg among
his scurvy enemies the Turks.

     [8] " -- as soon as he rose,
     To make him strong and mighty,
He drank by the tale, six pots of ale,
     And a quart of Aqua Vitæ."


     Shewing how profound secrets are strangely brought
to light; with the proceedings of Peter the
Headstrong when he heard of the misfortune of
General Von Poffenburgh

     Whoever first described common fame, or ru-
mour, as belonging to the sager sex, was a very owl
for shrewdness. She has in truth certain feminine
qualities to an astonishing degree; particularly that
benevolent anxiety to take care of the affairs of
others, which keeps her continually hunting after
secrets, and gadding about, proclaiming them.
Whatever is done openly and in the face of the
world, she takes but transient notice of, but when-
ever a transaction is done in a corner, and attempt-
ed to be shrouded in mystery, then her goddesship
is at her wit's end to find it out, and takes a most
mischievous and lady-like pleasure in publishing it
to the world. It is this truly feminine propensity
that induces her continually to be prying into cabi-
nets of princes; listening at the key holes of se-
nate chambers, and peering through chinks and
crannies, when our worthy Congress are sitting
with closed doors, deliberating between a dozen
excellent modes of ruining the nation. It is this
which makes her so obnoxious to all wary states-
men and intriguing commanders -- such a stumbling
block to private negociations and secret expeditions;
which she often betrays, by means and instruments
which never would have been thought of by any
but a female head.

     Thus it was in the case of the affair of Fort Ca-
simer. No doubt the cunning Risingh imagined,
that by securing the garrison, he should for a long
time prevent the history of its fate from reaching the
ears of the gallant Stuyvesant; but his exploit was
blown to the world when he least expected it, and
by one of the last beings he would ever have sus-
pected of enlisting as trumpeter to the wide mouth-
ed deity.

     This was one Dirk Schuiler (or Skulker),
a kind of hanger on to the garrison; who seemed
to belong to no body, and in a manner to be self out-
lawed. One of those vagabond Cosmopolites, who
shirk about the world, as if they had no right or
business in it, and who infest the skirts of socie-
ty, like poachers and interlopers. Every garrison
and country village has one or more scape goats of
this kind, whose life is a kind of enigma, whose ex-
istence is without motive, who comes from the
Lord knows where, who lives the Lord knows
how, and seems to be made for no other earthly
purpose but to keep up the antient and honourable
order of idleness -- This vagrant philosopher was
supposed to have some Indian blood in his veins,
which was manifested by a certain Indian complex-
ion and cast of countenance; but more especially
by his propensities and habits. He was a tall, lank
fellow, swift of foot and long-winded. He was
generally equipped in a half Indian dress, with
belt, leggings, and moccasons. His hair hung in
straight gallows locks, about his ears, and added
not a little to his shirking demeanour. It is an old
remark, that persons of Indian mixture are half ci-
vilized, half savage, and half devil, a third half be-
ing expressly provided for their particular conveni-
ence. It is for similar reasons, and probably with
equal truth, that the back-wood-men of Kentucky
are styled half man, half horse and half alligator, by
the settlers on the Mississippi, and held according-
ly in great respect and abhorrence.

     The above character may have presented itself
to the garrison as applicable to Dirk Schuiler, whom
they familiarly dubbed Galgenbrok, or Gallows
Dirk. Certain it is, he appeared to acknowledge
allegiance to no one -- was an utter enemy to work,
holding it in no manner of estimation -- but lounged
about the fort, depending upon chance for a sub-
sistence; getting drunk whenever he could get li-
quor, and stealing whatever he could lay his hands
on. Every day or two he was sure to get a sound
rib-roasting for some of his misdemeanours, which
however, as it broke no bones, he made very
light of, and scrupled not to repeat the offence,
whenever another opportunity presented. Some-
times in consequence of some flagrant villainy, he
would abscond from the garrison, and be absent for
a month at a time; skulking about the woods and
swamps, with a long fowling piece on his shoulder,
laying in ambush for game -- or squatting himself
down on the edge of a pond catching fish for hours
together, and bearing no little resemblance to that
notable bird ycleped the Mud-poke. When he
thought his crimes had been forgotten or forgiven, he
would sneak back to the fort with a bundle of skins,
or a bunch of poultry which perchance he had stolen,
and exchange them for liquor, with which, having
well soaked his carcass, he would lay in the sun and
enjoy all the luxurious indolence of that swinish phi-
losopher Diogenes. He was the terror of all the farm
yards in the country; into which he made fearful
inroads; and sometimes he would make his sudden
appearance at the garrison at day break, with the
whole neighbourhood at his heels; like a scoundrel
thief of a fox, detected in his maraudings and hunt-
ed to his hole. Such was this Dirk Schuiler; and
from the total indifference he shewed to the world
or its concerns, and from his true Indian stoicism
and taciturnity, no one would ever have dreamt,
that he would have been the publisher of the treache-
ry of Risingh.

     When the carousal was going on, which proved
so fatal to the brave Von Poffenburgh and his
watchful garrison, Dirk skulked about from room
to room, being a kind of privileged vagrant, or use-
less hound, whom nobody noticed. But though a
fellow of few words, yet like your taciturn people,
his eyes and ears were always open, and in the
course of his prowlings he overheard the whole plot
of the Swedes. Dirk immediately settled in his
own mind, how he should turn the matter to his
own advantage. He played the perfect jack-of-
both-sides -- that is to say, he made a prize of every
thing that came in his reach, robbed both parties,
stuck the copper bound cocked hat of the puissant
Von Poffenburgh, on his head, whipped a huge
pair of Risingh's jack boots under his arm, and
took to his heels, just before the denouement and
confusion at the garrison.

     Finding himself completely dislodged from his
haunt in this quarter, he directed his flight towards
his native place, New Amsterdam, from whence
he had formerly been obliged to abscond precipi-
tately, in consequence of misfortune in business --
in other words, having been detected in the act of
sheep stealing. After wandering many days in the
woods, toiling through swamps, fording brooks,
swimming various rivers, and encountering a world
of hardships that would have killed any other be-
ing, but an Indian, a back-wood-man, or the devil,
he at length arrived, half famished, and lank as a
starved weazle at Communipaw, where he stole a
canoe and paddled over to New Amsterdam. Im-
mediately on landing, he repaired to governor Stuy-
vesant, and in more words than he had ever spoken
before, in the whole course of his life, gave an ac-
count of the disastrous affair.

     On receiving these direful tidings the valiant
Peter started from his seat, as did the stout king
Arthur when at "merry Carleile," the news was
brought him of the uncourteous misdeeds of the
"grim barone" -- without uttering a word, he dashed
the pipe he was smoking against the back of the
chimney -- thrust a prodigious quid of negro head
tobacco into his left cheek -- pulled up his galligas-
kins, and strode up and down the room, humming,
as was customary with him, when in a passion a
most hideous north-west ditty. But, as I have be-
fore shewn, he was not a man to vent his spleen in
idle vapouring. His first measure after the paroxysm
of wrath had subsided, was to stump up stairs, to
a huge wooden chest, which served as his armoury,
from whence he drew forth that identical suit of
regimentals described in the preceding chapter. In
these portentous habiliments he arrayed himself,
like Achilles in the armour of Vulcan, maintaining
all the while a most appalling silence; knitting his
brows and drawing his breath through his clinched
teeth. Being hastily equipped, he thundered down
into the parlour like a second Magog -- jerked down
his trusty sword, from over the fire place, where it
was usually suspended; but before he girded it on
his thigh he drew it from its scabbard, and as his
eye coursed along the rusty blade, a grim smile
stole over his iron visage -- It was the first smile
that had visited his countenance for five long weeks;
but every one who beheld it, prophesied that there
would soon be warm work in the province!

     Thus armed at all points, with grizly war de-
picted in each feature; his very cocked hat assum-
ing an air of uncommon defiance; he instantly put
himself on the alert, and dispatched Antony Van
Corlear hither and thither, this way and that way,
through all the muddy streets and crooked lanes of
the city: summoning by sound of trumpet his trusty
peers to assemble in instant council. -- This done,
by way of expediting matters, according to the cus-
tom of people in a hurry, he kept in continual bustle,
thrusting his bottom into every chair, popping his
head out of every window, and stumping up and
down stairs with his wooden leg in such brisk and
incessant motion, that, as I am informed by an au-
thentic historian of the times, the continual clatter
bore no small resemblance to the music of a cooper,
hooping a flour barrel.

     A summons so peremptory, and from a man of
the governor's mettle, was not to be trifled with:
the sages forthwith repaired to the council chamber,
where the gallant Stuyvesant entered in martial
style, and took his chair, like another Charlemagne,
among his Paladins. The councillors seated them-
selves with the utmost tranquillity, and lighting their
long pipes, gazed with unruffled composure on his
excellency and his regimentals; being, as all coun-
cillors should be, not easily flustered, or taken by
surprise. The governor, not giving them time to
recover from the astonishment they did not feel,
addressed them in a short, but soul stirring ha-

     I am extremely sorry, that I have not the advan-
tages of Livy, Thucydides, Plutarch and others of my
predecessors, who were furnished as I am told, with
the speeches of all their great emperors, generals,
and orators, taken down in short hand, by the most
accurate stenographers of the time; whereby they
were enabled wonderfully to enrich their histories,
and delight their readers with sublime strains of elo-
qence. Not having such important auxiliaries, I can-
not possibly pronounce, what was the tenor of gover-
nor Stuyvesant's speech. Whether he with maiden
coyness hinted to his hearers that "there was a speck
of war in the horison;" -- that it would be necessary
to resort to the "unprofitable trial of which could
do each other the most harm," -- or any other deli-
cate construction of language, whereby the odious
subject of war, is handled so fastidiously and
modestly by modern statesmen; as a gentleman
volunteer handles his filthy salt-petre weapons with
gloves, lest he should soil his dainty fingers.

     I am bold however to say, from the tenor of Pe-
ter Stuyvesant's character, that he did not wrap his
rugged subject in silks and ermines, and other sick-
ly trickeries of phrase; but spoke forth, like a man
of nerve and vigour, who scorned to shrink in
words, from those dangers which he stood ready to
encounter in very deed. This much is certain, that
he concluded by announcing his determination of
leading on his troops in person, and routing these
costard-monger Swedes, from their usurped quar-
ters at Fort Casimer. To this hardy resolution,
such of his council as were awake, gave their usual
signal of concurrence, and as to the rest, who had
fallen asleep about the middle of the harangue (their
"usual custom in the afternoon") -- they made not
the least objection.

     And now was seen in the fair city of New Am-
sterdam, a prodigious bustle and preparation for
iron war. Recruiting parties marched hither and
thither, trailing long standards in the mud, with
which as at the present day the streets were benevo-
lently covered, for the benefit of those unfortunate
wights who are aggrieved with corns. Thus did
they lustily call upon and invite all the scrubs, the
runagates and the tatterdemalions of the Manhattoes
and its vicinity, who had any ambition of six pence
a day, and immortal fame into the bargain, to en-
list in the cause of glory. For I would have you
note that your warlike heroes who trudge in the
rear of conquerors, are generally of that illustrious
class of gentlemen, who are equal candidates for the
army or the bridewell -- the halberts or the whip-
ping post -- for whom dame fortune has cast an even
die whether they shall make their exit by the sword
or the halter -- and whose deaths shall, at all events,
be a lofty example to their countrymen.

     But notwithstanding all this martial rout and
invitation, the ranks of honour were but scantily
supplied; so averse were the peaceful burghers of
New Amsterdam to enlist in foreign broils, or stir
beyond that home, which rounded all their earthly
ideas. Upon beholding this, the great Peter whose
noble heart was all on fire with war and sweet re-
venge, determined to wait no longer for the tardy
assistance of these oily citizens, but to muster up
his merry men of the Hudson; who, brought up
among woods and wilds and savage beasts, like our
yeomen of Kentucky, delighted in nothing so much
as desperate adventures and perilous expeditions
through the wilderness. Thus resolving, he order-
ed his trusty squire Antony Van Corlear to have his
state galley prepared and duly victualled; which be-
ing faithfully performed he attended public service
at the great church of St. Nicholas, like a true
and pious governor, and then leaving peremp-
tory orders with his council to have the chivalry
of the Manhattoes marshalled out and appoint-
ed against his return, departed upon his recruiting
voyage, up the waters of the Hudson.


     Containing Peter Stuyvesant's voyage up the Hud-
son, and the wonders and delights of that re-
nowned river

     Now did the soft breezes of the south, steal
sweetly over the beauteous face of nature, tempering
the panting heats of summer into genial and prolific
warmth: when that miracle of hardihood and chi-
valric virtue, the dauntless Peter Stuyvesant, spread
his canvass to the wind, and departed from the fair
island of Manna-hata. The galley in which he em-
barked was sumptuously adorned with pendants and
streamers of gorgeous dyes, which fluttered gaily
in the wind, or drooped their ends into the bosom of
the stream. The bow and poop of this majestic
vessel were gallantly bedight, after the rarest dutch
fashion, with naked figures of little pursy cupids
with periwigs on their heads, and bearing in their
hands garlands of flowers, the like of which are
not to be found in any book of botany; being the
matchless flowers which flourished in the golden
age, and exist no longer, unless it be in the imagina-
tions of ingenious carvers of wood and discolourers
of canvass.

     Thus rarely decorated, in style befitting the state
of the puissant potentate of the Manhattoes, did
the galley of Peter Stuyvesant launch forth upon the
bosom of the lordly Hudson; which as it rolled its
broad waves to the occan, seemed to pause for a
while, and swell with pride, as if conscious of the
illustrious burthen it sustained.

     But trust me gentlefolk, far other was the scene
presented to the contemplation of the crew, from
that which may be witnessed at this degenerate day.
Wildness and savage majesty reigned on the bor-
ders of this mighty river -- the hand of cultivation
had not as yet laid low the dark forests, and tamed
the features of the landscape -- nor had the frequent
sail of commerce yet broken in upon the pro-
found and awful solitude of ages. Here and there
might be seen a rude wigwam perched among the
cliffs of the mountains, with its curling column of
smoke mounting in the transparent atmosphere --
but so loftily situated that the whoopings of the sa-
vage children, gambolling on the margin of the
dizzy heights, fell almost as faintly on the ear, as do
the notes of the lark, when lost in the azure vault
of heaven. Now and then from the beetling brow
of some rocky precipice, the wild deer would look
timidly down upon the splendid pageant as it passed
below; and then tossing his branching antlers in the
air, would bound away into the thickets of the

     Through such scenes did the stately vessel of
Peter Stuyvesant pass. Now did they skirt the
bases of the rocky heights of Jersey, which spring
up like everlasting walls, reaching from the waves
unto the heavens; and were fashioned, if tradition
may be believed, in times long past, by the mighty
spirit Manetho, to protect his favourite abodes
from the unhallowed eyes of mortals. Now did
they career it gaily across the vast expanse of
Tappan bay, whose wide extended shores present
a vast variety of delectable scenery -- here the bold
promontory, crowned with embowering trees ad-
vancing into the bay -- there the long woodland
slope, sweeping up from the shore in rich luxuriance,
and terminating in the rude upland precipice --
while at a distance a long waving line of rocky
heights, threw their gigantic shades across the
water. Now would they pass where some modest
little interval, opening among these stupendous
scenes, yet retreating as it were for protection into
the embraces of the neighbouring mountains, dis-
played a rural paradise, fraught with sweet and pas-
toral beauties; the velvet tufted lawn -- the bushy
copse -- the tinkling rivulet, stealing through the
fresh and vivid verdure -- on whose banks was situ-
ated some little Indian village, or peradventure,
the rude cabin of some solitary hunter.

     The different periods of the revolving day
seemed each with cunning magic, to diffuse a dif-
ferent charm over the scene. Now would the
jovial sun break gloriously from the east, blazing
from the summits of the eastern hills and sparkling
the landscape with a thousand dewy gems; while
along the borders of the river were seen heavy
masses of mist, which like midnight caitiffs, dis-
turbed at his approach, made a sluggish retreat,
rolling in sullen reluctance up the mountains. At
such times all was brightness and life and gaiety --
the atmosphere seemed of an indescribable pureness
and transparency -- the birds broke forth in wanton
madrigals, and the freshening breezes wafted the
vessel merrily on her course. But when the sun
sunk amid a flood of glory in the west, mantling
the heavens and the earth with a thousand gor-
geous dyes -- then all was calm and silent and
magnificent. The late swelling sail hung lifelessly
against the mast -- the simple seaman with folded
arms leaned against the shrouds, lost in that invo-
luntary musing which the sober grandeur of nature
commands in the rudest of her children. The vast
bosom of the Hudson was like an unruffled mirror,
reflecting the golden splendour of the heavens,
excepting that now and then a bark canoe would
steal across its surface, filled with painted savages,
whose gay feathers glared brightly, as perchance a
lingering ray of the setting sun, gleamed upon
them from the western mountains.

     But when the fairy hour of twilight spread
its magic mists around, then did the face of nature
assume a thousand fugitive charms, which to the
worthy heart that seeks enjoyment in the glorious
works of its maker, are inexpressibly captivating.
The mellow dubious light that prevailed, just
served to tinge with illusive colours, the softened
features of the scenery. The deceived but delight-
ed eye sought vainly to discern in the broad masses
of shade, the separating line between the land and
water; or to distinguish the fading objects that
seemed sinking into chaos. Now did the busy
fancy supply the feebleness of vision, producing
with industrious craft a fairy creation of her own.
Under her plastic wand the barren rocks frowned
upon the watery waste, in the semblance of lofty
towers and high embattled castles -- trees assumed
the direful forms of mighty giants, and the inacces-
sible summits of the mountains seemed peopled
with a thousand shadowy beings.

     Now broke forth from the shores the notes of
an innumerable variety of insects, who filled the
air with a strange but not inharmonious concert --
while ever and anon was heard the melancholy
plaint of the Whip-poor-will, who, perched on
some lone tree, wearied the ear of night with his
incessant moanings. The mind, soothed into a
hallowed melancholy by the solemn mystery of the
scene, listened with pensive stillness to catch and
distinguish each sound, that vaguely echoed from
the shore -- now and then startled perchance by the
whoop of some straggling savage, or the dreary
howl of some caitiff wolf, stealing forth upon his
nightly prowlings.

     Thus happily did they pursue their course,
until they entered upon those awful defiles deno-
minated THE HIGHLANDS, where it would seem
that the gigantic Titans had erst waged their im-
pious war with heaven, piling up cliffs on cliffs, and
hurling vast masses of rock in wild confusion.
But in sooth very different is the history of these
cloud-capt mountains. -- These in ancient days, be-
fore the Hudson poured his waters from the lakes,
formed one vast prison, within whose rocky bosom
the omnipotent Manetho confined the rebellious
spirits who repined at his controul. Here, bound in
adamantine chains, or jammed in rifted pines, or
crushed by ponderous rocks, they groaned for many
an age. -- At length the lordly Hudson, in his irre-
sistible career towards the ocean, burst open their
prison house, rolling his tide triumphantly through
its stupendous ruins.

     Still however do many of them lurk about their
old abodes; and these it is, according to venerable
legends, that cause the echoes which resound
throughout these awful solitudes; which are
nothing but their angry clamours when any noise
disturbs the profoundness of their repose. -- But
when the elements are agitated by tempest, when
the winds are up and the thunder rolls, then horri-
ble is the yelling and howling of these troubled
spirits -- making the mountains to rebellow with
their hideous uproar; for at such times it is said,
they think the great Manetho is returning once
more to plunge them in gloomy caverns and renew
their intolerable captivity.

     But all these fair and glorious scenes were lost
upon the gallant Stuyvesant; naught occupied his
active mind but thoughts of iron war, and proud
anticipations of hardy deeds of arms. Neither did
his honest crew trouble their vacant minds with
any romantic speculations of the kind. The pilot
at the helm quietly smoked his pipe, thinking of
nothing either past present or to come -- those of
his comrades who were not industriously snoring
under the hatches, were listening with open mouths
to Antony Van Corlear; who, seated on the wind-
lass, was relating to them the marvellous history of
those myriads of fire flies, that sparkled like gems
and spangles upon the dusky robe of night. These,
according to tradition, were originally a race of
pestilent sempiternous beldames, who peopled these
parts long before the memory of man; being of
that abominated race emphatically called brim-
and who for their innumerable sins against
the children of men, and to furnish an awful warn-
ing to the beauteous sex, were doomed to infest the
earth in the shape of these threatening and terrible
little bugs; enduring the internal torments of that
fire, which they formerly carried in their hearts
and breathed forth in their words; but now are
sentenced to bear about forever -- in their tails!

     And now am I going to tell a fact, which I
doubt me much my readers will hesitate to believe;
but if they do, they are welcome not to believe a word
in this whole history, for nothing which it contains
is more true. It must be known then that the nose
of Antony the trumpeter was of a very lusty size,
strutting boldly from his countenance like a moun-
tain of Golconda; being sumptuously bedecked
with rubies and other precious stones -- the true re-
galia of a king of good fellows, which jolly Bacchus
grants to all who bouse it heartily at the flaggon.
Now thus it happened, that bright and early in the
morning, the good Antony having washed his bur-
ley visage, was leaning over the quarter railing of
the galley, contemplating it in the glassy wave be-
low -- Just at this moment the illustrious sun, break-
ing in all his splendour from behind one of the high
bluffs of the Highlands, did dart one of his most
potent beams full upon the refulgent nose of the
sounder of brass -- the reflection of which shot
straightway down, hissing hot, into the water, and
killed a mighty sturgeon that was sporting beside
the vessel! This huge monster being with infinite
labour hoisted on board, furnished a luxurious re-
past to all the crew, being accounted of excellent
flavour, excepting about the wound, where it smack-
ed a little of brimstone -- and this, on my veracity,
was the first time that ever sturgeon was eaten in
these parts, by christian people. [9]

     When this astonishing miracle came to be made
known to Peter Stuyvesant, and that he tasted of
the unknown fish, he, as may well be supposed,
marvelled exceedingly; and as a monument there-
of, he gave the name of Anthony's Nose to a stout
promontory in the neighbourhood -- and it has con-
tinued to be called Anthony's nose ever since that

     But hold -- Whether am I wandering? -- By the
mass, if I attempt to accompany the good Peter Stuy-
vesant on this voyage, I shall never make an end,
for never was there a voyage so fraught with mar-
vellous incidents, nor a river so abounding with
transcendent beauties, worthy of being severally re-
corded. Even now I have it on the point of my
pen to relate, how his crew were most horribly
frightened, on going on shore above the highlands,
by a gang of merry roystering devils, frisking and
curvetting on a huge flat rock, which projected into
the river -- and which is called the Duyvel's Dans-
to this very day -- But no! Diedrich Knick-
erbocker -- it becomes thee not to idle thus in thy
historic way-faring.

     Recollect that while dwelling with the fond gar-
rullity of age, over these fairy scenes, endeared to
thee, by the recollections of thy youth, and the charms
of a thousand legendary tales which beguiled the
simple ear of thy childhood; recollect that thou art
trifling with those fleeting moments which should
be devoted to loftier themes. -- Is not time -- relent-
less time! -- shaking with palsied hand, his almost
exhausted hour glass before thee? -- hasten then to
pursue thy weary task, lest the last sands be run,
ere thou hast finished thy renowned history of the

     Let us then commit the dauntless Peter, his
brave galley and his loyal crew, to the protection of
the blessed St. Nicholas; who I have no doubt will
prosper him in his voyage, while we await his re-
turn at the great city of New Amsterdam.


  [9] Domine Hans Megapolensis, treating of the country about
Albany in a letter which was written some time after the settle-
ment thereof, says. "There is in the river, great plenty of Stur-
geon, which we christians do not make use of; but the Indians
eate them greedilie."


     Describing the powerful army that assembled at the
city of New Amsterdam -- together with the in-
terview between Peter the Headstrong, and gene-
ral Von Poffenburgh, and Peter's sentiments
touching unfortunate great men

     While thus the enterprizing Peter was coast-
ing, with flowing sail up the shores of the lordly
Hudson, and arousing all the phlegmatic little dutch
settlements upon its borders, a great and puissant
concourse of warriors was assembling at the city of
New Amsterdam. And here that most invaluable
fragment of antiquity, the Stuyvesant manuscript,
is more than commonly particular; by which means
I am enabled to record the illustrious host that en-
camped themselves in the public square, in front
of the fort, at present denominated the Bowling

     In the centre then, was pitched the tent of the
men of battle of the Manhattoes, who being the
inmates of the metropolis, composed the life guards
of the governor. These were commanded by the
valiant Stoffel Brinkerhoff, who whilome had ac-
quired such immortal fame at Oyster Bay -- they
displayed as a standard, a mighty beaver rampant
on a field of orange; being the arms of the pro
vince, and denoting the persevering industry, and
the amphibious origin of the valiant Nederlanders. [10]

     Then might be seen on their right hand, the
vassals of that renowned Mynheer, Michael Paw,
who lorded it over the fair regions of ancient Pavo-
nia, and the lands away south, even unto the Nave-
sink mountains,‡ and was moreover patroon of
Gibbet Island. His standard was borne by his
trusty squire, Cornelius Van Vorst; consisting of
a huge oyster recumbent upon a sea-green field;
being the armorial bearings of his favourite metro-
polis, Communipaw. He brought to the camp a
stout force of warriors, heavily armed, being each
clad in ten pair of linsey woolsey breeches, and
overshadowed by broad brimmed beavers, with
short pipes twisted in their hatbands. These were
the men who vegetated in the mud along the shores
of Pavonia; being of the race of genuine copper-
heads, and were fabled to have sprung from oysters.

     At a little distance was encamped the tribe of
warriors who came from the neighbourhood of
Hell-gate. These were commanded by the Suy
Dams, and the Van Dams, most incontinent hard
swearers, as their names betoken -- they were terri-
ble looking fellows, clad in broad skirted gaberdines,
of that curious coloured cloth, called thunder and
lightning -- and bore as a standard three Devil's-
darning-needles, volant, in a flame coloured field.

     Hard by was the tent of the men of battle from
the marshy borders of the Wael-bogtig,11 and the
country thereabouts -- these were of a sour aspect,
by reason that they lived on crabs which abound in
these parts. They were the first institutors of that
honourable order of knighthood, called Fly market
, and if tradition speak true, did likewise
introduce the far-famed step in dancing, called
"double trouble." They were commanded by the
fearless Jacobus Varra Vanger, and had moreover
a jolly band of Brooklyn ferry-men, who performed
a brave concerto on conch shells.

     But I refrain from pursuing this minute descrip-
tion, which goes on to describe the warriors of
Bloemen dael, and Wee-hawk, and Hoboken, and
sundry other places, well known in history and song --
for now does the sound of martial music alarm the
people of New Amsterdam, sounding afar from
beyond the walls of the city. But this alarm was
in a little while relieved, for lo, from the midst of
a vast cloud of dust, they recognized the brimstone
coloured breeches, and splendid silver leg of Peter
Stuyvesant, glaring in the sun beams; and beheld
him approaching at the head of a formidable army,
which he had mustered along the banks of the Hud-
son. And here the excellent, but anonymous writer
of the Stuyvesant manuscript breaks out into a brave
and glorious description of the forces, as they de-
filed through the principal gate of the city, that
stood by the head of wall street.

     First of all came the Van Bummels who inhabit
the pleasant borders of the Bronx -- These were
short fat men, wearing exceeding large trunk
breeches, and are renowned for feats of the
trencher -- they were the first inventors of Sup-
pawn or Mush and milk -- Close in their rear
marched the Van Vlotens of Kaats kill, most hor-
rible quaffers of new cyder, and arrant braggarts in
their liquor -- After them came the famous Van
Pelts of Esopus, dextrous horsemen, mounted upon
goodly switch tailed steeds of the Esopus breed --
these were mighty hunters of minks and musk rats,
whence came the word Peltry -- Then the Van
Nests of Kinderhook, valiant robbers of birds nests,
as their name denotes; to these if report may be
believed, are we indebted for the invention of slap
jacks, or buck-wheat cakes. -- Then the Van Grolls
of Anthony's Nose, who carried their liquor in
fair round little pottles, by reason they could not
bouse it out of their canteens, having such rare long
noses. -- Then the Gardeniers of Hudson and there-
abouts, distinguished by many triumphant feats, such
as robbing water melon patches, smoking rabbits
out of their holes and the like; and by being great
lovers of roasted pigs tails; these were the ancestors
of the renowned congress man of that name. -- Then
the Van Hoesens of Sing-Sing, great choristers and
players upon the jews harp; these marched two
and two, singing the great song of St. Nicholas. --
Then the Counhovens, of Sleepy Hollow, these
gave birth to a jolly race of publicans, who first
discovered the magic artifice of conjuring a quart
of wine into a pint bottle. -- Then the Van Court-
landts who lived on the wild banks of the Croton,
and were great killers of wild ducks, being much
spoken of for their skill in shooting with the long
bow. -- Then the Bunschotens of Nyack and Kakiat
who were the first that did ever kick with the left
foot; they were gallant bush-whackers and hunters
of racoons by moon-light. -- Then the Van Winkles
of Haerlem, potent suckers of eggs, and noted for
running of horses and running up of scores at taverns;
they were the first that ever winked with both eyes
at once. -- Lastly came the Knickerbockers of the
great town of Scaghtikoke, where the folk lay stones
upon the houses in windy weather, lest they should
be blown away. These derive their name, as some
say, from Knicker to shake, and Beker a goblet, in-
dicating thereby that they were sturdy toss pots of
yore; but in truth it was derived from Knicker to
nod, and Boeken books; plainly meaning that they
were great nodders or dozers over books -- from
them did descend the writer of this History.

     Such was the legion of sturdy bush beaters that
poured into the grand gate of New Amsterdam;
the Stuyvesant manuscript indeed speaks of many
more, whose names I omit to mention, seeing that
it behoves me to hasten to matters of greater
moment. Nothing could surpass the joy and mar-
tial pride of the lion hearted Peter as he reviewed
this mighty host of warriors, and he determined no
longer to defer the gratification of his much wished
for revenge, upon the scoundrel Swedes at Fort

     But before I hasten on to record those un-
matchable events, which will be found in the sequel
of this renowned history, let me pause to notice
the fate of Jacobus Von Poffenburgh, the discom-
fited commander in chief of the armies of the New
Netherlands. Such is the inherent uncharitableness
of human nature, that scarcely did the news become
public of his deplorable discomfiture at Fort Casi-
mer; than a thousand scurvey rumours were set afloat
in New Amsterdam, wherein it was insinuated,
that he had in reality a treacherous understanding
with the Swedish commander; that he had long
been in the practice of privately communicating with
the Swedes, together with divers hints about "secret
service money" -- To all which deadly charges
I do not give a jot more credit -- than I think they

     Certain it is, that the general vindicated his
character by the most vehement oaths and protesta-
tions, and put every man out of the ranks of honour
who dared to doubt his integrity. Moreover on
returning to New Amsterdam, he paraded up and
down the streets with a crew of hard swearers at
his heels -- sturdy bottle companions, whom he
gorged and fattened, and who were ready to bolster
him through all the courts of justice -- Heroes of
his own kidney, fierce whiskered, broad shouldered,
colbrand looking swaggerers -- not one of whom but
looked as if he could eat up an ox, and pick his
teeth with the horns. These life guard men quar-
reled all his quarrels, were ready to fight all his
battles, and scowled at every man that turned up
his nose at the general, as though they would de-
vour him alive. Their conversation was inter-
spersed with oaths like minute guns, and every
bombastic rodomontade was rounded off by a thun-
dering execration, like a patriotic toast honoured
with a discharge of artillery.

     All these valorous vapourings had a considerable
effect in convincing certain profound sages, many of
whom began to think the general a hero of most
unutterable loftiness and magnanimity of soul,
particularly as he was continually protesting on the
honour of a soldier
-- a marvelously high sounding
asserveration. Nay one of the members of the
council went so far as to propose they should im-
mortalize him by an imperishable statue of plaster
of Paris!

     But the vigilant Peter the Headstrong was not
thus to be deceived -- Sending privately for the com-
mander in chief of all the armies, and having heard
all his story, garnished with the customary pious
oaths, protestations and ejaculations -- "Harkee,
Metgelsel," cried he, "though by your own account
you are the most brave, upright and honourable
man in the whole province, yet do you lie under
the misfortune of being most damnably traduced,
and immeasureably despised. Now though it is
certainly hard to punish a man for his misfortunes,
and though it is very possible you are totally inno-
cent of the crimes laid to your charge, yet as heaven,
at present, doubtless for some wise purpose, sees
fit to withhold all proofs of your innocence, far be
it from me to counteract its sovereign will. Beside,
I cannot consent to venture my armies with a com-
mander whom they despise, or to trust the welfare
of my people to a champion whom they distrust.
Retire therefore, my friend, from the irksome toils
and cares of public life, with this comforting reflec-
tion -- that if you are guilty, you are but enjoying
your just reward -- and if you are innocent, that you
are not the first great and good man, who has most
wrongfully been slandered and maltreated in this
wicked world -- doubtless to be better treated in a
better world, where there shall be neither error,
calumny nor persecution. -- In the mean time let
me never see your face again, for I have a horrible
antipathy to the countenances of unfortunate great
men like yourself."


  [10] This was likewise the great seal of the New Netherlands, as
may still be seen in ancient records.

   mention made of this illustrious Patroon in another manuscript,
which says: "De Heer (or the Squire) Michael Paw, a dutch
subject, about 10th Aug. 1630, by deed purchased Staten Island.
N. B. The same Michael Paw had what the dutch call a colonie
at Pavonia, on the Jersey shore opposite New York, and his over-
seer in 1636, was named Corns. Van Vorst -- a person of same
name in 1769, owned Pawles Hook, and a large farm at Pavonia,
and is a lineal descendant from Van Vorst."

  ‡ So called from the Navesink tribe of Indians that inhabited
these parts -- at present they are erroneously denominated the Never-
sink, or Neversunk mountains.

  [11] I. E. The Winding Bay, named from the winding of its
shores. This has since been corrupted by the vulgar into the Wall
, and is the basin which shelters our infant navy.


     In which the Author discourses very ingenuously
of himself. -- After which is to be found much
interesting history about Peter the Headstrong
and his followers

     As my readers and myself, are about entering
on as many perils and difficulties, as ever a con-
federacy of meddlesome knights-errant wilfully
ran their heads into; it is meet that like those
hardy adventurers, we should join hands, bury all
differences, and swear to stand by one another, in
weal or woe, to the end of the enterprize. My
readers must doubtless perceive, how completely I
have altered my tone and deportment, since we
first set out together. I warrant they then thought
me a crabbed, cynical, impertinent little son of a
Dutchman; for I never gave them a civil word,
nor so much as touched my beaver, when I had oc-
casion to address them. But as we jogged along
together, in the high-road of my history, I gradual-
ly began to relax, to grow more courteous, and
occasionally to enter into familiar discourse, until
at length I came to conceive a most social, com-
panionable kind of regard for them. This is just
my way -- I am always a little cold and reserved at
first, particularly to people about whom I neither
know nor care the value of a brass farthing or a Ver-
mont bank note, and am only to be completely won
by long intimacy.

     Besides; why should I have been sociable
to the host of how-d'ye-do acquaintances, who
flocked around me at my first appearance? They
were merely attracted by a new face; many of
them only stared me full in the title page, and
then walked off without saying a word; while
others lingered yawningly through the preface, and
having gratified their short-lived curiosity, soon
dropped off one by one. -- But more especially to
try their mettle, I had recourse to an expedient,
similar to one which we are told was used, by that
peerless flower of chivalry, king Arthur; who
before he admitted any knight to his intimacy, first
required that he should shew himself superior to
danger or hardships, by encountering unheard of
mishaps, slaying some dozen giants, vanquishing
wicked enchanters, not to say a word of dwarfs,
hyppogriffs and fiery dragons. On a similar prin-
ciple I cunningly led my readers, at the first sally,
into two or three knotty chapters, where they were
most woefully belaboured and buffetted, by a host
of pagan philosophers and infidel writers. It did
my midriff good, by reason of the excessive laugh-
ter into which I was thrown at seeing the utter
confusion and dismay of my valiant cavaliers -- some
dropped down dead (asleep) on the field; others
threw down my book in the middle of the first
chapter, took to their heels, and never ceased
scampering until they had fairly run it out of sight;
when they stopped to take breath, to tell their
friends what troubles they had undergone, and to
warn all others from venturing on so thankless an
expedition. Every page thinned my ranks more
and more; and of the mighty host that first set
out, but a comparatively few made shift to survive,
in exceedingly battered condition, through the five
introductory chapters.

     What then! would you have had me take such
sun shine, faint hearted recreants to my bosom, at
our first acquaintance? No -- no. I reserved my
friendship for those who deserved it; for those who
undauntedly bore me company, in despite of diffi-
culties, dangers and fatigues. And now as to
those who adhere to me at present, I take them af-
fectionately by the hand. -- Worthy and thrice be-
loved readers! brave and well tried comrades!
who have faithfully followed my footsteps through
all my wanderings -- I salute you from my heart --
I pledge myself to stand by you to the last; and to
conduct you, (so heaven speed this trusty weapon
which I now hold between my fingers,) trium-
phantly to the end of this our stupenduous under-

     But hark! while we are thus talking, the city
of New Amsterdam is in a constant bustle. The
gallant host of warriors encamped in the bowling
green are striking their tents; the brazen trumpet
of Antony Van Corlear makes the welkin to resound
with portentous clangour -- the drums beat -- the
standards of the Manhattoes, of Hell-gate and of
Michael Paw wave proudly in the air. And now
behold where the mariners are busily prepared,
hoisting the sails of yon top sail schooner, and those
two clump built Albany sloops, which are to waft
the army of the Nederlanders to gather immortal
laurels on the Delaware!

     The entire population of the city, man woman and
child, turned out to behold the chivalry of New Am-
sterdam, as it paraded the streets previous to em-
barkation. Many a dirty pocket handkerchief was
waved out of the windows; many a fair nose was
blown in melodious sorrow, on the mournful occa-
sion. The grief of the fair dames and beauteous
damsels of Grenada, could not have been more vo-
ciferous on the banishment of the gallant tribe of
Abencerrages, than was that of the kind hearted
Yfrouws of New Amsterdam, on the departure of
their intrepid warriors. Every love sick maiden
fondly crammed the pockets of her hero with ginger-
bread and dough-nuts -- many a copper ring was ex-
changed and crooked sixpence broken, in pledge of
eternal constancy -- and there remain extant to this
day, some love verses written on that occasion, suf-
ficiently crabbed and incomprehensible to confound
the whole universe.

     But it was a moving sight to see the buxom
lasses, how they hung about the doughty Antony
Van Corlear -- for he was a jolly, rosy faced, lusty
bachelor, and withal a great royster, fond of his
joke and a desperate rogue among the women. Fain
would they have kept him to comfort them while
the army was away; for besides what I have said
of him, it is no more than justice to add, that he was
a kind hearted soul, noted for his benevolent atten-
tions in comforting disconsolate wives during the
absence of their husbands -- and this made him to
be very much regarded by the honest burghers of
the city. But nothing could keep the valiant An-
tony from following the heels of the old governor,
whom he loved as he did his very soul -- so embracing
all the young vrouws and giving every one of them
that had good teeth and a clean mouth, a dozen
hearty smacks -- he departed loaded with their kind

     Nor was the departure of the gallant Peter
among the least causes of public distress. Though
the old governor was by no means indulgent to the
follies and waywardness of his subjects; and had
turned over a complete "new leaf," from that which
was presented in the days of William the Testy,
yet some how or another he had become strangely
popular among the people. There is something so
captivating in personal bravery, that, with the com-
mon mass of mankind, it takes the lead of most
other merits. The simple folk of New Amster-
dam looked upon Peter Stuyvesant, as a prodigy
of valour. His wooden leg, that trophy of his mar-
tial encounters, was regarded with reverence and
admiration. Every old burgher had a budget of
miraculous stories to tell about the exploits of Hard-
koppig Piet, wherewith he regaled his children,
of a long winter night, and on which he dwelt with
as much delight and exaggeration, as do our honest
country yeomen on the hardy adventures of old ge-
neral Putnam (or as he is familiarly termed Old
,) during our glorious revolution -- Not an indi-
vidual but verily believed the old governor was a
match for Belzebub himself; and there was even
a story told with great mystery, and under the rose,
of his having shot the devil with a silver bullet one
dark stormy night, as he was sailing in a canoe
through Hell-gate -- But this I do not record as being
an absolute fact -- perish the man, who would let
fall a drop that should discolour the pure stream of

     Certain it is, not an old woman in New Amster-
dam, but considered Peter Stuyvesant as a tower of
strength, and rested satisfied, that the public wel-
fare was secure as long as he was in the city. It
is not surprising then that they looked upon his de-
parture as a sore affliction. With heavy hearts
they draggled at the heels of his troop, as they
marched down to the river side to embark. The
governor from the stern of his schooner, gave a
short, but truly patriarchal address to his citi-
zens; wherein he recommended them to comport
like loyal and peaceful subjects -- to go to church
regularly on sundays, and to mind their business
all the week besides -- That the women should be
dutiful and affectionate to their husbands -- looking
after no bodies concerns but their own: eschewing
all gossippings, and morning gaddings -- and carry-
ing short tongues and long petticoats. That the
men should abstain from ward meetings and porter
houses, entrusting the cares of government to
the officers appointed to support them -- staying
home, like good citizens, making money for them-
selves, and getting children for the benefit of their
country. That the burgomasters should look well
to the public interest -- not oppressing the poor, nor
indulging the rich -- not tasking their sagacity to
devise new laws, but faithfully enforcing those
which were already made -- rather bending their at-
tention to prevent evil than to punish it; ever re-
collecting that civil magistrates should consider
themselves more as guardians of public morals,
than rat catchers employed to entrap public delin-
quents. Finally, he exhorted them, one and all,
high and low, rich and poor, to conduct themselves
as well as they could; assuring them that if they
faithfully and conscientiously complied with this
golden rule there was no danger but that they
would all conduct themselves well enough. -- This
done he gave them a paternal benediction; the
sturdy Antony sounded a most loving farewell
with his trumpet, the jolly crews put up a lusty
shout of triumph, and the invincible armada swept
off proudly down the bay.

     The good people of New Amsterdam crowd-
ed down to the Battery -- that blest resort, from
whence so many a tender prayer has been wafted,
so many a fair hand waved, so many a tearful look
been cast by lovesick damsel, after the lessening
bark, which bore her adventurous swain to dis-
tant climes! -- Here the populace watched with
straining eyes the gallant squadron, as it slowly
floated down the bay, and when the intervening
land at the Narrows shut it from their sight,
gradually dispersed with silent tongues and down-
cast countenances.

     A heavy gloom hung over the late bustling
city -- The honest burghers smoked their pipes in
profound thoughtfulness, casting many a wistful
look to the weather cock, on the church of St. Ni-
cholas, and all the old women, having no longer
the presence of Hard-koppig Piet to hearten them,
gathered their children home, and barricadoed
the doors and windows every evening at sun down.

     In the mean while the armada of the sturdy
Peter proceeded prosperously on its voyage, and
after encountering about as many storms and water
spouts and whales and other horrors and pheno-
mena, as generally befall adventurous landsmen,
in perilous voyages of the kind; after undergoing
a severe scouring from that deplorable and unpitied
malady called sea sickness; and suffering from a
little touch of constipation or dispepsy, which was
cured by a box of Anderson's pills, the whole
squadron arrived safely in the Delaware.

     Without so much as dropping anchor and
giving his wearied ships time to breathe after la-
bouring so long in the ocean, the intrepid Peter
pursued his course up the Delaware, and made a
sudden appearance before Fort Casimer. Having
summoned the astonished garrison by a terrific
blast from the trumpet of the long winded Van
Corlear, he demanded, in a tone of thunder, an in-
stant surrender of the fort. To this demand Suen
Scutz, the wind dried commandant, replied in a
shrill, whiffling voice, which by reason of his ex-
treme spareness, sounded like the wind whistling
through a broken bellows -- "that he had no very
strong reasons for refusing, except that the demand
was particularly disagreeable, as he had been order-
ed to maintain his post to the last extremity." He
requested time therefore, to consult with governor
Risingh, and proposed a truce for that purpose

     The choleric Peter, indignant at having his
rightful fort so treacherously taken from him, and
thus pertinaceously withheld; refused the propos-
ed armistice, and swore by the pipe of St. Nicholas,
which like the sacred fire was never extinguished,
that unless the fort was surrendered in ten minutes,
he would incontinently storm the works, make all
the garrison run the gauntlet, and split their scoun-
drel of a commander, like a pickled shad. To give
this menace the greater effect, he drew forth his
trusty sword, and shook it at them with such a
fierce and vigorous motion, that doubtless, if it had
not been exceedingly rusty, it would have lighten-
ed terror into the eyes and hearts of the enemy.
He then ordered his men to bring a broadside to
bear upon the fort, consisting of two swivels, three
muskets, a long duck fowling piece and two brace
of horse pistols.

     In the mean time the sturdy Van Corlear
marshalled all his forces, and commenced his war-
like operations. -- Distending his cheeks like a very
Boreas, he kept up a most horrific twanging of his
trumpet -- the lusty choristers of Sing-Sing broke
forth into a hideous song of battle -- the warriors of
Brooklyn and the Wael bogtig blew a potent and
astounding blast on their conch shells, all together
forming as outrageous a concerto, as though five
thousand French orchestras were displaying their
skill in a modern overture -- at the hearing of
which I warrant me not a Swede in the fortress
but felt himself literally distilling away, with pure
affright and bad music.

     Whether the formidable front of war thus sud-
denly presented, smote the garrison with sore dis-
may -- or whether tbe concluding terms of the sum-
mons, which mentioned that he should surrender
at discretion, were mistaken by Suen Scutz, who
though a Swede, was a very considerate easy tem-
pered man -- as a compliment to his discretion, I will
not take upon me to say; certain it is, he found it
impossible to resist so courteous a demand. Ac-
cordingly, in the very nick of time, just as the cabin
boy had gone after a coal of fire, to discharge the
swivels, a chamade was beat on the rampart, by the
only drum in the garrison, to the no small satisfac-
tion of both parties; who, notwithstanding their
great stomach for fighting, had full as good an in-
clination, to cat a quiet dinner, as to exchange black
eyes and bloody noses.

     Thus did this impregnable fortress, once more
return to the domination of their high mightinesses;
Scutz, and his garrison of twenty men, were allowed
to march out with the honours of war, and the vic-
torious Peter, who was as generous as brave, per-
mitted them to keep possession of all their arms and
ammunition -- the same on inspection being found
totally unfit for service, having long rusted in the ma-
gazine of the fortress, even before it was wrested by
the Swedes from the magnanimous, but windy Von
Poffenburgh. But I must not omit to mention, that
the governor was so well pleased with the services
of his faithful squire Van Corlear, in the reduction
of this great fortress, that he made him on the spot,
lord of a goodly domain in the vicinity of New Am-
sterdam -- which goes by the name of Corlear's
Hook, unto this very day. 12]

     The unexampled liberality of the valiant Stuy-
vesant, towards the Swedes, who certainly had used
his government very scurvily -- occasioned great,
surprize in the city of New Amsterdam -- nay, cer-
tain of those factious individuals, who had been
enlightened by the political meetings, that prevailed
during the days of William the Testy -- but who
had not dared to indulge their meddlesome ha-
bits, under the eye of their present ruler; now
emboldened by his absence, dared even to give
vent to their censures in the streets -- Murmurs,
equally loud with those uttered by that nation of
genuine grumblers, the British, in consequence of
the convention of Portugal; were heard in the very
council chamber of New Amsterdam; and there
is no knowing whether they would not have broken
out into downright speeches and invectives, had
not the sturdy Peter, privately sent home his walk-
ing staff, to be laid as a mace, on the table of the
council chamber, in the midst of his councillors;
who, like wise men took the hint, and forever after
held their peace.

  [12] De Vriez, makes mention in one of his voyages of Corlears
, and Corlears Plantagie, or Bouwery; and that too, at an earlier
date than the one given by Mr. Knickerbocker -- De Vriez, is no
doubt a little incorrect in this particular. Editor.


     In which is shewn the great advantage the Author
has over his reader in time of battle -- together
with divers portentous movements -- which beto-
ken that something terrible is about to happen

     "Strike while the Iron is hot," was a favourite
saying of Peter the Great, while an apprentice in a
blacksmith's shop, at Amsterdam. It is one of
those proverbial sayings, which speak a word to
the ear, but a volume to the understanding -- and
contain a world of wisdom, condensed within a
narrow compass -- Thus every art and profession
has thrown a gem of the kind, into the public stock,
enriching society by some sage maxim and pithy
apothegm drawn from its own experience; in which
is conveyed, not only the arcana of that individual
art or profession, but also the important secret of a
prosperous and happy life. "Cut your coat accor-
ding to your cloth," says the taylor -- "Stick to
your last," cries the cobler -- "Make hay while the
sun shines," says the farmer -- "Prevention is bet-
ter than cure," hints the physician -- Surely a man
has but to travel through the world, with open ears,
and by the time he is grey, he will have all the
wisdom of Solomon -- and then he has nothing to
do but to grow young again, and turn it to the best

     "Strike while the Iron is hot," was not more
invariably the saying of Peter the great, than it was
the practice of Peter the Headstrong. Like as a
mighty alderman, when at a corporation feast the
first spoonful of turtle soup salutes his palate, feels
his impatient appetite but ten fold quickened, and
redoubles his vigorous attacks upon the tureen,
while his voracious eyes, projecting from his head,
roll greedily round devouring every thing at table --
so did the mettlesome Peter Stuyvesant, feel that
intolerable hunger for martial glory, which raged
within his very bowels, inflamed by the capture of
Fort Casimer, and nothing could allay it, but the
conquest of all New Sweden. No sooner therefore
had he secured his conquest, than he stumped re-
solutely on, flushed with success, to gather fresh
laurels at Fort Christina.13

     This was the grand Swedish post, established
on a small river (or as it is termed, creek,) of the
same name, which empties into the Delaware; and
here that crafty governor Jan Risingh, like another
Charles the twelfth, commanded his subjects in

     Thus have I fairly pitted two of the most
potent chieftans that ever this country beheld,
against each other, and what will be the result of
their contest, I am equally anxious with my readers
to ascertain. This will doubtless appear a paradox
to such of them, as do not know the way in
which I write. The fact is, that as I am not en-
gaged in a work of imagination, but a faithful and
veritable history, it is not necessary, that I should
trouble my head, by anticipating its incidents and
catastrophe. On the contrary, I generally make it
a rule, not to examine the annals of the times
whereof I treat, further than exactly a page in ad-
vance of my own work; hence I am equally inter-
ested in the progress of my history, with him who
reads it, and equally unconscious, what occurrence
is next to happen. Darkness and doubt hang over
each coming chapter -- with trembling pen and anx-
ious mind I conduct my beloved native city through
the dangers and difficulties, with which it is con-
tinually surrounded; and in treating of my favourite
hero, the gallant Peter Stuyvesant, I often shrink
back with dismay, as I turn another page, lest I
should find his undaunted spirit hurrying him into
some dolorous misadventure.

     Thus am I situated at present. I have just
conducted him into the very teeth of peril -- nor can
I tell, any more than my reader, what will be the
issue of this horrid din of arms, with which our
ears are mutually assailed. It is true, I possess
one advantage over my reader, which tends mar-
velously to soothe my apprehensions -- which is, that
though I cannot save the life of my favourite hero,
nor absolutely contradict the event of a battle, (both
of which misrepresentations, though much prac-
tised by the French writers, of the present reign, I
hold to be utterly unworthy of a scrupulous his-
torian) yet I can now and then make him bestow
on his enemy a sturdy back stroke, sufficient to fell
a giant; though in honest truth he may never have
done any thing of the kind -- or I can drive his
antagonist clear round and round the field, as did
Dan Homer most falsely make that fine fellow
Hector scamper like a poltroon around the walls of
Troy; for which in my humble opinion the prince
of Poets, deserved to have his head broken -- as no
doubt he would, had those terrible fellows the
Edinburgh reviewers, existed in those days -- or if
my hero should be pushed too hard by his opponent,
I can just step in, and with one dash of my pen,
give him a hearty thwack over the sconce, that would
have cracked the scull of Hercules himself -- like a
faithful second in boxing, who when he sees his
principal down, and likely to be worsted, puts in a
sly blow, that knocks the wind out of his adversary,
and changes the whole state of the contest.

     I am aware that many conscientious readers
will be ready to cry out "foul play!" whenever I
render such assistance -- but I insist that it is one
of those little privileges, strenuously asserted and
exercised by historiographers of all ages -- and one
which has never been disputed. An historian, in
fact, is in some measure bound in honour to stand
by his hero -- the fame of the latter is entrusted to
his hands, and it is his duty to do the best by it he
can. Never was there a general, an admiral or
any other commander, who in giving an account of
any battle he had fought, did not sorely belabour
the enemy; and I have no doubt that, had my
heroes written the history of their own atchieve-
ments, they would have hit much harder blows,
than any I shall recount. Standing forth therefore,
as the guardian of their fame, it behoves me to do
them the same justice, they would have done them-
selves; and if I happen to be a little hard upon the
Swedes, I give free leave to any of their descendants,
who may write a history of the state of Delaware,
to take fair retaliation, and thump Peter Stuyve-
sant as hard as they please.

     Therefore stand by for broken heads and bloody
noses! my pen has long itched for a battle -- siege
after siege have I carried on, without blows or blood-
shed; but now I have at length got a chance, and
I vow to heaven and St. Nicholas, that, let the
chronicles of the times say what they please, neither
Sallust, Livy, Tacitus, Polybius, or any other bat-
tle monger of them all, did ever record a fiercer
fight, than that in which my valiant chieftans are
now about to engage.

     And thou, most excellent reader, who, for thy
faithful adherence to my heels, I could lodge in the
best parlour of my heart -- be not uneasy -- trust the
fate of our favourite Stuyvesant to me -- for by the
rood, come what will, I'll stick by Hard-koppig
Piet to the last; I'll make him drive about these
lossels vile as did the renowned Launcelot of the
lake, a herd of recreant cornish Knights -- and if he
does fall, let me never draw my pen to fight another
battle, in behalf of a brave man, if I don't make
these lubberly Swedes pay for it!

     No sooner had Peter Stuyvesant arrived before
fort Christina than he proceeded without delay to
entrench himself, and immediately on running his
first parallel, dispatched Antony Van Corlear, that
incomparable trumpeter, to summon the fortress to
surrender. Van Corlear was received with all due
formality, hoodwinked at the portal, and conducted
through a pestiferous smell of salt fish and onions,
to the citadel, a substantial hut built of pine logs.
His eyes were here uncovered, and he found him-
self in the august presence of governor Risingh,
who, having been accidentally likened to Charles
XII, the intelligent reader will instantly perceive,
must have been a tall, robustious, able bodied, mean
looking man, clad in a coarse blue coat with brass
buttons, a shirt which for a week, had longed in vain
for the wash-tub, a pair of foxey coloured jack
boots -- and engaged in the act of shaving his grizly
beard, at a bit of broken looking glass, with a vil-
lainous patent Brummagem razor. Antony Van
Corlear delivered in a few words, being a kind of
short hand speaker, a long message from his excel-
lency, recounting the whole history of the province,
with a recapitulation of grievances, enumeration of
claims, &c.&c. and concluding with a peremptory de-
mand of instant surrender: which done, he turned
aside, took his nose between his thumb and finger,
and blew a tremendous blast, not unlike the flourish
of a trumpet of defiance -- which it had doubtless
learned from a long and intimate neighbourhood
with that melodious instrument.

     Governor Risingh heard him through, trumpet
and all, but with infinite impatience; leaning at
times, as was his usual custom, on the pommel of
his sword, and at times twirling a huge steel watch
chain or snapping his fingers. Van Corlear having
finished he bluntly replied, that Peter Stuyvesant
and his summons might go to the D -- l, whither
he hoped to send him and his crew of raggamuffins
before supper time. Then unsheathing his brass
hilted sword, and throwing away the scabbard --
"Fore gad," quod he, "but I will not sheathe thee
again, until I make a scabbard of the smoke dried
leathern hide, of this runegate Dutchman." Then
having flung a fierce defiance in the teeth of his
adversary, by the lips of his messenger, the latter
was reconducted to the portal, with all the ceremo-
nious civility due to the trumpeter, squire and
ambassador of so great a commander, and being
again unblinded, was courteously dismissed with a
tweak of the nose, to assist him in recollecting his

     No sooner did the gallant Peter receive this
insolent reply, than he let fly a tremendous volley
of red hot, four and forty pounder execrations,
that would infallibly have battered down the fortifi-
cations and blown up the powder magazines, about
the ears of the fiery Swede, had not the ramparts
been remarkably strong, and the magazine bomb
proof. Perceiving that the works withstood this
terrific blast, and that it was utterly impossible (as
it really was in those unphilosophic days) to carry
on a war with words, he ordered his merry men all,
to prepare for immediate assault. But here a
strange murmur broke out among his troops, be-
ginning with the tribe of the Van Bummels, those
valiant trencher men of the Bronx, and spreading
from man to man, accompanied with certain muti-
nous looks and discontented murmurs. For once
in his life, and only for once, did the great Peter
turn pale, for he verily thought his warriors were
going to faulter in this hour of perilous trial, and
thus tarnish forever the fame of the province of
New Nederlands.

     But soon did he discover to his great joy, that
in this suspicion he deeply wronged this most un-
daunted army; for the cause of this agitation and
uneasiness simply was, that the hour of dinner was
at hand, and it would have almost broken the hearts
of these regular dutch warriors, to have broken in
upon the invariable routine of their habits. Beside
it was an established rule among our valiant ances-
tors, always to fight upon a full stomach, and to this
may be doubtless attributed the circumstance that
they came to be so renowned in arms.

     And now are the hearty men of the Manhattoes,
and their no less hearty comrades, all lustily engaged
under the trees, buffeting stoutly with the contents of
their wallets, and taking such affectionate embraces
of their canteens and pottles, as though they verily
believed they were to be the last. And as I foresee
we shall have hot work in a page or two, I advise
my readers to do the same, for which purpose I
will bring this chapter to a close; giving them my
word of honour that no advantage shall be taken
of this armistice, to surprise, or in any wise
molest, the honest Nederlanders, while at their vi-
gorous repast.

     Before we part however, I have one small
favour to ask of them; which is, that when I have
set both armies by the cars in the next chapter, and
am hurrying about, like a very devil, in the midst --
they will just stand a little on one side, out of harms
way -- and on no account attempt to interrupt me
by a single question or remonstrance. As the
whole spirit, hurry and sublimity of the battle will
depend on my exertions, the moment I should stop
to speak, the whole business would stand still --
wherefore I shall not be able to say a word to my
readers, throughout the whole of the next chapter,
but I promise them in the one after, I'll listen to
all they have to say, and answer any questions they
may ask.

  [13] The formidable fortress and metropolis to which Mr. Knick-
erbocker alludes, is at present a flourishing little town called Chris-
tiana, about thirty seven miles from Philadelphia, on your route to
Baltimore. -- Editor.


     Containing the most horrible battle ever recorded in
poetry or prose; with the admirable exploits of
Peter the Headstrong

     "Now had the Dutchmen snatch'd a huge re-
past," and finding themselves wonderfully encou-
raged and animated thereby, prepared to take the
field. Expectation, says a faithful matter of fact
dutch poet, whose works were unfortunately de-
stroyed in the conflagration of the Alexandrian
library -- Expectation now stood on stilts. The
world forgot to turn round, or rather stood still, that
it might witness the affray; like a fat round bellied
alderman, watching the combat of two chivalric
flies upon his jerkin. The eyes of all mankind, as
usual in such cases, were turned upon Fort Chris-
tina. The sun, like a little man in a crowd, at a
puppet shew, scampered about the heavens, popping
his head here and there, and endeavouring to get a
peep between the unmannerly clouds, that obtruded
themselves in his way. The historians filled their ink-
horns -- the poets went without their dinners, either
that they might buy paper and goose-quills, or be-
cause they could not get any thing to eat -- antiquity
scowled sulkily out of its grave, to see itself out-
done -- while even posterity stood mute, gazing in
gaping extacy of retrospection, on the eventful field!

     The immortal deities, who whilome had seen
service at the "affair" of Troy -- now mounted
their feather-bed clouds, and sailed over the plain,
or mingled among the combatants in different dis-
guises, all itching to have a finger in the pie. Jupi-
ter sent off his thunderbolt to a noted copper-
smiths, to have it furbished up for the direful
occasion. Venus, swore by her chastity she'd pa-
tronize the Swedes, and in semblance of a blear
eyed trull, paraded the battlements of Fort Chris-
tina, accompanied by Diana, as a serjeant's widow,
of cracked reputation -- The noted bully Mars, stuck
two horse pistols into his belt, shouldered a rusty
firelock, and gallantly swaggered at their elbow, as
a drunken corporal -- while Apollo trudged in their
rear, as a bandy-legged fifer, playing most villain-
ously out of tune.

     On the other side, the ox-eyed Juno, who had
won a pair of black eyes over night, in one of her
curtain lectures with old Jupiter, displayed her
haughty beauties on a baggage waggon -- Minerva,
as a brawny gin suttler, tucked up her skirts, bran-
dished her fists, and swore most heroically, in ex-
ceeding bad dutch, (having but lately studied the
language) by way of keeping up the spirits of the
soldiers; while Vulcan halted as a club-footed black-
smith, lately promoted to be a captain of militia.
All was silent horror, or bustling preparation; war
reared his horrid front, gnashed loud his iron fangs,
and shook his direful crest of bristling bayonets.

     And now the mighty chieftans marshalled out
their hosts. Here stood stout Risingh, firm as a
thousand rocks -- encrusted with stockades, and en-
trenched to the chin in mud batteries -- His artillery
consisting of two swivels and a carronade, loaded
to the muzzle, the touch holes primed, and a
whiskerd bombardier stationed at each, with lighted
match in hand, waiting the word. His valiant in-
fantry, that had never turned back upon an enemy
(having never seen any before) -- lined the breast
work in grim array, each having his mustachios
fiercely greased, and his hair pomatomed back, and
queued so stiffly, that he grinned above the ram-
parts like a grizly death's head.

     There came on the intrepid Hard-koppig Piet,
-- a second Bayard, without fear or reproach -- his
brows knit, his teeth clenched, his breath held hard,
rushing on like ten thousand bellowing bulls of
Bashan. His faithful squire Van Corlear, trudg-
ing valiantly at his heels, with his trumpet gor-
geously bedecked with red and yellow ribbands, the
remembrances of his fair mistresses at the Manhat-
toes. Then came waddling on his sturdy com-
rades, swarming like the myrmidons of Achilles.
There were the Van Wycks and the Van Dycks
and the Ten Eycks -- the Van Nesses the Van
Tassels, the Van Grolls; the Van Hoesens, the
Van Giesons, and the Van Blarcoms -- The Van
Warts, the Van Winkles, the Van Dams; the Van
Pelts, the Van Rippers, and the Van Brunts. --
There were the Van Horns, the Van Borsums,
the Van Bunschotens; the Van Gelders, the Van Ars-
dales, and the Van Bummels -- The Vander Belts,
the Vander Hoofs, the Vander Voorts, the Vander
Lyns, the Vander Pools and the Vander Spiegels.
-- There came the Hoffmans, the Hooglands, the
Hoppers, the Cloppers, the Oothouts, the Quack-
enbosses, the Roerbacks, the Garrebrantzs the On-
derdonks the Varra Vangers, the Schermerhorns,
the Brinkerhoffs, the Bontecous, the Knicker-
bockers, the Hockstrassers, the Ten Breecheses and
the Tough Breecheses, with a host more of valiant
worthies, whose names are too crabbed to be writ-
ten, or if they could be written, it would be impos-
sible for man to utter -- all fortified with a mighty
dinner, and to use the words of a great Dutch poet

-- "Brimful of wrath and cabbage!"

     For an instant the mighty Peter paused in the
midst of his career, and mounting on a rotten
stump addressed his troops in eloquent low dutch,
exhorting them to fight like duyvels, and assuring
them that if they conquered, they should get plenty
of booty -- if they fell they should be allowed the
unparalleled satisfaction, while dying, of reflecting
that it was in the service of their country -- and
after they were dead, of seeing their names inscrib-
ed in the temple of renown and handed down, in
company with all the other great men of the year,
for the admiration of posterity. -- Finally he swore
to them, on the word of a governor (and they
knew him too well to doubt it for a moment) that
if he caught any mother's son of them looking
pale, or playing craven, he'd curry his hide till he
made him run out of it like a snake in spring time. --
Then lugging out his direful snickersnee, he bran-
dished it three times over his head, ordered Van
Corlear to sound a tremendous charge, and shout-
ing the word "St. Nicholas and the Manhattoes!"
courageously dashed forwards. His warlike fol-
lowers, who had employed the interval in lighting
their pipes, instantly stuck them in their mouths,
gave a furious puff, and charged gallantly, under
cover of the smoke.

     The Swedish garrison, ordered by the cunning
Risingh not to fire until they could distinguish the
whites of their assailants' eyes, stood in horrid
silence on the covert-way; until the eager dutch-
men had half ascended the glacis. Then did they
pour into them such a tremendous volley, that the
very hills quaked around, and were terrified even
unto an incontinence of water, insomuch that cer-
tain springs burst forth from their sides, which
continue to run unto the present day. Not a
dutchman but would have bit the dust, beneath that
dreadful fire, had not the protecting Minerva kind-
ly taken care, that the Swedes should one and all,
observe their usual custom of shutting their eyes
and turning away their heads, at the moment of

     But were not the muskets levelled in vain, for
the balls, winged with unerring fate, went point
blank into a flock of wild geese, which, like geese
as they were, happened at that moment to be flying
past -- and brought down seventy dozen of them --
which furnished a luxurious supper to the conquer-
ors, being well seasoned and stuffed with onions.

     Neither was the volley useless to the musquet-
eers, for the hostile wind, commissioned by the im-
placable Juno, carried the smoke and dust full in
the faces of the dutchmen, and would inevitably
have blinded them, had their eyes been open. The
Swedes followed up their fire, by leaping the coun-
terscarp, and falling tooth and nail upon the foe,
with furious outcries. And now might be seen
prodigies of valour, of which neither history nor
song have ever recorded a parallel. Here was be-
held the sturdy Stoffel Brinkerhoff brandishing his
lusty quarter staff, like the terrible giant Blanderon
his oak tree (for he scorned to carry any other wea-
pon,) and drumming a horrific tune upon the heads of
whole squadrons of Swedes. There were the crafty
Van Courtlandts, posted at a distance, like the lit-
tle Locrian archers of yore, and plying it most po-
tently with the long bow, for which they were so
justly renowned. At another place were collected
on a rising knoll the valiant men of Sing-Sing, who
assisted marvellously in the fight, by chaunting forth
the great song of St. Nicholas. In a different part
of the field might be seen the Van Grolls of An-
thony's nose; but they were horribly perplexed in
a defile between two little hills, by reason of the
length of their noses. There were the Van Bunscho-
tens of Nyack and Kakiat, so renowned for kicking
with the left foot, but their skill availed them little
at present, being short of wind in consequence of
the hearty dinner they had eaten -- and they would
irretrievably have been put to rout, had they not
been reinforced by a gallant corps of Voltigeurs com-
posed of the Hoppers, who advanced to their assis-
tance nimbly on one foot. At another place might
you see the Van Arsdales, and the Van Bummels,
who ever went together, gallantly pressing forward
to bombard the fortress -- but as to the Gardeniers
of Hudson, they were absent from the battle, hav-
ing been sent on a marauding party, to lay waste
the neighbouring water-melon patches. Nor must
I omit to mention the incomparable atchievement
of Antony Van Corlear, who, for a good quarter of
an hour waged horrid fight with a little pursy
Swedish drummer, whose hide he drummed most
magnificently; and had he not come into the battle
with no other weapon but his trumpet, would infal-
libly have put him to an untimely end.

     But now the combat thickened -- on came the
mighty Jacobus Varra Vanger and the fighting men
of the Wael Bogtig; after them thundered the Van
Pelts of Esopus, together with the Van Rippers and
the Van Brunts, bearing down all before them --
then the Suy Dams and the Van Dams, pressing
forward with many a blustering oath, at the head
of the warriors of Hell-gate, clad in their thunder
and lighting gaberdines; and lastly the standard
bearers and body guards of Peter Stuyvesant, bear-
ing the great beaver of the Manhattoes.

     And now commenced the horrid din, the desperate
struggle, the maddening ferocity, the frantic despera-
tion, the confusion and self abandonment of war.
Dutchman and Swede commingled, tugged, panted
and blowed. The heavens were darkened with a tem-
pest of missives. Carcasses, fire balls, smoke balls,
stink balls and hand grenades, jostling each other,
in the air. Bang! went the guns -- whack! struck
the broad swords -- thump! went the cudgels --
crash! went the musket stocks -- blows -- kicks --
cuffs -- scratches -- black eyes and bloody noses swel-
ling the horrors of the scene! Thick-thwack, cut
and hack, helter-skelter, higgledy-piggledy, hurley-
burley, head over heels, klip-klap, slag op slag,
hob over bol, rough and tumble! -- Dunder
and blixum! swore the dutchmen, splitter and splut-
ter! cried the Swedes -- Storm the works! shouted
Hard-koppig Piet -- fire the mine! roared stout
Risingh -- Tantara-ra-ra! twang'd the trumpet of
Antony Van Corlear -- until all voice and sound be-
came unintelligible -- grunts of pain, yells of fury,
and shouts of triumph commingling in one hideous
clamour. The earth shook as if struck with a pa-
ralytic stroke -- The trees shrunk aghast, and wilted
at the sight -- The rocks burrowed in the ground
like rabbits, and even Christina creek turned from its
course, and ran up a mountain in breathless terror!

     Nothing, save the dullness of their weapons, the
damaged condition of their powder, and the singu-
lar accident of one and all striking with the flat in-
stead of the edge of their swords, could have pre-
vented a most horrible carnage -- As it was, the
sweat prodigiously streaming, ran in rivers on the
field, fortunately without drowning a soul, the
combatants being to a man, expert swimmers, and
furnished with cork jackets for the occasion -- but
many a valiant head was broken, many a stubborn
rib belaboured, and many a broken winded hero
drew short breath that day!

     Long hung the contest doubtful, for though a
heavy shower of rain, sent by the "cloud compell-
ing Jove," in some measure cooled their ardour, as
doth a bucket of water thrown on a group of fight-
ing mastiffs, yet did they but pause for a moment,
to return with tenfold fury to the charge, belabour-
ing each other with black and bloody bruises. Just
at this juncture was seen a vast and dense column
of smoke, slowly rolling towards the scene of battle,
which for a while made even the furious combat-
ants to stay their arms in mute astonishment -- but
the wind for a moment dispersing the murky cloud,
from the midst thereof emerged the flaunting ban-
ner of the immortal Michael Paw. This noble
chieftain came fearlessly on, leading a solid pha-
lanx of oyster-fed Pavonians, who had remained
behind, partly as a corps de reserve, and partly to
digest the enormous dinner they had eaten. These
sturdy yeomen, nothing daunted, did trudge man-
fully forward, smoaking their pipes with outrage-
ous vigour, so as to raise the awful cloud that has
been mentioned; but marching exceedingly slow,
being short of leg and of great rotundity in the

     And now the protecting deities of the army of
New Amsterdam, having unthinkingly left the field
and stept into a neighbouring tavern to refresh
themselves with a pot of beer, a direful catastrophe
had well nigh chanced to befall the Nederlanders.
Scarcely had the myrmidons of the puissant
Paw attained the front of battle, before the
Swedes, instructed by the cunning Risingh, levell-
ed a shower of blows, full at their tobacco pipes.
Astounded at this unexpected assault, and totally
discomfited at seeing their pipes broken by this
"d -- d nonsense," the valiant dutchmen fall in vast
confusion -- already they begin to fly -- like a frighten-
ed drove of unwieldy Elephants they throw their
own army in an uproar -- bearing down a whole
legion of little Hoppers -- the sacred banner on
which is blazoned the gigantic oyster of Commu-
nipaw is trampled in the dirt -- The Swedes pluck
up new spirits and pressing on their rear, ap-
ply their feet a parte poste with a vigour that prodi-
giously accelerates their motions -- nor doth the re-
nowned Paw himself, fail to receive divers grievous
and intolerable visitations of shoe leather!

     But what, Oh muse! was the rage of the gallant
Peter, when from afar he saw his army yield?
With a voice of thunder did he roar after his
recreant warriors, putting up such a war whoop,
as did the stern Achilles, when the Trojan troops
were on the point of burning all his gunboats.
The dreadful shout rung in long echoes through
the woods -- trees toppled at the noise; bears, wolves
and panthers jumped out of their skins, in pure
affright; several wild looking hills bounced clear
over the Delaware; and all the small beer in Fort
Christina, turned sour at the sound!

     The men of the Manhattoes plucked up new
courage when they heard their leader -- or rather
they dreaded his fierce displeasure, of which they
stood in more awe than of all the Swedes in Chris-
tendom -- but the daring Peter, not waiting for their
aid, plunged sword in hand, into the thickest of the
foe. Then did he display some such incredible
atchievements, as have never been known since
the miraculous days of the giants. Wherever he
went the enemy shrunk before him -- with fierce
impetuosity he pushed forward, driving the Swedes,
like dogs, into their own ditch -- but as he fearlessly
advanced, the foe, like rushing waves which close
upon the scudding bark, thronged in his rear, and
hung upon his flank with fearful peril. One des-
perate Swede, who had a mighty heart, almost as
large as a pepper corn, drove his dastard sword
full at the hero's heart. But the protecting power
that watches over the safety of all great and good
men turned aside the hostile blade, and directed it
to a large side pocket, where reposed an enormous
Iron Tobacco Box, endowed like the shield of
Achilles with supernatural powers -- no doubt in
consequence of its being piously decorated with a
portrait of the blessed St. Nicholas. Thus was
the dreadful blow repelled, but not without occa-
sioning to the great Peter a fearful loss of wind.

     Like as a furious bear, when gored by worrying
curs, turns fiercely round, shews his dread teeth,
and springs upon the foe, so did our hero turn upon
the treacherous Swede. The miserable varlet
sought in flight, for safety -- but the active Peter,
seizing him by an immeasurable queue, that dangled
from his head -- "Ah Whoreson Caterpillar!"
roared he, "here is what shall make dog's meat of
thee!" So saying he whirled his trusty sword, and
made a blow, that would have decapitated him, had
he, like Briareus, half a hundred heads, but that the
pitying steel struck short and shaved the queue for-
ever from his crown. At this very moment a cunning
arquebusier, perched on the summit of a neighbour-
ing mound, levelled his deadly instrument, and
would have sent the gallant Stuyvesant, a wailing
ghost to haunt the Stygian shore -- had not the
watchful Minerva, who had just stopped to tie up
her garter, saw the great peril of her favourite chief,
and dispatched old Boreas with his bellows; who
in the very nick of time, just as the direful match
descended to the pan, gave such a lucky blast, as
blew all the priming from the touch hole!

     Thus waged the horrid fight -- when the stout
Risingh, surveying the battle from the top of a little
ravelin, perceived his faithful troops, banged, beaten
and kicked by the invincible Peter. Language
cannot describe the choler with which he was seized
at the sight -- he only stopped for a moment to
disburthen himself of five thousand anathemas;
and then drawing his immeasurable cheese toaster,
straddled down to the field of combat, with some
such thundering strides, as Jupiter is said by old
Hesiod to have taken, when he strode down the
spheres, to play off his sky rockets at the Titans.

     No sooner did these two rival heroes come face
to face, than they each made a prodigious start of
fifty feet, (flemish measure) such as is made by
your most experienced stage champions. Then
did they regard each other for a moment, with
bitter aspect, like two furious ram cats, on the very
point of a clapper clawing. Then did they throw
themselves in one attitude, then in another, striking
their swords on the ground, first on the right side,
then on the left, at last at it they went, like five
hundred houses on fire! Words cannot tell the
prodigies of strength and valour, displayed in this
direful encounter -- an encounter, compared to
which the far famed battles of Ajax with Hector,
of Eneas with Turnus, Orlando with Rodomont,
Guy of Warwick with Colbrand the Dane, or of
that renowned Welsh Knight Sir Owen of the
mountains with the giant Guylon, were all gentle
sports and holliday recreations. At length the
valiant Peter watching his opportunity, aimed a
fearful blow with the full intention of cleaving his
adversary to the very chine; but Risingh nimbly
raising his sword, warded it off so narrowly, that
glancing on one side, it shaved away a huge canteen
full of fourth proof brandy, that he always carried
swung on one side; thence pursuing its tranchant
course, it severed off a deep coat pocket, stored
with bread and cheese -- all which dainties rolling
among the armies, occasioned a fearful scrambling
between the Swedes and Dutchmen, and made the
general battle to wax ten times more furious than

     Enraged to see his military stores thus woefully
laid waste, the stout Risingh collecting all his forces,
aimed a mighty blow, full at the hero's crest. In
vain did his fierce little cocked hat oppose its course;
the biting steel clove through the stubborn ram
beaver, and would infallibly have cracked his gal-
lant crown, but that the scull was of such adamantine
hardness that the brittle weapon shivered into five
and twenty pieces, shedding a thousand sparks,
like beams of glory, round his grizly visage.

     Stunned with the blow the valiant Peter reeled,
turned up his eyes and beheld fifty thousand suns,
besides moons and stars, dancing Scotch reels about
the firmament -- at length, missing his footing, by
reason of his wooden leg, down he came, on his
seat of honour, with a crash that shook the sur-
rounding hills, and would infallibly have wracked
his anatomical system, had he not been received
into a cushion softer than velvet, which providence,
or Minerva, or St. Nicholas, or some kindly cow,
had benevolently prepared for his reception.

     The furious Risingh, in despight of that noble
maxim, cherished by all true knights, that "fair
play is a jewel," hastened to take advantage of the
hero's fall; but just as he was stooping to give the
fatal blow, the ever vigilant Peter bestowed him a
sturdy thwack over the sconce, with his wooden leg,
that set some dozen chimes of bells ringing triple
bob-majors in his cerebellum. The bewildered
Swede staggered with the blow, and in the mean
time the wary Peter, espying a pocket pistol lying
hard by (which had dropped from the wallet of his
faithful squire and trumpeter Van Corlear during
his furious encounter with the drummer) discharged
it full at the head of the reeling Risingh -- Let not
my reader mistake -- it was not a murderous weapon
loaded with powder and ball, but a little sturdy
stone pottle, charged to the muzzle with a double
dram of true dutch courage, which the knowing Van
Corlear always carried about him by way of replen-
ishing his valour. The hideous missive sung through
the air, and true to its course, as was the mighty
fragment of a rock, discharged at Hector by bully
Ajax, encountered the huge head of the gigantic
Swede with matchless violence.

     This heaven directed blow decided the eventful
battle. The ponderous pericranium of general Jan
Risingh sunk upon his breast; his knees tottered
under under him; a deathlike torpor seized upon
his Titan frame, and he tumbled to the earth with
such tremendous violence, that old Pluto started
with affright, lest he should have broken through
the roof of his infernal palace.

     His fall, like that of Goliah, was the signal for
defeat and victory -- The Swedes gave way -- the
Dutch pressed forward; the former took to their
heels, the latter hotly pursued -- Some entered with
them, pell mell, through the sally port -- others
stormed the bastion, and others scrambled over the
curtain. Thus in a little while the impregnable
fortress of Fort Christina, which like another Troy
had stood a siege of full ten hours, was finally car-
ried by assault, without the loss of a single man on
either side. Victory in the likeness of a gigantic
ox fly, sat perched upon the little cocked hat of the
gallant Stuyvesant, and it was universally declared,
by all the writers, whom he hired to write the his-
tory of his expedition, that on this memorable day
he gained a sufficient quantity of glory to immorta-
lize a dozen of the greatest heroes in Christen-


     In which the author and reader, while reposing after
the battle, fall into a very grave and instructive
discourse -- after which is recorded the conduct of
Peter Stuyvesant in respect to his victory

     Thanks to St. Nicholas! I have fairly got
through this tremendous battle: let us sit down,
my worthy reader, and cool ourselves, for truly I
am in a prodigious sweat and agitation -- Body o'me,
but this fighting of battles is hot work! And if your
great commanders, did but know what trouble they
give their historians, they would not have the con-
science to atchieve so many horrible victories. I
already hear my reader complaining, that through-
out all this boasted battle, there is not the least
slaughter, nor a single individual maimed, if we
except the unhappy Swede, who was shorn of his
queue by the tranchant blade of Peter Stuyvesant --
all which is a manifest outrage on probability, and
highly injurious to the interest of the narrative.

     For once I candidly confess my captious reader
has some grounds for his murmuring -- But though
I could give a variety of substantial reasons for not
having deluded my whole page with blood, and
swelled the cadence of every sentence with dying
groans, yet I will content myself with barely men-
tioning one; which if it be not sufficient to satisfy
every reasonable man on the face of the earth, I
will consent that my book shall be cast into the
flames -- The simple truth then is this, that on con-
sulting every history, manuscript and tradition,
which relates to this memorable, though long forgot-
ten battle, I cannot find that a single man was killed,
or even wounded, throughout the whole affair!

     My readers, if they have any bowels, must easily
feel the distressing situation in which I was placed.
I had already promised to furnish them with a
hideous and unparalleled battle -- I had made incre-
dible preparations for the same -- and had more-
over worked myself up into a most warlike and
blood-thirsty state of mind -- my honour, as a his-
torian, and my feelings, as a man of spirit, were
both too deeply engaged in the business, to back
out. Beside, I had transported a great and power-
ful force of warriors from the Nederlandts, at vast
trouble and expense, and I could not reconcile it to
my own conscience, or to that reverence which I
entertain for them, and their illustrious descendants,
to have suffered them to return home, like a re-
nowned British expedition -- with a flea in their

     How to extract myself from this dilemma was
truly perplexing. Had the inexorable fates only al-
lowed me half a dozen dead men, I should have
been contented, for I would have made them such
heroes as abounded in the olden time, but whose
race is now unfortunately extinct. Men, who, if
we may believe those authentic writers, the poets,
could drive great armies like sheep before them,
and conquer and desolate whole cities by their sin-
gle arm. I'd have given every mother's son of
them as many lives as a cat, and made them die
hard, I warrant you.

     But seeing that I had not a single carcass at my
disposal, all that was left for me, was to make the
most I could of my battle, by means of kicks and
cuffs, and bruises -- black eyes, and bloody noses,
and such like ignoble wounds. My greatest diffi-
culty however, was, when I had once put my war-
riors in a passion, and let them loose into the midst
of the enemy; to keep them from doing mischief.
Many a time had I to restrain the sturdy Peter, from
cleaving a gigantic Swede, to the very waist-band,
or spitting half a dozen little fellows on his sword,
like so many sparrows -- And when I had set some
hundreds of missives flying in the air, I did not
dare to suffer one of them to reach the ground, lest
it should have put an end to some unlucky Dutch-

     The reader cannot conceive how much I suffer-
ed from thus in a manner having my hands tied,
and how many tempting opportunities I had to
wink at, where I might have made as fine a
death blow, as any recorded in history or song.

     From my own experience, I begin to doubt
most potently of the authenticity of many of Dan
Homer's stories. I verily believe, that when he
had once launched one of his hearty blades among
a crowd of the enemy, he cut down many an ho-
nest fellow, without any authority for so doing,
excepting that he presented a fair mark -- and that
often a poor devil was sent to grim Pluto's do-
mains, merely because he had a name that would
give a sounding turn to a period. But I disclaim
all such unprincipled liberties -- let me but have
truth and the law on my side, and no man would
fight harder than myself -- but since the various re-
cords I consulted did not warrant it, I had too
much conscience to kill a single soldier. -- By St.
Nicholas, but it would have been a pretty piece of
business! My enemies the critics, who I foresee
will be ready enough to lay any crime they can
discover, at my door, might have charged me with
murder outright -- and I should have esteemed my-
self lucky to escape, with no harsher verdict than

     And now gentle reader that we are tranquilly
sitting down here, smoking our pipes, permit me
to indulge in a melancholy reflection which at this
moment passes across my mind. -- How vain, how
fleeting, how uncertain are all those gaudy bubbles
after which we are panting and toiling in this
world of fair delusions. The wealthy store which
the hoary miser has painfully amassed with so
many weary days, so many sleepless nights, a
spendthrift heir shall squander away in joyless
prodigality -- The noblest monuments which pride
has ever reared to perpetuate a name, the hand of
time shall shortly tumble into promiscuous ruins --
and even the brightest laurels, gained by hardiest
feats of arms, may wither and be forever blighted
by the chilling neglect of mankind. -- "How many
illustrious heroes," says the good Boëtius, "who
were once the pride and glory of the age, hath the
silence of historians buried in eternal oblivion!"
And this it was, that made the Spartans when they
went to battle, solemnly to sacrifice to the muses,
supplicating that their atchievements should be
worthily recorded. Had not Homer tuned his
lofty lyre, observes the elegant Cicero, the valour
of Achilles had remained unsung. -- And such too,
after all the toils and perils he had braved, after
all the gallant actions he had atchieved, such too
had nearly been the fate of the chivalric Peter Stuy-
vesant, but that I fortunately stepped in and en-
graved his name on the indelible tablet of history,
just as the caitiff Time was silently brushing it away

     The more I reflect, the more am I astonished
to think, what important beings are we historians!
We are the sovereign censors who decide upon
the renown or infamy of our fellow mortals -- We
are the public almoners of fame, dealing out her
favours according to our judgment or caprice --
we are the benefactors of kings -- we are the guar-
dians of truth -- we are the scourgers of guilt -- we
are the instructors of the world -- we are -- in short,
what are we not! -- And yet how often does the
lofty patrician or lordly Burgomaster stalk con-
temptuously by the little, plodding, dusty historian
like myself, little thinking that this humble mortal
is the arbiter of his fate, on whom it shall depend
whether he shall live in future ages, or be forgotten
in the dirt, as were his ancestors before him. " In-
sult not the dervise" said a wise caliph to his son,
"lest thou offend thine historian;" and many a
mighty man of the olden time, had he observed so
obvious a maxim, would have escaped divers cruel
wipes of the pen, which have been drawn across
his character.

     But let not my readers think I am indulging in
vain glorious boasting, from the consciousness of
my own power and importance. On the contrary
I shudder to think what direful commotions, what
heart rending calamities we historians occasion in
the world -- I swear to thee, honest reader, as I am
a man, I weep at the very idea! -- Why, let me ask,
are so many illustrious men daily tearing them-
selves away from the embraces of their distracted
families -- slighting the smiles of beauty -- despising
the allurements of fortune, and exposing them-
selves to all the miseries of war? -- Why are renowned
generals cutting the throats of thousands who never
injured them in their lives? -- Why are kings deso-
lating empires and depopulating whole countries?
in short, what induces all great men, of all ages
and countries to commit so many horrible victories
and misdeeds, and inflict so many miseries upon
mankind and on themselves; but the mere hope
that we historians will kindly take them into notice,
and admit them into a corner of our volumes. So
that the mighty object of all their toils, their hard-
ships and privations is nothing but immortal fame --
and what is immortal fame? -- why, half a page of
dirty paper! -- alas! alas! how humiliating
the idea -- that the renown of so great a man as
Peter Stuyvesant, should depend upon the pen of
so little a man, as Diedrich Knickerbocker!

     And now, having refreshed ourselves after the
fatigues and perils of the field, it behoves us to
return once more to the scene of conflict, and in-
quire what were the results of this renowned
conquest. The Fortress of Christina being the
fair metropolis and in a manner the Key to New
Sweden, its capture was speedily followed by the
entire subjugation of the province. This was not
a little promoted by the gallant and courteous de-
portment of the chivalric Peter. Though a man
terrible in battle, yet in the hour of victory was he
endued with a spirit generous, merciful and hu-
mane -- He vaunted not over his enemies, nor did
he make defeat more galling by unmanly insults;
for like that mirror of Knightly virtue, the renown-
ed Paladin Orlando, he was more anxious to do
great actions, than to talk of them after they were
done. He put no man to death; ordered no houses
to be burnt down; permitted no ravages to be per-
petrated on the property of the vanquished, and
even gave one of his braves staff officers a severe
rib-roasting, who was detected in the act of sacking
a hen roost.

     He moreover issued a proclamation inviting
the inhabitants to submit to the authority of their
high mightinesses; but declaring, with unexampled
clemency, that whoever refused, should be lodged
at the public expense, in a goodly castle provided
for the purpose, and have an armed retinue to wait
on them in the bargain. In consequence of these
beneficent terms, about thirty Swedes stepped man-
fully forward and took the oath of allegiance; in
reward for which they were graciously permitted
to remain on the banks of the Delaware, where
their descendants reside at this very day. But I am
told by sundry observant travellers, that they have
never been able to get over the chap-fallen looks of
their ancestors, and do still unaccountably transmit
from father to son, manifest marks of the sound
drubbing given them by the sturdy Amsterdam-

     The whole country of New Sweden, having thus
yielded to the arms of the triumphant Peter, was
reduced to a colony called South River, and placed
under the superintendance of a lieutenant governor;
subject to the controul of the supreme government
at New Amsterdam. This great dignitary, was
called Mynheer William Beekman, or rather Beck
man, who derived his surname, as did Ovidius Naso
of yore, from the lordly dimensions of his nose,
which projected from the centre of his countenance,
like the beak of a parrot. Indeed, it is further-
more insinuated by various ancient records, that
this was not only the origin of his name, but like-
wise the foundation of his fortune, for, as the city
was as yet unprovided with a clock, the public
made use of Mynheer Beckman's face, as a sun
dial. Thus did this romantic, and truly picturesque
feature, first thrust itself into public notice, drag-
ging its possessor along with it, who in his turn
dragged after him the whole Beckman family --
These, as the story further adds, were for a long
time among the most ancient and honourable
families of the province, and gratefully commemo-
rated the origin of their dignity, not as your noble
families in England would do, by having a glowing
proboscis emblazoned in their escutcheon, but by
one and all, wearing a right goodly nose, stuck in
the very middle of their faces.

     Thus was this perilous enterprize gloriously
terminated, with the loss of only two men; Wolfert
Van Horne, a tall spare man, who was knocked
overboard by the boom of a sloop, in a flaw of
wind: and fat Brom Van Bummel, who was sud-
denly carried off by a villainous indigestion; both,
however, were immortalized, as having bravely
fallen, in the service of their country. True it is,
Peter Stuyvesant had one of his limbs terribly
fractured, being shattered to pieces in the act of
storming the fortress; but as it was fortunately his
wooden leg, the wound was promptly and effectually

     And now nothing remains to this branch of my
history, but to mention, that this immaculate hero,
and his victorious army, returned joyously to the
Manhattoes, marching under the shade of their
laurels, as did the followers of young Malcolm,
under the moving forest of Dunsinane. Thus did
they make a solemn and triumphant entry into
New Amsterdam, bearing with them the conquered
Risingh, and the remnant of his battered crew, who
had refused allegiance. For it appears that the
gigantic Swede, had only fallen into a swound, at
the end of the battle, from whence he was speedily
restored by a wholesome tweak of the nose.

     These captive heroes were lodged, according to
the promise of the governor, at the public expense, in
a fair and spacious castle; being the prison of state,
of which Stoffel Brinkerhoff, the immortal conqueror
of Oyster Bay, was appointed Lord Lieutenant; and
which has ever since remained in the possession of
his descendants. [14]

     It was a pleasant and goodly sight to witness
the joy of the people of New Amsterdam, at be-
holding their warriors once more returned, from
this war in the wilderness. The old women thronged
round Antony Van Corlear, who gave the whole
history of the campaign with matchless accuracy;
saving that he took the credit of fighting the whole
battle himself, and especially of vanquishing the
stout Risingh, which he considered himself as
clearly entitled to, seeing that it was effected by
his own stone pottle. The schoolmasters through-
out the town gave holliday to their little urchins,
who followed in droves after the drums, with pa-
per caps on their heads and sticks in their breeches,
thus taking the first lesson in vagabondizing. As to
the sturdy rabble they thronged at the heels of
Peter Stuyvesant wherever he went, waving their
greasy hats in the air, and shouting " Hard-kop-
pig Piet forever!"

     It was indeed a day of roaring rout and jubilee.
A huge dinner was prepared at the Stadt-house
in honour of the conquerors, where were assembled
in one glorious constellation, the great and the
little luminaries of New Amsterdam. There were
the lordly Schout and his obsequious deputy -- the
Burgomasters with their officious Schepens at their
elbows -- the subaltern officers at the elbows of the
Schepens, and so on to the lowest grade of illustri-
ous hangers-on of police; every Tag having his
Rag at his side, to finish his pipe, drink off his
heel-taps, and laugh at his flights of immortal dull-
ness. In short -- for a city feast is a city feast all
the world over, and has been a city feast ever
since the creation -- the dinner went off much the
same as do our great corporation junkettings and
fourth of July banquets. Loads of fish, flesh and
fowl were devoured, oceans of liquor drank, thou-
sands of pipes smoked, and many a dull joke ho-
noured with much obstreperous fat sided laughter.

     I must not omit to mention that to this far-
famed victory Peter Stuyvesant was indebted for
another of his many titles -- for so hugely delighted
were the honest burghers with his atchievements,
that they unanimously honoured him with the name
of Pieter de Groodt, that is to say Peter the Great,
or as it was translated by the people of New Am-
sterdam, Piet de Pig -- an appellation which he
maintained even unto the day of his death.


[14] This castle though very much altered and modernized is still
in being. And stands at the corner of Pearl Street, facing Coentie's


     Containing the third part of the reign of Peter
the Headstrong -- his troubles with the British na-
tion, and the decline and fall of the Dutch dynasty.


     How Peter Stuyvesant relieved the sovereign people
from the burthen of taking care of the nation --
with sundry particulars of his conduct in time of

     The history of the reign of Peter Stuyvesant,
furnishes a melancholy picture of the incessant cares
and vexations inseparable from government; and
may serve as a solemn warning, to all who are am-
bitious of attaining the seat of power. Though crown-
ed with victory, enriched by conquest, and return-
ing in triumph to his splendid metropolis, his exul-
tation was checked by beholding the sad abuses that
had taken place during the short interval of his ab-

     The populace, unfortunately for their own com-
fort, had taken a deep draught of the intoxicating
cup of power, during the reign of William the Tes-
ty; and though, upon the accession of Peter Stuy-
vesant they felt, with a certain instinctive percep-
tion, which mobs as well as cattle possess, that the
reins of government had passed into stronger hands,
yet could they not help fretting and chafing and
champing upon the bit, in restive silence. No
sooner, therefore, was the great Peter's back turned,
than the quid nuncs and pot-house politicians of the
city immediately broke loose, and indulged in the
most ungovernable freaks and gambols.

     It seems by some strange and inscrutable fatali-
ty, to be the destiny of most countries, and (more
especially of your enlightened republics,) always to
be governed by the most incompetent man in the
nation, so that you will scarcely find an individual
throughout the whole community, but who shall de-
tect to you innumerable errors in administration,
and shall convince you in the end, that had he
been at the head of affairs, matters would have gone
on a thousand times more prosperously. Strange!
that government, which seems to be so generally un-
derstood should invariably be so erroneously admi-
nistered -- strange, that the talent of legislation so
prodigally bestowed, should be denied to the only
man in the nation, to whose station it is requisite!

     Thus it was in the present instance, not a man
of all the herd of pseudo politicians in New Am-
sterdam, but was an oracle on topics of state, and
could have directed public affairs incomparably bet-
ter than Peter Stuyvesant. But so perverse was
the old governor in his disposition, that he would
never suffer one of the multitude of able counsellors
by whom he was surrounded, to intrude his advice
and save the country from distruction.

     Scarcely therefore had he departed on his expe-
dition against the Swedes, than the old factions of
William Kieft's reign began to thrust their heads
above water, and to gather together in political
meetings, to discuss "the state of the nation." At
these assemblages the busy burgomasters and their
officious schepens made a very considerable figure.
These worthy dignitaries were no longer the fat,
well fed, tranquil magistrates that presided in the
peaceful days of Wouter Van Twiller -- On the con-
trary, being elected by the people, they formed in
a manner, a sturdy bulwark, between the mob and
the administration. They were great candidates for
popularity, and strenuous advocates for the rights
of the rabble; resembling in disinterested zeal the
wide mouthed tribunes of ancient Rome, or those
virtuous patriots of modern days, emphatically de-
nominated "the friends of the people."

     Under the tuition of these profound politicians,
it is astonishing how suddenly enlightened the swin-
ish multitude became, in matters above their com-
prehensions. Coblers, Tinkers and Taylors all at
once felt themselves inspired, like those religious
ideots, in the glorious times of monkish illumina-
tion; and without any previous study or experience,
became instantly capable of directing all the move-
ments of government. Nor must I neglect to men-
tion a number of superannuated, wrong headed old
burghers, who had come over when boys, in the
crew of the Goede Vrouw, and were held up as infal-
liable oracles by the enlightened mob. To suppose
a man who had helped to discover a country, did
not know how it ought to be governed was prepos-
terous in the extreme. It would have been deemed
as much a heresy, as at the present day to ques-
tion the political talents, and universal infallibility
of our old "heroes of '76" -- and to doubt that he who
had fought for a government, however stupid he
might naturally be, was not competent to fill any
station under it.

     But as Peter Stuyvesant had a singular inclina-
tion to govern his province without the assistance
of his subjects, he felt highly incensed on his return
to find the factious appearance they had assumed
during his absence. His first measure therefore
was to restore perfect order, by prostrating the dig-
nity of the sovereign people in the dirt.

     He accordingly watched his opportunity, and one
evening when the enlightened mob was gathered
together in full caucus, listening to a patriotic
speech from an inspired cobbler, the intrepid Peter,
like his great namesake of all the Russias, all at
once appeared among them with a countenance,
sufficient to petrify a mill stone. The whole meet-
ing was thrown in consternation -- the orator seem-
ed to have received a paralytic stroke in the very
middle of a sublime sentence, he stood aghast with
open mouth and trembling knees, while the words
horror! tyranny! liberty! rights! taxes! death! de-
struction! and a deluge of other patriotic phrases,
came roaring from his throat, before he had power
to close his lips. The shrewd Peter took no notice
of the skulking throng around him, but advancing
to the brawling bully-ruffian, and drawing out a
huge silver watch, which might have served in
times of yore as a town clock, and which is still re-
tained by his decendants as a family curiosity, re-
quested the orator to mend it, and set it going.
The orator humbly confessed it was utterly out of
his power, as he was unacquainted with the nature
of its construction. "Nay, but," said Peter "try
your ingenuity man, you see all the springs and
wheels, and how easily the clumsiest hand may
stop it and pull it to pieces; and why should it not
be equally easy to regulate as to stop it." The ora-
tor declared that his trade was wholly different, he
was a poor cobbler, and had never meddled with a
watch in his life. There were men skilled in the
art, whose business it was to attend to those mat-
ters, but for his part, he should only mar the work-
manship, and put the whole in confusion -- "Why
harkee master of mine," cried Peter, turning sud-
denly upon him, with a countenance that almost
petrified the patcher of shoes into a perfect lap-
stone -- "dost thou pretend to meddle with the
movements of government -- to regulate and correct
and patch and cobble a complicated machine, the
principles of which are above thy comprehension,
and its simplest operations too subtle for thy un-
derstanding; when thou canst not correct a trifling
error in a common piece of mechanism, the whole
mystery of which is open to thy inspection? -- Hence
with thee to the leather and stone, which are em-
blems of thy head; cobble thy shoes and confine
thyself to the vocation for which heaven has fitted
thee -- But," elevating his voice until it made the
welkin ring, "if ever I catch thee, or any of thy
tribe, whether square-head, or platter breech, med-
dling with affairs of government; by St. Nicholas
but I'll have every mother's bastard of ye flea'd
alive, and your hides stretched for drum heads,
that ye may henceforth make a noise to some pur-

     This threat and the tremendous voice in which
it was uttered, caused the whole multitude to quake
with fear. The hair of the orator rose on his head
like his own swine's bristles, and not a knight of
the thimble present, but his mighty heart died
within him, and he felt as though he could have
verily escaped through the eye of a needle.

     But though this measure produced the desired
effect, in reducing the community to order, yet it
tended to injure the popularity of the great Peter,
among the enlightened vulgar. Many accused
him of entertaining highly aristocratic sentiments,
and of leaning too much in favour of the patricians.
Indeed there was some appearance of ground for
such a suspicion, for in his time did first arise that
pride of family and ostentation of wealth, that has
since grown to such a height in this city.15 Those
who drove their own waggons, kept their own cows,
and possessed the fee simple of a cabbage garden,
looked down, with the most gracious, though mor-
tifying condescension, on their less wealthy neigh-
bours; while those whose parents had been cabin
passengers in the Goede Vrouw, were continually
railing out, about the dignity of ancestry -- Luxury
began to make its appearance under divers forms,
and even Peter Stuyvesant himself (though in
truth his station required a little state and dignity.)
appeared with great pomp of equipage on public
occasions, and always rode to church in a yellow
waggon with flaming red wheels!

     From this picture my readers will perceive,
how very faithfully many of the peculiarities of our
ancestors have been retained by their descendants.
The pride of purse still prevails among our wealthy
citizens. And many a laborious tradesman, after
plodding in dust and obscurity in the morning of
his life, sits down out of breath in his latter days
to enact the gentleman, and enjoy the dignity
honestly earned by the sweat of his brow. In this
he resembles a notable, but ambitious housewife,
who after drudging and stewing all day in the
kitchen to prepare an entertainment; flounces into
the parlour of an evening, and swelters in all the
magnificence of a maudlin fine lady.

     It is astonishing, moreover, to behold how many
great families have sprung up of late years, who
pride themselves excessively on the score of ances-
try. Thus he who can look up to his father without
humiliation assumes not a little importance -- he
who can safely talk of his grandfather, is still more
vain-glorious, but he who can look back to his
great grandfather, without stumbling over a cobler's
stall, or running his head against a whipping post,
is absolutely intolerable in his pretensions to family
-- bless us! what a piece of work is here, between
these mushrooms of an hour, and these mushrooms
of a day!

     For my part I look upon our old dutch families
as the only local nobility, and the real lords of the
soil -- nor can I ever see an honest old burgher
quietly smoking his pipe, but I look upon him with
reverence as a dignified descendant from the Van
Rensellaers, the Van Zandts, the Knickerbockers,
and the Van Tuyls.

     But from what I have recounted in the former
part of this chapter, I would not have my reader
imagine, that the great Peter was a tyrannical go-
vernor, ruling his subjects with a rod of iron -- on
the contrary, where the dignity of authority was
not implicated, he abounded with generosity and
courteous condescension. In fact he really believed,
though I fear my more enlightened republican
readers will consider it a proof of his ignorance and
illiberality, that in preventing the cup of social life
from being dashed with the intoxicating ingredient
of politics, he promoted the tranquility and happi-
ness of the people -- and by detaching their minds
from subjects which they could not understand,
and which only tended to inflame their passions,
he enabled them to attend more faithfully and in-
dustriously to their proper callings; becoming more
useful citizens and more attentive to their families
and fortunes.

     So far from having any unreasonable austerity,
he delighted to see the poor and the labouring
man rejoice, and for this purpose was a great pro-
moter of holidays and public amusements. Under
his reign was first introduced the custom of crack-
ing eggs at Paas or Easter. New year's day
was also observed with extravagant festivity -- and
ushered in by the ringing of bells and firing of
guns. Every house was a temple to the jolly god
-- Oceans of cherry brandy, true Hollands and mull-
ed cyder were set afloat on the occasion; and not
a poor man in town, but made it a point to get
drunk, out of a principle of pure economy -- taking
in liquor enough to serve him for half a year after-

     It would have done one's heart good also to
have seen the valiant Peter, seated among the old
burghers and their wives of a saturday afternoon,
under the great trees that spread their shade over
the Battery, watching the young men and women,
as they danced on the green. Here he would
smoke his pipe, crack his joke, and forget the rug-
ged toils of war, in the sweet oblivious festivities
of peace. He would occasionally give a nod of
approbation to those of the young men who shuffled
and kicked most vigorously, and now and then
give a hearty smack, in all honesty of soul, to the
buxom lass that held out longest, and tired down
all her competitors -- infallible proofs of her being
the best dancer. Once it is true the harmony of
the meeting was rather interrupted. A young
vrouw, of great figure in the gay world, and who,
having lately come from Holland, of course led the
fashions in the city, made her appearance in not
more than half a dozen petticoats, and these too of
most alarming shortness. -- An universal whisper
ran through the assembly, the old ladies all felt
shocked in the extreme, the young ladies blushed,
and felt excessively for the "poor thing," and even
the governor himself was observed to be a little
troubled in mind. To complete the astonishment
of the good folks, she undertook in the course of
a jig, to describe some astonishing figures in alge-
bra, which she had learned from a dancing master
at Rotterdam. -- Whether she was too animated in
flourishing her feet, or whether some vagabond
Zephyr took the liberty of obtruding his services,
certain it is that in the course of a grand evolution,
that would not have disgraced a modern ball room,
she made a most unexpected display -- Whereat
the whole assembly were thrown into great ad-
miration, several grave country members were not
a little moved, and the good Peter himself, who
was a man of unparalleled modesty, felt himself
grievously scandalized.

     The shortness of the female dresses, which had
continued in fashion, ever since the days of William
Kieft, had long offended his eye, and though ex-
tremely averse to meddling with the petticoats of the
ladies, yet he immediately recommended, that every
one should be furnished with a flounce to the bot-
tom. He likewise ordered that the ladies, and
indeed the gentlemen, should use no other step in
dancing, than shuffle and turn, and double trouble;
and forbade, under pain of his high displeasure, any
young lady thenceforth to attempt what was termed
"exhibiting the graces."

     These were the only restrictions he ever im-
posed upon the sex, and these were considered by
them, as tyrannical oppressions, and resisted with
that becoming spirit, always manifested by the gen-
tle sex, whenever their privileges are invaded --
In fact, Peter Stuyvesant plainly perceived, that if
he attempted to push the matter any further, there
was danger of their leaving off petticoats altogether;
so like a wise man, experienced in the ways of
women, he held his peace, and suffered them ever
after to wear their petticoats and cut their capers, as
high as they pleased.

  [15] In a work published many years after the time of which Mr.
Knickerbocker treats (in 1701. By C. W. A. M.) it is mentioned
"Frederick Philips was counted the richest Mynheer in New York,
and was said to have whole hogsheads of Indian money or wampum;
and had a son and daughter, who according to the Dutch custom
should divide it equally."




     How Peter Stuyvesant was much molested by the moss
troopers of the East, and the Giants of Merry-
land -- and how a dark and horrid conspiracy was
carried on in the British Cabinet, against the
prosperity of the Manhattoes

     We are now approaching towards what may be
termed the very pith and marrow of our work,
and if I am not mistaken in my forebodings, we
shall have a world of business to dispatch, in the
ensuing chapters. Thus far have I come on pros-
perously, and even beyond my expectations; for to
let the reader into a secret (and truly we have be-
come so extremely intimate, that I believe I shall
tell him all my secrets before we part) when I first
set out upon this marvellous, but faithful little his-
tory, I felt horribly perplexed to think how I should
ever get through with it -- and though I put a bold
face on the matter, and vapoured exceedingly, yet
was it naught but the blustering of a braggadocio
at the commencement of a quarrel, which he feels
sure he shall have to sneak out of in the end.

     When I reflected, that this illustrious province,
though of prodigious importance in the eyes of its
inhabitants and its historian, had in sober sadness,
but little wealth or other spoils to reward the trou-
ble of assailing it, and that it had little to expect
from running wantonly into war, save a sound
drubbing -- When I pondered all these things in my
mind, I began utterly to despair, that I should find
either battles, or bloodshed, or any other of those
calamities, which give importance to a nation, to
enliven my history withal. -- I regarded this most
amiable of provinces, in the light of an unhappy
maiden, to whom Heaven had not granted sufficient
charms, to excite the diabolical attempts of wicked
man; who had no cruel father to persecute and op-
press her, no abominable ravisher to run away with
her, and who had not strength nor courage enough, of
her own accord, to act the heroine, and go in "quest
of adventures" -- in short, who was doomed to vege-
tate, in a tranquil, unmolested, hopeless, howling
state of virginity, and finally to die in peace, with-
out bequeathing a single misery, or outrage, to
those warehouses of sentimental woe, the circulat-
ing libraries.

     But thanks to my better stars, they have decreed
otherwise. It is with some communities, as it is
with certain meddlesome individuals, they have a
wonderful facility at getting into scrapes, and I
have always remarked, that those are most liable to
get in, who have the least talent at getting out again.
This is doubtless occasioned by the excessive valour
of those little states; for I have likewise noticed,
that this rampant and ungovernable virtue, is always
most unruly where most confined; which accounts
for its raging and vapouring so amazingly in little
states, little men, and ugly little women more espe-
cially. Thus this little province of Nieuw Neder-
landts has already drawn upon itself a host of
enemies; has had as many hard knocks, as would
gratify the ambition of the most warlike nation;
and is in sober sadness, a very forlorn, distressed,
and woe begone little province! -- all which was
no doubt kindly ordered by providence, to give
interest and sublimity, to this most pathetic of

     But I forbear to enter into a detail of the pitiful
maraudings and harrassments, that for a long while
after the victory on the Delaware, continued to
insult the dignity and disturb the repose of the
Nederlanders. Never shall the pen which has
been gloriously wielded in the tremendous battle
of Fort Christina, be drawn in scurvy border broils
and frontier skirmishings -- nor the historian who
put to flight stout Risingh and his host, and con-
quered all New Sweden, be doomed to battle it in
defence of a pig stye or a hen roost, and wage
ignoble strife with squatters and moss troopers!
Forbid it all ye muses, that a Knickerbocker should
ever so far forget what is due to his family and

     Suffice it then in brevity to say, that the impla-
cable hostility of the people of the east, which had
so miraculously been prevented from breaking out,
as my readers must remember, by the sudden pre-
valence of witchcraft, and the dissensions in the
council of Amphyctions, now again displayed itself
in a thousand grievous and bitter scourings upon
the borders.

     Scarcely a month passed but what the little
dutch settlements on the frontiers were alarmed by
the sudden appearance of an invading army from
Connecticut. This would advance resolutely through
the country, like a puissant caravan of the deserts,
the women and children mounted in carts loaded
with pots and kettles, as though they meant to boil
the honest dutchmen alive, and devour them like
so many lobsters. At the tail of these carts would
stalk a crew of long limbed, lank sided varlets, with
axes on their shoulders and packs on their backs,
resolutely bent upon improving the country in des-
pite of its proprietors. These settling themselves
down, would in a little while completely dislodge
the unfortunate Nederlanders; elbowing them out
of those rich little bottoms and fertile valleys, in
which your dutch yeomanry are so famous for
nestling themselves -- For it is notorious that where-
ver these shrewd men of the east get a footing, the
honest dutchmen do gradually disappear, retiring
slowly like the Indians before the whites; being
totally discomfited by the talking, chaffering, swap-
ping, bargaining disposition of their new neighbours.

     All these audacious infringements on the terri-
tories of their high mightinesses were accompanied,
as has before been hinted, by a world of rascally
brawls, ribroastings and bundlings, which would
doubtlessly have incensed the valiant Peter to wreak
immediate chastisement, had he not at the very
same time been perplexed by distressing accounts,
from Mynheer Beckman, who commanded the
territories at South river.

     The rebellious Swedes who had so graciously
been suffered to remain about the Delaware, alrea-
dy began to shew signs of mutiny and disaffection.
But what was worse, a peremptory claim was laid
to the whole territory, as the rightful property of
lord Baltimore, by Fendal, a chieftain who ruled
over the colony of Maryland, or Merry-land as it
was anciently called, because that the inhabitants
not having the fear of the Lord before their eyes,
were notoriously prone to get fuddled and make
merry with mint julep and apple toddy. Nay, so
hostile was this bully Fendal, that he threatened,
unless his claim was instantly complied with, to
march incontinently at the head of a potent force
of the roaring boys of Merryland, together with a
great and mighty train of giants who infested the
banks of the Susquehanna16 -- and to lay waste and
depopulate the whole country of South river.

     By this it is manifest that this boasted colony,
like all great acquisitions of territory, soon became
a greater evil to the conqueror, than the loss of it
was to the conquered, and caused greater uneasi-
ness and trouble, than all the territory of the New
Netherlands besides. Thus providence wisely or-
ders, that one evil shall balance another. The con-
queror who wrests the property of his neighbour,
who wrongs a nation and desolates a country,
though he may acquire increase of empire, and im-
mortal fame, yet ensures his own inevitable punish-
ment. He takes to himself a cause of endless anx-
iety -- he incorporates with his late sound domain,
a loose part -- a rotten disaffected member; which
is an exhaustless source of internal treason and dis-
union, and external altercation and hostility -- Hap-
py is that nation, which compact, united, loyal in
all its parts, and concentrated in its strength, seeks
no idle acquisition of unprofitable and ungovernable
territory -- which, content to be prosperous and
happy, has no ambition to be great. It is like a
man well organized in all his system, sound in
health, and full of vigour; unincumbered by use-
less trappings, and fixed in an unshaken attitude.
But the nation, insatiable of territory, whose do-
mains are scattered, feebly united, and weakly or-
ganized, is like a senseless miser sprawling among
golden stores, open to every attack, and unable to
defend the riches he vainly endeavours to oversha-

     At the time of receiving the alarming dispatches
from South river, the great Peter was busily em-
ployed in quelling certain Indian troubles that had
broken out about Esopus, and was moreover me-
ditating how to relieve his eastern borders, on the
Connecticut. He however sent word so Mynheer
Beckman to be of good heart, to maintain incessant
vigilance, and to let him know if matters wore a
more threatening appearance; in which case he
would incontinently repair with his warriors of the
Hudson, to spoil the merriment of these Merry
landers; for he coveted exceedingly to have a bout,
hand to hand, with some half a score of these giants
-- having never encountered a giant in his whole
life, unless we may so call the stout Risingh, and
he was but a little one.

     Nothing however appeared further to molest
the tranquillity of Mynheer Beckman and his
colony. Fendal and his Myrmidons remained at
home, carousing it soundly upon hoe cakes, bacon,
and mint julep, and running horses, and fighting
cocks, for which they were greatly renowned. At
hearing of this Peter Stuyvesant was highly re-
joiced, for notwithstanding his inclination to mea-
sure weapons with these monstrous men of the
Susquehanna, yet he had already as much employ-
ment nearer home, as he could turn his hands to.
Little did he think, worthy soul, that this southern
calm, was but the deceitful prelude to a most terri-
ble and fatal storm, then brewing, which was soon
to burst forth and overwhelm the unsuspecting
city of New Amsterdam!

     Now so it was, that while this excellent gover-
nor was, like a second Cato, giving his little senate
laws, and not only giving them, but enforcing them
too -- while he was incessantly travelling the rounds
of his beloved province -- posting from place to
place to redress grievances, and while busy at one
corner of his dominions all the rest getting into an
uproar -- At this very time, I say, a dark and dire-
ful plot was hatching against him, in that nursery
of monstrous projects, the British Cabinet. The
news of his atchievements on the Delaware, ac-
cording to a sage old historian of New Amsterdam,
had occasioned not a little talk and marvel in the
courts of Europe. And the same profound writer
assures us that the cabinet of England began to
entertain great jealousy and uneasiness at the
encreasing power of the Manhattoes, and the va-
lour of its sturdy yeomanry.

     Agents we are told, were at work from the
Amphyctionic council of the East, earnestly urg-
ing the cabinet to assist them in subjugating this
fierce and terrible little province, and that sagacious
cabinet, which ever likes to be dabbling in dirty
water, had already began to lend an ear to their
importunities. Just at this time Lord Baltimore,
whose bullying agent, as has before been mention-
ed, had so alarmed Mynheer Beckman, laid his
claim before the cabinet to the lands of South river,
which he complained were unjustly and forcibly
detained from him, by these daring usurpers of the
New Nederlandts.

     At this it is said his majesty Charles II, who
though Defender of the Faith, was an arrant,
lounging, rake-helly roystering wag of a Prince,
settled the whole matter by a dash of the pen, by
which he made a present of a large tract of North
America, including the province of New Nether-
lands, to his brother the duke of York -- a donation
truly loyal, since none but great monarchs have a
right to give away, what does not belong to them.

     That this munificent gift might not be merely
nominal, his majesty on the 12th of March 1664,
ordered that a gallant armament should be forth-
with prepared, to invade the city of New Amster-
dam by land and water, and put his brother in
complete possession of the premises.

     Thus critically are situated the affairs of the
New Netherlanders. The honest burghers, so far
from thinking of the jeopardy in which their in-
terests are placed, are soberly smoking their pipes
and thinking of nothing at all -- the privy councillors
of the province, are at this moment snoring in full
quorum, like the drones of five hundred bagpipes,
while the active Peter, who takes all the labour of
thinking and acting upon himself, is busily devising
some method of bringing the grand council of
Amphyctions to terms. In the mean while an
angry cloud is darkly scowling on the horizon --
soon shall it rattle about the ears of these dozing
Nederlanders and put the mettle of their stout
hearted governor completely to the trial.

     But come what may, I here pledge my veracity,
that in all warlike conflicts and subtle perplexities,
he shall still acquit himself with the gallant bearing
and spotless honour of a noble minded obstinate
old cavalier -- Forward then to the charge! -- shine
out propitious stars on the renowned city of the
Manhattoes; and may the blessing of St. Nicholas
go with thee -- honest Peter Stuyvesant!

  [16] We find very curious and wonderful accounts of these strange
people (who were doubtless the ancestors of the present Maryland-
ers made by master Hariot, in his interesting history. "The
Susquesahanocks" -- observes he, "are a giantly people, strange in
proportion, behavour and attire -- their voice sounding from them
as if out a cave. Their tobacco pipes were three quarters of a yard
long, carved at the great end with a bird, beare, or other device,
sufficient to beat out the braines of a horse, (and how many asses
braines are beaten out, or rather men's braines smoaked out and
asses brains haled in, by our lesser pipes at home.) The calfe of
one of their legges was measured three quarters of a yard about,
the rest of his limbs proportionable.

     Master Hariot's Journ. Purch. Pil.


     Of Peter Stuyvesant's expedition into the east Coun-
try, shewing that though an old bird, he did
not understand trap

     Great nations resemble great men in this par-
ticular, that their greatness is seldom known, until
they get in trouble; adversity has therefore, been
wisely denominated the ordeal of true greatness,
which like gold, can never receive its real estima-
tion until it has passed through the furnace. In
proportion therefore as a nation, a community or
an individual (possessing the inherent quality of
greatness) is involved in perils and misfortunes,
in proportion does it rise in grandeur -- and even
when sinking under calamity, like a house on fire,
makes a more glorious display, than ever it did, in
the fairest period of its prosperity.

     The vast empire of China, though teeming
with population and imbibing and concentrating the
wealth of nations, has vegetated through a succes-
sion of drowsy ages; and were it not for its inter-
nal revolution, and the subversion of its ancient
government by the Tartars, might have presented
nothing but an uninteresting detail of dull, mono-
tonous prosperity. Pompeia and Herculaneum
might have passed into oblivion, with a herd of
their contemporaries, had they not been fortunate-
ly overwhelmed by a volcano. The renowned city
of Troy has acquired celebrity only from its ten
years distress, and final conflagration -- Paris rises
in importance, by the plots and massacres, which
have ended in the exaltation of the illustrious Napo-
leon -- and even the mighty London itself, has
skulked through the records of time, celebrated for
nothing of moment, excepting the Plague, the great
fire and Guy Faux's gunpowder plot! Thus cities
and empires seem to creep along, enlarging in silent
obscurity under the pen of the historian, until at
length they burst forth in some tremendous cala-
mity -- and snatch as it were, immortality from the

     The above principle being plainly advanced,
strikingly illustrated, and readily admitted, my rea-
der will need but little discernment to perceive,
that the city of New Amsterdam and its depend-
ent province, are on the high road to greatness.
Dangers and hostilities threaten them from every
side, and it is really a matter of astonishment to
me, how so small a state, has been able in so short
a time, to entangle itself in so many difficulties.
Ever since the province was first taken by the
nose, at the fort of Good Hope, in the tranquil
days of Wouter Van Twiller, has it been gradual-
ly encreasing in historic importance; and never
could it have had a more appropriate chieftain to
conduct it to the pinnacle of grandeur, than Peter

     He was an iron headed old veteran, in whose
fiery heart sat enthroned all those five kinds of
courage described by Aristotle, and had the phi-
losopher mentioned five hundred more to the back
of them, I verily believe, he would have been
found master of them all -- The only misfortune
was, that he was deficient in the better part of
valour called discretion, a cold blooded virtue which
could not exist in the tropical climate of his mighty
soul. Hence it was he was continually hurrying
into those unheard of enterprises that gave an air
of chivalric romance to al his history, and hence it
was that he now conceived a project, the very
thought of which makes me to tremble while I

     This was no other than to repair in person to
the mighty council of the Amphyctions, bearing
the sword in one hand and the olive branch in the
other -- to require immediate reparation for the
innumerable violations of that treaty which in an
evil hour he had formed -- to put a stop to those
repeated maraudings on the eastern borders -- or
else to throw his gauntlet and appeal to arms for

     On declaring this resolution in his privy council,
the venerable members were seized with vast aston-
ishment, for once in their lives they ventured to
remonstrate, setting forth the rashness of exposing
his sacred person, in the midst of a strange and
barbarous people, with sundry other weighty re-
monstrances -- all which had about as much influence
upon the determination of the headstrong Peter,
as though you were to endeavour to turn a rusty
weather cock, with a broken winded bellows.

     Summoning therefore to his presence, his trusty
follower Antony Van Corlear, he commanded him
to hold himself in readiness to accompany him the
following morning, on this his hazardous enterprise.
Now Antony the trumpeter was a little stricken
in years, yet by dint of keeping up a good heart,
and having never known care or sorrow (having
never been married) he was still a hearty, jocund
rubicond, gamesome wag, and of great capacity in
the doublet. This last was ascribed to his living a
jolly life on those domains at the Hook, which Peter
Stuyvesant had granted to him, for his gallantry at
Fort Casimer.

     Be this as it may, there was nothing that more
delighted Antony, than this command of the great
Peter, for he could have followed the stout hearted
old governor to the world's end, with love and loy-
alty -- and he moreover still remembered the frolick-
ing and dancing and bundling, and other disports
of the east country, and entertained dainty recol-
lection of numerous kind and buxom lasses, whom
he longed exceedingly again to encounter.

     Thus then did this mirror of hardihood set
forth, with no other attendant but his trumpeter,
upon one of the most perilous enterprises ever
recorded in the annals of Knight errantry. -- For a
single warrior to venture openly among a whole
nation of foes; but above all, for a plain downright
dutchman to think of negociating with the whole
council of New England -- never was there known
a more desperate undertaking! -- Ever since I have
entered upon the chronicles of this peerless but
hitherto uncelebrated chieftain, has he kept me in
a state of incessant action and anxiety with the
toils and dangers he is constantly encountering --
Oh! for a chapter of the tranquil reign of Wouter
Van Twiller, that I might repose on it as on a
feather bed!

     Is it not enough Peter Stuyvesant, that I have
once already rescued thee from the machinations
of these terrible Amphyctions, by bringing the
whole powers of witchcraft to thine aid? -- Is it not
enough, that I have followed thee undaunted, like
a guardian spirit, into the midst of the horrid battle
of Fort Christina? -- That I have been put incessant-
ly to my trumps to keep thee safe and sound --
now warding off with my single pen the shower
of dastard blows that fell upon thy rear -- now nar-
rowly shielding thee from a deadly thrust, by a mere
tobacco box -- now casing thy dauntless scull with
adamant, when even thy stubborn ram beaver failed
to resist the sword of the stout Risingh -- and now,
not merely bringing thee off alive, but triumphant,
from the clutches of the gigantic Swede, by the
desperate means of a paltry stone pottle? -- Is not
all this enough, but must thou still be plunging into
new difficulties and jeopardizing in headlong en-
terprises, thyself, thy trumpeter, and thy historian!

     But all this is empty talk. What influence can
I expect to have, when even his councillors, who
never before attempted to advise him in their lives,
have spoken to no effect. All that remains is quietly
to take up my pen, as did Antony his trumpet, and
faithfully follow at his heels -- and I swear that, like
the latter, so truly do I love the hairbrained valour
of this fierce old Cavalier, that I feel as if I could
follow him through the world, even though (which
Heaven forefend) he should lead me through another
volume of adventures.

     And now the ruddy faced Aurora, like a buxom
chamber-maid, draws aside the sable curtains of the
night, and out bounces from his bed the jolly red
haired Phoebus, startled at being caught so late in
the embraces of Dame Thetis. With many a stable
oath, he harnesses his brazen footed steeds, and
whips and lashes, and splashes up the firmament,
like a loitering post boy, half an hour behind his
time. And now behold that imp of fame and
prowess the headstrong Peter, bestriding a raw
boned, switch tailed charger, gallantly arrayed in
full regimentals, and bracing on his thigh that trusty
brass hilted sword, which had wrought such fearful
deeds on the banks of the Delaware.

     Behold hard after him his doughty trumpeter
Van Corlear, mounted on a broken winded, wall
eyed, calico mare; his sturdy stone pottle which
had laid low the mighty Risingh, slung under his
arm, and his trumpet displayed vauntingly in his right
hand, decorated with a gorgeous banner, on which
is emblazoned the great beaver of the Manhat-
toes. See them proudly issuing out of the city
gate, like an iron clad hero of yore, with his faith-
ful squire at his heels, the populace following them
with their eyes, and shouting many a parting wish,
and hearty cheering. -- Farewel, Hard-koppig Piet!
Farewel honest Antony! -- Pleasant be your way-
faring -- prosperous your return! The stoutest hero
that ever drew a sword, and the worthiest trum-
peter that ever trod shoe leather!

     Legends are lamentably silent about the events
that befel our adventurers, in this their adventurous
travel, excepting the Stuyvesant Manuscript, which
gives the substance of a pleasant little heroic poem,
written on the occasion by Domine ægidius Luyck, [17]ho appears to have been the poet-laureat of New
Amsterdam. This inestimable manuscript assures
us, that it was a rare spectacle to behold the great
Peter and his loyal follower, hailing the morning
sun, and rejoicing in the clear countenance of
nature, as they pranced it through the pastoral
scenes of Bloemen Dael; which in those days was
a sweet and rural valley, beautified with many a
bright wild flower, refreshed by many a pure
streamlet, and enlivened here and there by a delec-
table little dutch cottage, sheltered under some gently
swelling hill, and almost buried in embowering

     Now did they enter upon the confines of Con-
necticut, where they encountered many grievous
difficulties and perils. At one place they were as-
sailed by some half a score of country squires and
militia colonels, who, mounted on goodly steeds, hung
upon their rear for several miles, harassing them
exceedingly with guesses and questions, more espe-
cially the worthy Peter, whose silver chas'd leg ex-
cited not a little marvel. At another place hard
by the renowned town of Stamford, they were set
upon by a great and mighty legion of church dea-
cons, who imperiously demanded of them five shil-
lings, for travelling on Sunday, and threatened to
carry them captive to a neighbouring church whose
steeple peer'd above the trees; but these the valiant
Peter put to rout with little difficulty, insomuch
that they bestrode their canes and gallopped off in
horrible confusion, leaving their cocked hats behind
in the hurry of their flight. But not so easily did
he escape from the hands of a crafty man of Py-
quag; who with undaunted perseverance, and re-
peated onsets, fairly bargained him out of his good-
ly switch-tailed charger, leaving in place thereof a
villainous, spavined, foundered Narraganset pacer.

     But maugre all these hardships, they pursued
their journey cheerily, along the course of the soft
flowing Connecticut, whose gentle waves, says the
song, roll through many a fertile vale, and sunny
plain; now reflecting the lofty spires of the bustling
city, and now the rural beauties of the humble
hamlet; now echoing with the busy hum of com-
merce, and now with the cheerful song of the pea-

     At every town would Peter Stuyvesant, who
was noted for warlike punctilio, order the sturdy
Antony to sound a courteous salutation; though
the manuscript observes, that the inhabitants were
thrown into great dismay, when they heard of his
approach. For the fame of his incomparable at-
chievements on the Delaware, had spread through-
out the East country, and they dreaded lest he had
come to take vengeance on their manifold transgres-

     But the good Peter rode through these towns
with a smiling aspect; waving his hand with inex-
pressible majesty and condescension; for he verily be-
lieved that the old clothes which these ingenious peo-
ple had thrust into their broken windows, and the
festoons of dried apples and peaches which orna-
mented the fronts of their houses, were so many
decorations in honour of his approach; as it was
the custom in days of chivalry, to compliment re-
nowned heroes, by sumptuous displays of tapestry
and gorgeous furniture. The women crowded to
the doors to gaze upon him as he passed, so much
does prowess in arms, delight the gentle sex. The
little children too ran after him in troops, staring
with wonder at his regimentals, his brimstone
breeches, and the silver garniture of his wooden leg.
Nor must I omit to mention the joy which many
strapping wenches betrayed, at beholding the jovial
Van Corlear, who had whilome delighted them so
much with his trumpet, when he bore the great
Peter's challenge to the Amphyctions. The kind-
hearted Antony alighted from his calico mare, and
kissed them all with infinite loving kindness -- and
was right pleased to see a crew of little trumpeters
crowding around him for his blessing; each of
whom he patted on the head, bade him be a good
boy, and gave him a penny to buy molasses candy.

     The Stuyvesant manuscript makes but little
further mention of the governor's adventures upon
this expedition, excepting that he was received
with extravagant courtesy and respect by the great
council of the Amphyctions, who almost talked him
to death with complimentary and congratulatory
harangues. Of his negociations with the grand
council I shall say nothing, as there are more im-
portant matters which call for the attention of my-
self, my readers, and Peter Stuyvesant. Suffice it
to mention, it was like all other negociations -- a
great deal was said, and very little done: one con-
versation led to another -- one conference begat
misunderstandings which it took a dozen confer-
ences to explain; at the end of which the parties
found themselves just where they were at first;
excepting that they had entangled themselves in a
host of questions of etiquette, and conceived a cor-
dial distrust of each other that rendered their future
negociations ten times more difficult than ever. [18]

     In the midst of all these perplexities, which
bewildered the brain and incensed the ire of the
sturdy Peter, who was of all men in the world, per-
haps, the least fitted for diplomatic wiles, he private-
ly received the first intimation of the dark con-
spiracy which had been matured in the Cabinet of
England. To this was added the astounding in-
telligence that a hostile squadron had already sailed
from England, destined to reduce the province of
New Netherlands, and that the grand council of
Amphyctions had engaged to co-operate, by send-
ing a great army to invade New Amsterdam by

     Unfortunate Peter! did I not enter with sad
forebodings upon this ill starred expedition! did I
not tremble when I saw thee, with no other coun-
cillor but thine own head, with no other armour but
an honest tongue, a spotless conscience and a rusty
sword! with no other protector but St. Nicholas --
and no other attendant but a brokenwinded trum-
peter -- Did I not tremble when I beheld thee thus
sally forth, to contend with all the knowing powers
of New England.

     Oh how did the sturdy old warrior rage and
roar, when he found himself thus entrapped, like a
lion in the hunter's toil. Now did he determine to
draw his trusty sword, and manfully to fight his
way through all the countries of the east. Now
did he resolve to break in upon the council of the
Amphyctions and put every mother's son of them
to death. -- At length, as his direful wrath subsid-
ed, he resorted to safer though less glorious expe-

     Concealing from the council his knowledge of
their machinations, he privately dispatched a trusty
messenger, with missives to his councillors at New
Amsterdam, apprizing them of the impending dan-
ger, commanding them immediately to put the city
in a posture of defence, while in the mean time he
endeavoured to elude his enemies and come to
their assistance. This done he felt himself mar-
vellously relieved, rose slowly, shook himself like a
rhinoceros, and issued forth from his den, in much
the same manner as giant Despair is described to
have issued from Doubting castle, in the chivalric
history of the Pilgrim's Progress.

     And now much does it grieve me that I must
leave the gallant Peter in this perilous jeopardy:
but it behoves us to hurry back and see what is
going on at New Amsterdam, for greatly do I fear
that city is already in a turmoil. Such was ever
the fate of Peter Stuyvesant, while doing one thing
with heart and soul, he was too apt to leave every
thing else at sixes and sevens. While, like a po-
tentate of yore, he was absent attending to those
things in person, which in modern days are trusted
to generals and ambassadors, his little territory at
home was sure to get in an uproar -- All which was
owing to that uncommon strength of intellect, which
induced him to trust to nobody but himself, and
which had acquired him the renowned appellation
of Peter the Headstrong.

  [17] This Luyck, was moreover, rector of the Latin school in
Nieuw Nederlandt, 1663. There are two pieces of verses to
ægidius Luyck in D. Selyn's MSS. of poesies, upon his marriage
with Judith Van Isendoorn. Old MS.

  New York.

  [18] For certain of the particulars of this ancient negociation see
Haz. Col. State Pap. It is singular that Smith is entirely silent
with respect to the memorable expedition of Peter Stuyvesant
above treated of by Mr. Knickerbocker, Editor.


     How the people of New Amsterdam, were thrown
into a great panic, by the news of a threatened
invasion, and how they fortified themselves very
strongly -- with resolutions

     There is no sight more truly interesting to a
philosopher, than to contemplate a community,
where every individual has a voice in public affairs,
where every individual thinks himself the atlas of
the nation, and where every individual thinks it his
duty to bestir himself for the good of his country --
I say, there is nothing more interesting to a philo-
sopher, than to see such a community in a sudden
bustle of war. Such a clamour of tongues -- such
a bawling of patriotism -- such running hither and
thither -- every body in a hurry -- every body up to
the ears in trouble -- every body in the way, and every
body interrupting his industrious neighbour -- who is
busily employed in doing nothing! It is like wit-
nessing a great fire, where every man is at work
like a hero -- some dragging about empty engines --
others scampering with full buckets, and spilling the
contents into the boots of their neighbours -- and
others ringing the church bells all night, by way of
putting out the fire. Little firemen -- like sturdy
little knights storming a breach, clambering up and
down scaling ladders, and bawling through tin
trumpets, by way of directing the attack. -- Here
one busy fellow, in his great zeal to save the pro-
perty of the unfortunate, catches up an anonymous
chamber utensil, and gallants it off with an air of
as much self importance, as if he had rescued a pot
of money -- another throws looking glasses and
china, out of the window, by way of saving them
from the flames, while those who can do nothing
else, to assist in the great calamity run up and
down the streets with open throats, keeping up an
incessant cry of Fire! Fire! Fire!

     "When the news arrived at Corinth," says the
grave and profound Lucian -- though I own the
story is rather trite, "that Philip was about to at-
tack them, the inhabitants were thrown into violent
alarm. Some ran to furbish up their arms; others
rolled stones to build up the walls -- every body in
short, was employed, and every body was in the
way of his neighbour. Diogenes alone, was the
only man who could find nothing to do -- whereupon
determining not to be idle when the welfare of his
country was at stake, he tucked up his robe, and
fell to rolling his tub with might and main, up and
down the Gymnasium." In like manner did every
mother's son, in the patriotic community of New
Amsterdam, on receiving the missives of Peter
Stuyvesant, busy himself most mightily in putting
things in confusion, and assisting the general uproar.
"Every man" -- saith the Stuyvesant Manuscript --
"flew to arms!" -- by which is meant, that not one
of our honest dutch citizens would venture to
church or to market, without an old fashioned spit
of a sword, dangling at his side, and a long dutch
fowling piece on his shoulder -- nor would he go
out of a night without a lanthorn; nor turn a
corner, without first peeping cautiously round, lest
he should come unawares upon a British army --
And we are informed, that Stoffel Brinkerhoff, who
was considered by the old women, almost as brave
a man as the governor himself -- actually had two
one pound swivels mounted in his entry, one point-
ing out at the front door, and the other at the

     But the most strenuous measure resorted to on
this aweful occasion, and one which has since been
found of wonderful efficacy, was to assemble popular
meetings. These brawling convocations, I have
already shewn, were extremely obnoxious to Peter
Stuyvesant, but as this was a moment of unusual
agitation, and as the old governor was not present
to repress them, they broke out with intolerable
violence. Hither therefore, the orators and politi-
cians repaired, and there seemed to be a competition
among them, who should bawl the loudest, and
exceed the other in hyperbolical bursts of patriotism,
and in resolutions to uphold and defend the govern-
ment. In these sage and all powerful meetings it
was determined nem. con. that they were the most
enlightened, the most dignified, the most formidable
and the most ancient community upon the face of
the earth -- and finding that this resolution was so
universally and readily carried, another was im-
mediately proposed -- whether it was not possible
and politic to exterminate Great Britain? upon
which sixty nine members spoke most eloquently
in the affirmative, and only one arose to suggest
some doubts -- who as a punishment for his treason-
able presumption, was immediately seized by the
mob and tarred and feathered -- which punishment
being equivalent to the Tarpeian Rock, he was
afterwards considered as an outcast from society
and his opinion went for nothing -- The question
therefore, being unanimously carried in the affirma-
tive, it was recommended to the grand council to
pass it into a law; which was accordingly done --
By this measure the hearts of the people at large
were wonderfully encouraged, and they waxed ex-
ceeding choleric and valourous -- Indeed the first
paroxysm of alarm having in some measure sub-
sided; the old women having buried all the money
they could lay their hands on; and their husbands
daily getting fuddled with what was left -- the com-
munity began even to stand on the offensive. Songs
were manufactured in low dutch and sung about
the streets, wherein the English were most woefully
beaten, and shewn no quarter, and popular addresses
were made, wherein it was proved to a certainty,
that the fate of old England depended upon the
will of the New Amsterdammers.

     Finally, to strike a violent blow at the very
vitals of Great Britain, a grand caucus of the wiser
inhabitants assembled; and having purchased all
the British manufactures they could find, they
made thereof a huge bonfire -- and in the patriotic
glow of the moment, every man present, who had a
hat or breeches of English workmanship, pulled it
off and threw it most undauntedly into the flames --
to the irreparable detriment, loss and ruin of the
English manufacturers. In commemoration of this
great exploit, they erected a pole on the spot, with
a device on the top intended to represent the
province of Nieuw Nederlandts destroying Great
Britain, under the similitude of an Eagle picking
the little Island of Old England out of the globe;
but either through the unskillfulness of the sculptor,
or his ill timed waggery, it bore a striking resem-
blance to a goose, vainly striving to get hold of a


     Shewing how the grand Council of the New Nether-
lands came to be miraculously gifted with long
tongues. -- Together with a great triumph of

     It will need but very little witchcraft on the
part of my enlightened reader -- particularly if he is
in any wise acquainted with the ways and habits of
that most potent and blustering monarch, the sove-
reign people -- to discover, that notwithstanding all
the incredible bustle and talk of war that stunned
him in the last chapter, the renowned city of New
Amsterdam is in sad reality, not a whit better pre-
pared for defence than before. Now, though the
people, having got over the first alarm, and finding
no enemy immediately at hand, had with that va-
lour of tongue, for which your illustrious rabble is
so famous, run into the opposite extreme, and by
dint of gallant vapouring and rodomontado had ac-
tually talked themselves into the opinion that they
were the bravest and most powerful people under
the sun, yet were the privy councillors of Peter
Stuyvesant somewhat dubious on that point. They
dreaded moreover lest that stern hero should re-
turn and find, that instead of obeying his peremp-
tory orders, they had wasted their time in listening
to the valiant hectorings of the mob, than which
they well knew there was nothing he held in more
exalted contempt.

     To make up therefore as speedily as possible
for lost time, a grand divan of the councillors and
robustious Burgomasters was convened, to talk over
the critical state of the province and devise mea-
sures for its safety. Two things were unanimous-
ly agreed upon in this venerable assembly: first,
that the city required to be put in a state of de-
fence -- and secondly, That as the danger was im-
minent, there should no time be lost -- which points
being settled, they immediately fell to making long
speeches and belabouring one another in endless
and intemperate disputes. For about this time
was this unhappy city first visited by that talking
endemic so universally prevalent in this country,
and which so invariably evinces itself, wherever a
number of wise men assemble together; breaking
out in long, windy speeches, caused, as physicians
suppose, by the foul air which is ever generated
in a crowd. Now it was, moreover, that they first
introduced the ingenious method of measuring the
merits of an harangue by the hour-glass; he being
considered the ablest orator who spoke longest on a
question -- For which excellent invention it is re-
corded, we are indebted to the same profound
dutch critic who judged of books by their bulk,
and gave a prize medal to a stupendous volume of
flummery -- because it was "as tick as a cheese."

     The reporters of the day, therefore, in publish-
ing the debates of the grand council, seem merely
to have noticed the length of time each member
was on the floor -- and the only record I can find of
the proceedings in the important business of which
we are treating, mentions, that "Mynheer -- made
a very animated speech of six hours and a half, in
favour of fortification -- He was followed by Myn-
heer -- on the other side, who spoke with great
clearness and precision for about eight hours --
Mynheer -- suggested an amendment of the bill
by substituting in the eighth line, the words `four
and twenty
,' instead of `twenty four,' in support of
which he offered a few remarks, which only took
up three hours and a quarter -- and was followed by
Mynheer Windroer in a most pithy, nervous, con-
cise, elegant, ironical, argumentative strain of elo-
quence, superior to any thing which ever issued
from the lips of a Cicero, a Demosthenes, or any
orator, either of antient or modern times -- he oc-
cupied the floor the whole of yesterday; this morn-
ing he arose in continuation, and is in the middle
of the second branch of his discourse, at this present
writing; having already carried the council through
their second nap -- We regret," concludes this
worthy reporter, "that the irresistable propensity
of our Stenographer to nod, will prevent us from
giving the substance of this truly luminous and
lengthy speech."

     This sudden passion for endless harangues, so
little consonant with the customary gravity and
taciturnity of our sage forefathers, is supposed by
certain learned philosophers of the time, to have
been imbibed, together with divers other barbarous
propensities, from their savage neighbours; who
were peculiarly noted for their long talks and council
and who would never undertake any affair
of the least importance, without previous debates
and harangues among their chiefs and old men.
But let its origin be what it may, it is without
doubt a cruel and distressing disease, which has
never been eradicated from the body politic to this
day; but is continually breaking out, on all occa-
sions of great agitation, in alarming and obnoxious
flatulencies, whereby the said body politic is griev-
ously afflicted, as with a wind cholic.

     Thus then did Madam Wisdom, (who for some
unaccountable, but doubtlessly whimsical reason,
the wits of antiquity have represented under the
form of a woman) seem to take a mischievous
pleasure in jilting the grave and venerable coun-
cillors of New Amsterdam. The old factions of
Square heads and Platter Breeches, which had been
almost strangled by the herculean grasp of Peter
Stuyvesant, now sprung up with tenfold violence --
To complete the public confusion and bewilder-
ment, the fatal word Economy, which one would
have thought was dead and buried with William
the Testy, was once more set afloat, like the apple
of discord, in the grand council of the New Neder-
landts -- according to which sound principle of policy,
it was deemed more expedient to throw away twenty
thousand guilders upon an inefficient plan of defence,
than thirty thousand on a good and substantial one
-- the province thus making a clear saving of ten
thousand guilders.

     But when they came to discuss the mode of
defence, then began a war of words that baffles all
description. The members being, as I observed,
drawn out into opposite parties, were enabled to
proceed with amazing system and regularity in the
discussion of the questions before them. Whatever
was proposed by a Square head, was opposed by the
whole tribe of Platter breeches, who like true poli-
ticians, considered it their first duty to effect the
downfall of the Square heads -- their second, to ele-
vate themselves, and their third, to consult the wel-
fare of the country. This at least was the creed
of the most upright among the party, for as to the
great mass, they left the third consideration out of
the question altogether.

     In this great collision of hard heads, it is asto-
nishing the number of projects for defence, that
were struck out, not one of which had ever been
heard of before, nor has been heard of since, unless
it be in very modern days -- projects that threw
the windmill system of the ingenious Kieft com-
pletely in the back ground -- Still, however, nothing
could be decided on, for as fast as a formidable
host of air castles were reared by one party, they
were demolished by the other -- the simple populace
stood gazing in anxious expectation of the mighty
egg, that was to be hatched, with all this cackling,
but they gazed in vain, for it appeared that the
grand council was determined to protect the pro-
vince as did the noble and gigantic Pantagruel his
army -- by covering it with his tongue.

     Indeed there was a magnanimous portion of
the members, fat, self important old burghers, who
smoked their pipes and said nothing, excepting to
negative every plan of defence that was offered.
These were of that class of wealthy old citizens
who having amassed a fortune, button up their
pockets, shut their mouths, look rich and are good
for nothing all the rest of their lives. Like some
phlegmetic oyster, which having swallowed a pearl,
closes its shell, settles down in the mud and parts
with its life sooner than its treasure. Every plan
of defence seemed to these worthy old gentlemen
pregnant with ruin. An armed force was a legion
of locusts, preying upon the public property -- to
fit out a naval armament was to throw their money
into the sea -- to build fortifications was to bury it in
the dirt. In short they settled it as a sovereign
maxim, so long as their pockets were full, no mat-
ter how much they were drubbed -- A kick left no
scar -- a broken head cured itself -- but an empty
purse was of all maladies the slowest to heal, and
one in which nature did nothing for the patient.

     Thus did this venerable assembly of sages,
lavish away that time which the urgency of affairs
rendered invaluable, in empty brawls and long
winded arguments, without even agreeing, except
on the point with which they started, namely, that
there was no time to be lost, and delay was ruin-
ous. At length St. Nicholas, taking compassion
on their distracted situation, and anxious to preserve
them from total anarchy, so ordered, that in the
midst of one of their most noisy and patriotic de-
bates, when they had nearly fallen to loggerheads
in consequence of not being able to convince each
other, the question was happily settled by a mes-
senger, who bounced into the chamber and inform-
ed them, that the hostile fleet had arrived, and
was actually advancing up the bay!

     Thus was all further necessity of either fortify-
ing or disputing completely obviated, and thus was
the grand council saved a world of words, and the
province a world of expense -- a most absolute and
glorious triumph of economy!


     In which the troubles of New Amsterdam appear to
thicken -- Shewing the bravery in time of peril, of a
people who defend themselves by resolutions

     Like a ward committee of politic cats, who,
when engaged in clamorous gibberings, and catter-
waulings, eyeing one another with hideous grima-
ces, spitting in each other's faces, and on the point
of breaking forth into a general clapper-clawing, are
suddenly put to scampering rout and confusion
by the startling appearance of a house-dog -- So was
the no less vociferous council of New Amsterdam,
amazed, astounded, and totally dispersed, by the
sudden arrival of the enemy. Every member made
the best of his way home, waddling along as fast as
his short legs could fag under their heavy burthen,
and wheezing as he went with corpulency and ter-
ror. When he arrived at his castle, he barricadoed
the street door, and buried himself in the cider cel-
lar, without daring to peep out, lest he should have
his head carried off by a cannon ball.

     The sovereign people all crowded into the mar-
ket place, herding together with the instinct of sheep
who seek for safety in each others company, when
the shepherd and his dog are absent and the wolf is
prowling round the fold. Far from finding relief
however, they only encreased each others terrors.
Each man looked ruefully in his neighbour's face, in
search of encouragement, but only found in its woe
begone lineaments, a confirmation of his own dis-
may. Not a word now was to be heard of conquer-
ing Great Britain, not a whisper about the so-
vereign virtues of economy -- while the old women
heightened the general gloom by clamorously be-
wailing their fate, and incessantly calling for protec-
tion on St. Nicholas and Peter Stuyvesant.

     Oh how did they bewail the absence of the lion
hearted Peter! -- and how did they long for the com-
forting presence of Antony Van Corlear! Indeed
a gloomy uncertainty hung over the fate of these
adventurous heroes. Day after day had elapsed
since the alarming message from the governor,
without bringing any further tidings of his safety.
Many a fearful conjecture was hazarded as to what
had befallen him and his loyal squire. Had they
not been devoured alive by the Cannibals of Pisca-
taway and Cape Cod? -- where they not put to the
question by the great council of Amphyctions? --
where they not smothered in onions by the terrible
men of Pyquag? -- In the midst of this consterna-
tion and perplexity, when horror like a mighty
night-mare sat brooding upon the little, fat, pletho-
ric city of New Amsterdam, the ears of the multi-
tude were suddenly startled by a strange and dis-
tant sound -- it approached -- it grew louder and
louder -- and now it resounded at the city gate. The
public could not be mistaken in the well known
sound -- A shout of joy burst from their lips as the
gallant Peter, covered with dust, and followed by
his faithful trumpeter, came gallopping into the mar-
ket place.

     The first transports of the populace having sub-
sided, they gathered round the honest Antony, as
he dismounted from his horse, overwhelming him
with greetings and congratulations. In breathless
accents he related to them the marvellous adven-
tures through which the old governor and himself
had gone, in making their escape from the clutches
of the terrible Amphyctions. But though the
Stuyvesant Manuscript, with its customary minute-
ness where any thing touching the great Peter is
concerned, is very particular, as to the incidents of
this masterly retreat, yet the critical state of the
public affairs, will not allow me to indulge in a full
recital thereof. Let it suffice to say, that while
Peter Stuyvesant was anxiously revolving in his
mind, how he could make good his escape with
honour and dignity, certain of the ships sent out
for the conquest of the Manhattoes touched at the
Eastern ports, to obtain needful supplies, and to call
on the grand council of the league, for its promised
co-operation. Upon hearing of this, the vigilant
Peter, perceiving that a moment's delay was fatal,
made a secret and precipitate decampment, though
much did it grieve his lofty soul, to be obliged to
turn his back even upon a nation of foes. Many
hair-breadth scapes and divers perilous mishaps,
did they sustain, as they scoured, without sound of
trumpet, through the fair regions of the east.
Already was the country in an uproar with hostile
preparation -- and they were obliged to take a large
circuit in their flight, lurking along, through the
woody mountains of the Devil's back bone; from
whence the valiant Peter sallied forth one day, like a
lion, and put to route a whole legion of squatters,
consisting of three generations of a prolific family,
who were already on their way to take possession
of some corner of the New Netherlands. Nay,
the faithful Antony had great difficulty at sundry
times, to prevent him in the excess of his wrath,
from descending down from the mountains, and
falling sword in hand, upon certain of the border
towns, who were marshalling forth their draggle-
tailed militia.

     The first movements of the governor on reach-
ing his dwelling, was to mount the roof, from
whence he contemplated with rueful aspect the hos-
tile squadron. This had already come to anchor
in the bay, and consisted of two stout frigates,
having on board, as John Josselyn, gent. informs
us, three hundred valiant red coats. Having taken
this survey, he sat himself down, and wrote an
epistle to the commander, demanding the reason of
his anchoring in the harbour without obtaining
previous permission so to do. This letter was
couched in the most dignified and courteous terms,
though I have it from undoubted authority, that
his teeth were clinched, and he had a bitter
sardonic grin upon his visage, all the while
he wrote. Having dispatched his letter, the grim
Peter stumped to and fro about the town, with a
most war-betokening countenance, his hands thrust
into his breeches pockets, and whistling a low dutch
psalm tune, which bore no small resemblance to
the music of a north east wind, when a storm is
brewing -- the very dogs as they eyed him skulked
away in dismay -- while all the old and ugly women
of New Amsterdam, ran howling at his heels, im-
ploring him to save them from murder, robbery,
and piteous ravishment!

     The reply of Col. Nichols, who commanded
the invaders, was couched in terms of equal courtesy
with the letter of the governor -- declaring the right
and title of his British Majesty to the province;
where he affirmed the dutch to be mere interlopers;
and demanding that the town, forts, &c. should be
forthwith rendered into his majesty's obedience
and protection -- promising at the same time, life,
liberty, estate and free trade, to every dutch deni-
zen, who should readily submit to his majesty's

     Peter Stuyvesant read over this friendly epistle
with some such harmony of aspect as we may sup-
pose a crusty farmer, who has long been fattening
upon his neighbour's soil, reads the loving letter of
John Stiles, that warns him of an action of eject-
ment. The old governor however, was not to be
taken by surprize, but thrusting, according to cus-
tom, a huge quid of tobacco into his cheek, and
cramming the summons into his breeches pocket,
promised to answer it the next morning. In the
mean time he called a general council of war of his
privy councillors and Burgomasters, not for the
purpose of asking their advice, for that, as has been
already shewn, he valued not a rush; but to make
known unto them his sovereign determination, and
require their prompt adherence.

     Before, however, he convened his council he re-
solved upon three important points; first, never to
give up the city without a little hard fighting, for he
deemed it highly derogatory to the dignity of so re-
nowned a city, to suffer itself to be captured and strip-
ped, without receiving a few kicks into the bargain.
Secondly, that the majority of his grand council
were a crew of arrant platter breeches, utterly des-
titute of true bottom -- and thirdly -- that he would
not therefore suffer them to see the summons of
Col. Nichols, lest the easy terms it held out, might
induce them to clamour for a surrender.

     His orders being duly promulgated, it was a
piteous sight to behold the late valiant Burgomas-
ters, who had demolished the whole British empire
in their harangues; peeping ruefully out of their
nests, and then crawling cautiously forth, dodging
through narrow lanes and alleys; starting at every
little dog that barked, as if it had been a discharge of
artillery -- mistaking lamp posts for British grena-
diers, and in the excess of their panic, metamor-
phosing pumps into formidable soldiers, levelling
blunderbusses at their bosoms! Having however,
in despite of numerous perils and difficulties of the
kind, arrived safe, without the loss of a single man,
at the hall of assembly, they took their seats and
awaited in fearful silence the arrival of the governor.
In a few moments the wooden leg of the intrepid
Peter, was heard in regular and stout-hearted
thumps upon the stair case -- He entered the cahm-
ber, arrayed in full suit of regimentals, a more
than ordinary quantity of flour shook into his ear
locks, and carrying his trusty toledo, not girded on
his thigh, but tucked under his arm. As the go-
vernor never equipped himself in this portentous
manner, unless something of martial nature was
working within his fearless pericranium, his council
regarded him ruefully as a very Janus bearing
fire and sword in his iron countenance -- and forgot
to light their pipes in breathless suspence.

     The great Peter was as eloquent as he was
valorous -- indeed these two rare qualities seem-
ed to go hand in hand in his composition; and, un-
like most great statesmen, whose victories are only
confined to the bloodless field of argument, he
was always ready to enforce his hardy words, by
no less hardy deeds. Like another Gustavus ad-
dressing his Dalecarlians, he touched upon the
perils and hardships he had sustained in escaping
from his inexorable foes -- He next reproached the
council for wasting in idle debate and impertinent
personalities that time which should have been
devoted to their country -- he then recalled the
golden days of former prosperity, which were only
to be regained by manfully withstanding their
enemies -- endeavoured to rouse their martial fire,
by reminding them of the time, when, before the
frowning walls of fort Christina, he led them on to
victory -- when they had subdued a whole army of
fifty Swedes -- and subjugated an immense extent
of uninhabited territory. -- He strove likewise to
awaken their confidence, by assuring them of the
protection of St. Nicholas; who had hitherto
maintained them in safety; amid all the savages of
the wilderness, the witches and squatters of the
east, and the giants of Merry land. Finally he
informed them of the insolent summons he had
received, to surrender, but concluded by swearing
to defend the province as long as heaven was on
his side, and he had a wooden leg to stand upon.
Which noble sentence he emphasized by a tremen-
dous thwack with the broad side of his sword upon
the table, that totally electrified his auditors.

     The privy councillors, who had long been ac-
customed to the governor's way, and in fact had
been brought into as perfect dicipline, as were ever
the soldiers of the great Frederick; saw that there
was no use in saying a word -- so lighted their pipes
and smoked away in silence, like fat and discreet
councillors. But the Burgomasters being less un-
der the governor's controul -- considering them-
selves as representatives of the sovereign people,
and being moreover inflated with considerable im-
portance and self-sufficiency, which they had ac-
quired at those notable schools of wisdom and mo-
rality, the popular meetings; (whereof in fact I am
told certain of them had been chairmen) these I
say, were not so easily satisfied. Mustering up
fresh spirit, when they found there was some
chance of escaping from their present perilous jeo-
pardy, without the disagreeable alternative of fight-
ing, they arrogantly requested a copy of the sum-
mons to surrender, that they might shew it to a
general meeting of the people.

     So insolent and mutinous a request would have
been enough to have roused the gorge of the tran-
quil Van Twiller himself -- what then must have
been its effect upon the great Stuyvesant, who was
not only a Dutchman, a Governor, and a valiant
wooden legged soldier to boot, but withal a man of
the most stomachful and gunpowder disposition.
He burst forth into a blaze of heroical indignation,
to which the famous rage of Achilles was a mere
pouting fit -- swore not a mother's son of them
should see a syllable of it -- that they deserved,
every one of them, to be hung, drawn and quarter-
ed, for traitorously daring to question the infalli-
bility of government -- that as to their advice or
concurrence, he did not care a whiff of tobacco for
either -- that he had long been harrassed and thwart-
ed by their cowardly councils; but that they might
henceforth go home, and go to bed like old women;
for he was determined to defend the colony him-
self, without the assistance of them or their adhe-
rents! So saying he tucked his sword under his
arm, cocked his hat upon his head, and girding
up his loins, stumped indignantly out of the coun-
cil chamber -- every body making room for him as
he passed.

     No sooner had he gone than the sturdy Burgo-
masters called a public meeting in front of the
Stadt-house, where they appointed as chairman one
Dofue Roerback, a mighty gingerbread baker in the
land, and formerly of the cabinet of William the
Testy. He was looked up to, with great reverence
by the populace, who considered him a man of
dark knowledge, seeing he was the first that im-
printed new year cakes with the mysterious hiero-
glyphics of the Cock and Breeches, and such like
magical devices.

     This great Burgomaster, who still chewed the
cud of ill will against the valiant Stuyvesant, in con-
sequence of having been ignominiously kicked out
of his cabinet -- addressed the greasy multitude in
an exceeding long-winded speech, in which he in-
formed them of the courteous summons to surren-
der -- of the governor's refusal to comply therewith
-- of his denying the public a sight of the summons,
which he had no doubt, from the well known libe-
rality, humanity, and forbearance, of the British na-
tion, contained conditions highly to the honour and
advantage of the province.

     He then proceeded to speak of his excellency
in high sounding terms, suitable to the dignity and
grandeur of his station, comparing him to Nero,
Caligula, and other great men of yore, of whom he
had often heard William the Testy discourse in his
learned moods -- Assuring the people, that the his-
tory of the world did not contain a despotic outrage
to equal the present, for atrocity, cruelty, tyranny,
blood-thirstiness, battle, murder, and sudden death
-- that it would be recorded in letters of fire, on the
blood-stained tablet of history! that ages would
roll back with sudden horror, when they came to
view it! That the womb of time -- (by the way
your orators and writers take strange liberties with
the womb of time, though some would fain have us
believe that time is an old gentleman) that the
womb of time, pregnant as it was with direful hor-
rors, would never produce a parallel enormity! --
that posterity would be struck dumb with petrifying
astonishment, and howl in unavailing indignation,
over the records of irremediable barbarity! -- With
a variety of other heart-rending, soul stirring tropes
and figures, which I cannot enumerate -- Neither
indeed need I, for they were exactly the same that
are used in all popular harangues and fourth of July
orations at the present day, and may be classed in
rhetoric under the general title of Rigmarole.

     The patriotic address of Burgomaster Roerback
had a wonderful effect upon the populace, who, though
a race of sober phlegmatic Dutchmen, were amaz-
ing quick at discerning insults; for your ragged
rabble, though it may bear injuries without a mur-
mur, yet is always marvellously jealous of its so-
vereign dignity. They immediately fell into the
pangs of tumultuous labour, and brought forth, not
only a string of right wise and valiant resolutions,
but likewise a most resolute memorial, addressed
to the governor, remonstrating at his conduct --
which he no sooner received than he handed it into
the fire; and thus deprived posterity of an invalu-
able document, that might have served as a prece-
dent to the enlightened coblers and taylors, of the
present day, in their sage intermeddlings with poli-


     Containing a doleful disaster of Antony the Trum-
peter -- And how Peter Stuyvesant, like a second
Cromwell suddenly dissolved a rump Parliament

       Now did the high minded Pieter de Groodt,
shower down a pannier load of benedictions upon
his Burgomasters, for a set of self-willed, obstinate,
headstrong varlets, who would neither be convinc-
ed nor persuaded; and determined henceforth to
have nothing more to do with them, but to consult
merely the opinion of his privy councillors, which
he knew from experience to be the best in the
world -- inasmuch as it never differed from his own.
Nor did he omit, now that his hand was in, to be-
stow some thousand left-handed compliments upon
the sovereign people; whom he railed at for a herd
of arrant poltroons, who had no relish for the glori-
ous hardships and illustrious misadventures of bat-
tle -- but would rather stay at home, and eat and
sleep in ignoble ease, than gain immortality and a
broken head, by valiantly fighting in a ditch!

     Resolutely bent however upon defending his
beloved city, in despite even of itself, he called unto
him his trusty Van Corlear, who was his right hand
man in all times of emergency. Him did he ad-
jure to take his war denouncing trumpet, and
mounting his horse, to beat up the country, night
and day -- Sounding the alarm along the pastoral
borders of the Bronx -- startling the wild solitudes
of Croton, arousing the rugged yeomanry of Wee-
hawk and Hoboken -- the mighty men of battle of
Tappan Bay19 -- and the brave boys of Tarry town
and Sleepy hollow -- together with all the other
warriors of the country round about; charging
them one and all, to sling their powder horns,
shoulder their fowling pieces, and march merrily
down to the Manhattoes.

     Now there was nothing in all the world, the
divine sex excepted, that Antony Van Corlear lov-
ed better than errands of this kind. So just stop-
ping to take a lusty dinner, and bracing to his side
his junk bottle, well charged with heart inspiring
Hollands, he issued jollily from the city gate, that
looked out upon what is at present called Broad-
way; sounding as usual a farewell strain, that rung
in sprightly echoes through the winding streets
of New Amsterdam -- Alas! never more were they
to be gladdened by the melody of their favourite

     It was a dark and stormy night when the good
Antony arrived at the famous creek (sagely de-
nominated Hærlem river) which separates the
island of Manna-hata from the main land. The
wind was high, the elements were in an uproar,
and no Charon could be found to ferry the adven-
turous sounder of brass across the water. For a
short time he vapoured like an impatient ghost
upon the brink, and then, bethinking himself of the
urgency of his errand, took a hearty embrace of his
stone bottle, swore most valourously that he would
swim across, en spijt den Duyvel (in spite of the
devil!) and daringly plunged into the stream. --
Luckless Antony! scarce had he buffetted half way
over, when he was observed to struggle most vio-
lently as if battling with the spirit of the waters --
instinctively he put his trumpet to his mouth and
giving a vehement blast -- sunk forever to the bot-

     The potent clangour of his trumpet, like the
ivory horn of the renowned Paladin Orlando, when
expiring in the glorious field of Roncesvalles, rung
far and wide through the country, alarming the
neighbours round, who hurried in amazement to
the spot -- Here an old Dutch burgher, famed for
his veracity, and who had been a witness of the
fact, related to them the melancholy affair; with
the fearful addition (to which I am slow of giving
belief) that he saw the duyvel, in the shape of a
huge Moss-bonker with an invisible fiery tail, and
vomiting boiling water, seize the sturdy Antony
by the leg, and drag him beneath the waves. Cer-
tain it is, the place, with the adjoining promontory,
which projects into the Hudson, has been called
Spijt den duyvel, or Spiking devil, ever since -- the
restless ghost of the unfortunate Antony still haunts
the surrounding solitudes, and his trumpet has often
been heard by the neighbours, of a stormy night,
mingling with the howling of the blast. No body
ever attempts to swim over the creek after dark;
on the contrary, a bridge has been built to guard
against such melancholy accidents in future -- and
as to Moss-bonkers, they are held in such abhor-
rence, that no true Dutchman will admit them to
his table, who loves good fish, and hates the devil.

     Such was the end of Antony Van Corlear --
a man deserving of a better fate. He lived roundly
and soundly, like a true and jolly batchelor, until
the day of his death; but though he was never
married, yet did he leave behind some two or three
dozen children, in different parts of the country --
fine, chubby, brawling, flatulent little urchins, from
whom, if legends speak true, (and they are not apt
to lie) did descend the innumerable race of editors,
who people and defend this country, and who are
bountifully paid by the people for keeping up a con-
stant alarm -- and making them miserable. Would
that they inherited the worth, as they do the wind,
of their renowned progenitor!

     The tidings of this lamentable catastrophe im-
parted a severer pang to the bosom of Peter Stuy-
vesant, than did even the invasion of his beloved
Amsterdam. It came ruthlessly home to those
sweet affections that grow close around the heart,
and are nourished by its warmest current. As
some lorn pilgrim wandering in trackless wastes,
while the rude tempest whistles through his hoary
locks, and dreary night is gathering around, sees
stretched cold and lifeless, his faithful dog -- the
sole companion of his lonely journeying, who had
shared his solitary meal, who had so often licked
his hand in humble gratitude, who had lain in his
bosom, and been unto him as a child -- So did the
generous hearted hero of the Manhattoes contem-
plate the untimely end of his faithful Antony. He
had been the humble attendant of his footsteps -- he
had cheered him in many a heavy hour, by his
honest gaiety, and had followed him in loyalty and
affection, through many a scene of direful peril and
mishap -- he was gone forever -- and that too, at a
moment when every mongrel cur seemed skulking
from his side -- This -- Peter Stuyvesant -- this was
the moment to try thy magnanimity; and this was
the moment, when thou didst indeed shine forth --
Peter the Headstrong!

     The glare of day had long dispelled the horrors of
the last stormy night; still all was dull and gloomy.
The late jovial Apollo hid his face behind lugu-
brious clouds, peeping out now and then, for an in-
stant, as if anxious, yet fearful, to see what was going
on, in his favourite city. This was the eventful
morning, when the great Peter was to give his reply,
to the audacious summons of the invaders. Already
was he closetted with his privy council, sitting in
grim state, brooding over the fate of his favourite
trumpeter, and anon boiling with indignation as the
insolence of his recreant Burgomasters flashed upon
his mind. While in this state of irritation, a courier
arrived in all haste from Winthrop, the subtle gover-
nor of Connecticut, councilling him in the most
affectionate and disinterested manner to surrender
the province, and magnifying the dangers and cala-
mities to which a refusal would subject him. --
What a moment was this to intrude officious advice
upon a man, who never took advice in his whole
life! -- The fiery old governor strode up and down
the chamber, with a vehemence, that made the
bosoms of his councillors to quake with awe --
railing at his unlucky fate, that thus made him the
constant butt of factious subjects, and jesuitical

     Just at this ill chosen juncture, the officious
Burgomasters, who were now completely on the
watch, and had got wind of the arrival of mysterious
dispatches, came marching in a resolute body, into
the room, with a legion of Schepens and toad-eaters
at their heels, and abruptly demanded a perusal of
the letter. Thus to be broken in upon by what he
esteemed a "rascal rabble," and that too at the very
moment he was grinding under an irritation from
abroad, was too much for the spleen of the choleric
Peter. He tore the letter in a thousand pieces [20] --
threw it in the face of the nearest Burgomaster --
broke his pipe over the head of the next -- hurled
his spitting box at an unlucky Schepen, who was
just making a masterly retreat out at the door, and
finally dissolved the whole meeting sine die, by
kicking them down stairs with his wooden leg!

     As soon as the Burgomasters could recover
from the confusion into which their sudden exit
had thrown them, and had taken a little time to
breathe, they protested against the conduct of the
governor, which they did not hesitate to pronounce
tyrannical, unconstitutional, highly indecent, and
somewhat disrespectful. They then called a public
meeting, where they read the protest, and ad-
dressing the assembly in a set speech related at
full length, and with appropriate colouring and ex-
aggeration, the despotic and vindictive deportment
of the governor; declaring that, for their own parts,
they did not value a straw the being kicked, cuffed,
and mauled by the timber toe of his excellency, but
they felt for the dignity of the sovereign people,
thus rudely insulted by the outrage committed on
the seats of honour of their representatives. The
latter part of the harangue had a violent effect upon
the sensibility of the people, as it came home at
once, to that delicacy of feeling and jealous pride
of character, vested in all true mobs: and there is
no knowing to what act of resentment they might
have been provoked, against the redoubtable Hard-
koppig Piet -- had not the greasy rogues been some-
what more afraid of their sturdy old governor, than
they were of St. Nicholas, the English -- or the
D -- l himself.

  [19] A corruption of Top-paun; so called from a tribe of Indians
which boasted 150 fighting men. See Ogilvie. Editor.

  [20] Smith's History of N. Y.


     Shewing how Peter Stuyvesant defended the city
of New Amsterdam for several days, by dint of
the strength of his head

     Pause, oh most considerate reader! and con-
template for a moment the sublime and melan-
choly scene, which the present crisis of our his-
tory presents! An illustrious and venerable little
town -- the metropolis of an immense extent of
flourishing but unenlightened, because uninhabit-
ed country -- Garrisoned by a doughty host of
orators, chairmen, committee-men, Burgomasters,
Schepens and old women -- governed by a de-
termined and strong headed warrior, and fortified
by mud batteries, pallisadoes and resolutions. --
blockaded by sea, beleaguered by land, and threat-
ened with direful desolation from without; while
its very vitals are torn, and griped, and be-
choliced with internal faction and commotion!
Never did the historic pen record a page of more
complicated distress, unless it be the strife that
distracted the Israelites during the siege of Jeru-
salem -- where discordant parties were cutting each
others throats, at the moment when the victorious
legions of Titus had toppled down their bulwarks,
and were carrying fire and sword, into the very
sanctum sanctorum of the temple.

     Governor Stuyvesant having triumphantly, as
has been recorded, put his grand council to the
rout, and thus delivered himself from a multitude of
impertinent advisers, dispatched a categorical re-
ply to the commanders of the invading squadron;
wherein he asserted the right and title of their
High Mightinesses the lords States general to the
province of New Netherlands, and trusting in the
righteousness of his cause, set the whole British
nation at defiance! My anxiety to extricate my
readers, and myself, from these disastrous scenes,
prevents me from giving the whole of this most
courteous and gallant letter which concluded in
these manly and affectionate terms.

     "As touching the threats in your conclusion,
"we have nothing to answer, only that we fear
"nothing but what God, (who is as just as merci
"ful) shall lay upon us; all things being in his
"gracious disposal, and we may as well be pre
"served by him with small forces, as by a great
"army; which makes us to wish you all happiness
"and prosperity, and recommend you to his pro
"tection -- My lords your thrice humble and affec
"tionate servant and friend

     Thus having resolutely thrown his gauntlet,
the brave Hard-koppig Piet stuck a huge pair of
horse pistols in his belt, girded an immense powder
horn on his side -- thrust his sound leg into a Hes-
sian boot, and clapping his fierce little war hat on
top of his head -- paraded up and down in front of
his house, determined to defend his beloved city
to the last.

     While all these woeful struggles and dissensions
were prevailing in the unhappy little city of New
Amsterdam, and while its worthy but ill starred
governor was framing the above quoted letter, the
English commanders did not remain idle. They
had agents secretly employed to foment the fears
and clamours of the populace, and moreover circu-
lated far and wide through the adjacent country a
proclamation, repeating the terms they had already
held out in their summons to surrender, and be-
guiling the simple Nederlanders with the most
crafty and conciliating professions. They promis-
ed every man who voluntarily submitted to the
authority of his British majesty, that he should re-
tain peaceable possession of his house, his vrouw
and his cabbage garden. That he should be suf-
fered to smoke his pipe, speak dutch, wear as
many breeches as he pleased, and import bricks,
tiles and stone jugs from Holland, instead of
manufacturing them on the spot -- That he should
on no account be compelled to learn the English
language, or keep accounts in any other way than
by casting them up upon his fingers, and chalking
them down upon the crown of his hat; as is still
observed among the dutch yeomanry at the present
day. That every man should be allowed quietly
to inherit his father's hat, coat, shoe-buckles, pipe,
and every other personal appendage, and that no
man should be obliged to conform to any improve-
ments, inventions, or any other modern innova-
tions, but on the contrary should be permitted to
build his house, follow his trade, manage his farm,
rear his hogs, and educate his children, precisely
as his ancestors did before him since time imme-
morial -- Finally, that he should have all the bene-
fits of free trade, and should not be required to ac-
knowledge any other saint in the calendar than
saint Nicholas, who should thenceforward, as be-
fore, be considered the tutelar saint of the city.

     These terms, as may be supposed, appeared
very satisfactory to the people; who had a great
disposition to enjoy their property unmolested, and
a most singular aversion to engage in a contest,
where they could gain little more than honour and
broken heads -- the first of which they held in philo-
sophic indifference, the latter in utter detestation.
By these insidious means, therefore, did the En-
glish succeed in alienating the confidence and affec-
tions of the populace from their gallant old governor,
whom they considered as obstinately bent upon
running them into hideous misadventures, and did
not hesitate to speak their minds freely, and abuse
him most heartily -- behind his back.

     Like as a mighty grampus, who though assailed
and buffeted by roaring waves and brawling surges,
still keeps on an undeviating course; and though over-
whelmed by boisterous billows, still emerges from
the troubled deep, spouting and blowing with tenfold
violence -- so did the inflexible Peter pursue, un-
wavering, his determined career, and rise contemp-
tuous, above the clamours of the rabble.

     But when the British warriors found by the
tenor of his reply that he set their power at defiance,
they forthwith dispatched recruiting officers to Ja-
maica, and Jericho, and Nineveh, and Quag, and
Patchog, and all those redoubtable towns which had
been subdued of yore by the immortal Stoffel Brink-
erhoff, stirring up the valiant progeny of Preserved
Fish, and Determined Cock, and those other illus-
trious squatters, to assail the city of New Amster-
dam by land. In the mean while the hostile ships
made awful preparation to commence a vehement
assault by water.

     The streets of New Amsterdam now presented
a scene of wild dismay and consternation. In vain
did the gallant Stuyvesant order the citizens to arm
and assemble in the public square or market place.
The whole party of Platter breeches in the course of
a single night had changed into arrant old women -- a
metamorphosis only to be paralleled by the prodigies
recorded by Livy as having happened at Rome at
the approach of Hannibal, when statues sweated in
pure affright, goats were converted into sheep, and
cocks turning into hens ran cackling about the

     The harrassed Peter, thus menaced from without
and tormented from within -- baited by the bur-
gomasters and hooted at by the rabble, chafed and
growled and raged like a furious bear tied to a stake
and worried by a legion of scoundrel curs. Finding
however that all further attempt to defend the city
was in vain, and hearing that an irruption of bor-
derers and moss troopers was ready to deluge him
from the east, he was at length compelled, in spite
of his mighty heart, which swelled in his throat
until it had nearly choked him, to consent to a treaty
of surrender.

     Words cannot express the transports of the
people, on receiving this agreeable intelligence;
had they obtained a conquest over their enemies,
they could not have indulged greater delight -- The
streets resounded with their congratulations -- they
extolled their governor as the father and deliverer
of his country -- they crowded to his house to testify
their gratitude, and were ten times more noisy in
their plaudits, than when he returned, with victory
perched upon his beaver, from the glorious capture
of Fort Christina -- But the indignant Peter shut up
his doors and windows and took refuge in the in-
nermost recesses of his mansion, that he might not
hear the ignoble rejoicings of the rabble.

     In consequence of this consent of the governor,
a parley was demanded of the besieging forces to
treat of the terms of surrender. Accordingly a
deputation of six commissioners was appointed on
both sides, and on the 27th August, 1664, a capi-
tulation highly favourable to the province, and
honourable to Peter Stuyvesant, was agreed to by
the enemy, who had conceived a high opinion of
the valour of the men of the Manhattoes, and the
magnanimity and unbounded discretion of their

     One thing alone remained, which was, that the
articles of surrender should be ratified, and signed
by the chivalric Peter -- When the commissioners
respectfully waited upon him for this purpose, they
were received by the hardy old warrior, with the
most grim and bitter courtesy. His warlike accou-
trements were laid aside -- an old India night gown
was wrapped around his rugged limbs, a red woollen
night cap overshadowed his frowning brow, and an
iron grey beard, of three days growth, heightened
the grizly terrors of his visage. Thrice did he
seize a little worn out stump of a pen, and essay
to sign the loathesome paper -- thrice did he clinch
his teeth, and make a most horrible countenance,
as though a pestiferous dose of rhubarb, senna, and
ipecacuanha, had been offered to his lips, at length
dashing it from him, he seized his brass hilted
sword, and jerking it from the scabbard, swore by
St. Nicholas, he'd sooner die than yield to any
power under heaven.

     In vain was every attempt to shake this sturdy
resolution -- menaces, remonstrances, revilings were
exhausted to no purpose -- for two whole days was
the house of the valiant Peter besieged by the
clamourous rabble, and for two whole days did he
betake himself to his arms, and persist in a magna-
nimous refusal to ratify the capitulation -- thus, like
a second Horatius Cocles, bearing the whole brunt
of war, and defending this modern Rome, with the
prowess of his single arm!

     At length the populace finding that boisterous
measures, did but incense more determined oppo-
sition, bethought themselves of a humble expedient,
by which haply, the governor's lofty ire might be
soothed, and his resolution undermined. And now
a solemn and mournful procession, headed by the
Burgomasters, and Schepens, and followed by the
enlightened vulgar, moves slowly to the governor's
dwelling -- bearing the unfortunate capitulation.
Here they found the stout old hero, drawn up like
a giant into his castle -- the doors strongly barri-
cadoed, and himself in full regimentals, with his
cocked hat on his head, firmly posted with a blun-
derbuss at the garret window.

     There was something in this formidable position
that struck even the ignoble vulgar, with awe and
admiration. The brawling multitude could not but
reflect with self abasement, upon their own degene-
rate conduct, when they beheld their hardy but de-
serted old governor, thus faithful to his post, like a
forlorn hope, and fully prepared to defend his un-
grateful city to the last. These compunctions how-
ever, were soon overwhelmed, by the recurring
tide of public apprehension. The populace arrang-
ed themselves before the house, taking off their
hats, with most respectful humility -- One of the
Burgomasters, of that popular class of orators, who,
as old Sallust observes, are "talkative rather than
eloquent" stepped forth and addressed the gover-
nor in a speech of three hours length; detailing in
the most pathetic terms the calamitous situation of
the province, and urging him in a constant repeti-
tion of the same arguments and words, to sign the

     The mighty Peter eyed him from his little gar-
ret window in grim silence -- now and then his eye
would glance over the surrounding rabble, and an
indignant grin, like that of an angry mastiff, would
mark his iron visage -- But though he was a man of
most undaunted mettle -- though he had a heart as
big as an ox, and a head that would have set ada-
mant to scorn -- yet after all he was a mere mortal:
-- wearied out by these repeated oppositions and
this eternal haranguing, and perceiving that unless
he complied, the inhabitants would follow ther in-
clinations, or rather their fears, without waiting for
his consent, he testily ordered them to hand him
up the paper. It was accordingly hoisted to him
on the end of a pole, and having scrawled his name
at the bottom of it, he excommunicated them all for
a set of cowardly, mutinous, degenerate platter-
breeches -- threw the capitulation at their heads,
slammed down the window, and was heard stump-
ing down stairs with the most vehement indignation.
The rabble incontinently took to their heels; even
the Burgomasters were not slow in evacuating the
premises, fearing lest the sturdy Peter might issue
from his den, and greet them with some unwelcome
testimonial of his displeasure.


     Containing reflections on the decline and fall of
empires, with the final extinction of the Dutch

     Among the numerous events, which are each
in their turn the most direful and melancholy of
all possible occurrences, in your interesting and
authentic history; there is none that occasions
such heart rending grief to your historian of sensi-
bility, as the decline and fall of your renowned and
mighty empires! Like your well disciplined funeral
orator, whose feelings are properly tutored to ebb
and flow, to blaze in enthusiastic eulogy, or gush
in overwhelming sorrow -- who has reduced his
impetuous grief to a kind of manual -- has prepared
to slap his breast at a comma, strike his forehead
at a semicolon; start with horror at a dash -- and
burst into an ungovernable paroxysm of despair at
a note of admiration! Like unto him your woe be-
gone historian ascends the rostrum; bends in
dumb pathos over the ruins of departed greatness;
casts an upbraiding eye to heaven, a glance of in-
dignant misery on the surrounding world; settles
his features into an expression of unutterable agony,
and having by this eloquent preparation, invoked
the whole animate and inanimate creation to unite
with him in sorrow, draws slowly his white hand-
kerchief from his pocket, and as he applies it to his
face, seems to sob to his readers, in the words of a
most tear shedding dutch author, "You who have
noses, prepare to blow them now!" -- or rather, to
quote more literally "let every man blow his own

     Where is the reader who can contemplate
without emotion, the disastrous events by which
the great dynasties of the world have been extin-
guished? When wandering, with mental eye
amid the awful and gigantic ruins of kingdoms,
states and empires -- marking the tremendous con-
vulsions that shook their foundations and wrought
their lamentable downfall -- the bosom of the melan-
choly enquirer swells with sympathy, commen-
surate to the sublimity of the surrounding horrors --
each petty feeling -- each private misery, is over-
powered and forgotten; like a helpless mortal
struggling under the night mare; so the unhappy
reader pants and groans, and labours, under one
stupendous grief -- one vast immoveable idea -- one
immense, one mountainous -- one overwhelming
mass of woe!

     Behold the great Assyrian Empire, founded by
Nimrod, that mighty hunter,; extending its do-
mains over the fairest portion of the globe -- encreas-
ing in splendour through a long lapse of fifteen
centuries, and terminating ingloriously in the reign of
the effeminate Sardinapalus, consumed in the confla-
gration of his capital by the Median Arbaces.

     Behold its successor, the Median Empire, aug-
mented by the warlike power of Persia, under the
sceptre of the immortal Cyrus, and the Egyptian
conquests of the desert-braving Cambyses -- accu-
mulating strength and glory during seven centuries
-- but shook to its centre, and finally overthrown,
in the memorable battles of the Granicus, the Issus,
and the plains of Arbela, by the all conquering arm
of Alexander.

     Behold next the Grecian Empire; brilliant, but
brief, as the warlike meteor with which it rose and
descended -- existing but seven years, in a blaze of
glory -- and perishing, with its hero, in a scene of
ignominious debauchery.

     Behold next the Roman Eagle, fledged in her
Ausonean aerie, but wheeling her victorious flight
over the fertile plains of Asia -- the burning desarts
of Africa, and at length spreading wide her trium-
phant wings, the mistress of the world! But mark
her fate -- view the imperial Rome, the emporium
of taste and science -- the paragon of cities -- the
metropolis of the universe -- ravaged, sacked and
overturned by successive hordes of fierce barba-
rians -- and the unwieldly empire, like a huge but
over ripe pumpkin, splitting into the western em-
pire of the renowned Charlemagne, and the eastern
or Greek Empire of Leo the Great -- which latter,
after enduring through six long centuries, is dis-
membered by the unhallowed hands of the Saracens.

     Behold the Saracenic empire, swayed by the
puissant Gengis Khan, lording it over these con-
quered domains, and, under the reign of Tamer-
lane subduing the whole Eastern region. Then
cast an eye towards the Persian mountains. Mark
how the fiery shepherd Othman, with his fierce
compeers, descend like a whirlwind on the Nico-
median plains. Lo! the late fearless Saracen suc-
cumbs -- he flies! he falls! His dynasty is destroyed,
and the Ottoman crescent is reared triumphant on
its ruins!

     Behold -- but why should we behold any more?
Why should we rake among the ashes of extin-
guished greatness? -- Kingdoms, Principalities, and
Powers, have each had their rise, their progress,
and their fall -- each in its turn has swayed a mighty
sceptre -- each has returned to its primeval nothing-
ness. And thus did it fare with the empire of
their High Mightinesses, at the illustrious metro-
polis of the Manhattoes, under the peaceful reign
of Walter the Doubter -- the fractious reign of
William the Testy, and the chivalric reign of Peter
Stuyvesant -- alias, Pieter de Groodt -- alias, Hard-
koppig-Piet -- which meaneth Peter the Headstrong!

     The patron of refinement, hospitality, and the
elegant arts, it shone resplendent, like a jewel in a
dunghill, deriving additional lustre from the bar-
barism of the savage tribes, and European hordes,
by which it was surrounded. But alas! neither
virtue, nor talents, eloquence, nor economy, can
avert the inavertable stroke of fate. The Dutch
Dynasty, pressed, and assailed on every side, ap-
proached to its destined end. It had been puffed,
and blown up from small beginnings, to a most cor-
pulent rotundity -- it had resisted the constant in-
croachments of its neighbouring foes, with phleg-
matic magnanimity -- but the sudden shock of
invasion was too much for its strength.

     Thus have I seen a crew of truant urchins,
beating and belabouring a distended bladder, which
maintained its size, uninjured by their assaults --
At length an unlucky brat, more knowing than the
rest, collecting all his might, bounces down with his
bottom upon the inflated globe -- The contact of
contending spheres is aweful and destructive -- the
bloated membrane yields -- it bursts, it explodes
with a noise strange and equivocal, wonderfully re-
sembling thunder -- and is no more.

     And now nought remains but sadly and reluc-
tantly to deliver up this excellent little city into the
hands of its invaders. Willingly would I, like
the impetuous Peter, draw my trusty weapon and
defend it through another volume; but truth, un-
alterable truth forbids the rash attempt, and what
is more imperious still, a phantom, hideous, huge
and black, forever haunts my mind, the direful
spectrum of my landlord's bill -- which like a car-
rion crow hovers around my slow expiring history,
impatient of its death, to gorge upon its carcass.

     Suffice it then in brevity to say, that within
three hours after the surrender, a legion of British
beef fed warriors poured into New Amsterdam,
taking possession of the fort and batteries. And
now might be heard the busy sound of hammers
made by the old Dutch burghers, who industri-
ously nailed up their doors and windows to pro-
tect their vrouws from these fierce barbarians;
whom they contemplated in silent sullenness from
the attic story, as they paraded through the streets.

     Thus did Col. Richard Nichols, the comman-
der of the British force enter into quiet possession
of the conquered realm as locum tenant for the
duke of York. The victory was attended with no
other outrage than that of changing the name of
the province and its metropolis, which thenceforth
were denominated New York, and so have con-
tinued to be called unto the present day. The in-
habitants according to treaty were allowed to main-
tain quiet possession of their property, but so in-
veterately did they retain their abhorrence to the
British nation, that in a private meeting of the
leading citizens, it was unanimously determined
never to ask any of their conquerors to dinner.

     Such was the fate of the renowned province
of New Netherlands, and it formed but one link
in a subtle chain of events, originating at the cap-
ture of Fort Casimer, which has produced the pre-
sent convulsions of the globe! -- Let not this asser-
tion excite a smile of incredulity, for extravagant
as it may seem, there is nothing admits of more
conclusive proof -- Attend then gentle reader to
this plain deduction, which if thou are a king, an
emperor, or other powerful potentate, I advise thee
to treasure up in thy heart -- though little expecta-
tion have I that my work will fall into such hands,
for well I know the care of crafty ministers, to
keep all grave and edifying books of the kind out of
the way of unhappy monarchs -- lest peradventure
they should read them and learn wisdom.

     By the treacherous surprisal of Fort Casimer,
then, did the crafty Swedes enjoy a transient tri-
umph; but drew upon their heads the vengeance
of Peter Stuyvesant, who wrested all New Sweden
from their hands -- By the conquest of New Sweden
Peter Stuyvesant aroused the claims of Lord Bal-
timore, who appealed to the cabinet of Great Bri-
tain, who subdued the whole province of New Ne-
therlands -- By this great atchievement the whole
extent of North America from Nova Scotia to
the Floridas, was rendered one entire dependency
upon the British crown -- but mark the consequence
-- The hitherto scattered colonies being thus con-
solidated, and having no rival colonies to check
or keep them in awe, waxed great and powerful,
and finally becoming too strong for the mother
country, were enabled to shake off its bonds, and by
a glorious revolution became an independent em-
pire -- But the chain of effects stopped not here;
the successful revolution in America produced the
sanguinary revolution in France, which produced
the puissant Buonaparte who produced the French
Despotism, which has thrown the whole world in
confusion! -- Thus have these great powers been
successively punished for their ill-starred conquests
-- and thus, as I asserted, have all the present con-
vulsions, revolutions and disasters that overwhelm
mankind, originated in the capture of little Fort
Casimer, as recorded in this eventful history.

     Let then the potentates of Europe, beware how
they meddle with our beloved country. If the
surprisal of a comparatively insignificant fort has
overturned the economy of empires, what ( reason-
ing from analogy) would be the effect of conquer-
ing a vast republic? -- It would set all the stars and
planets by the ears -- the moon would go to logger-
heads with the sun -- the whole system of nature
would be hurled into chaos -- unless it was providen-
tially rescued by the Millenium!


     Containing the dignified retirement, and mortal sur-
render of Peter the Headstrong

     Thus then have I concluded this renowned
historical enterprize; but before I lay aside my
weary pen, there yet remains to be performed one
pious duty. If among the incredible host of readers
that shall peruse this book, there should haply be
found any of those souls of true nobility, which
glow with celestial fire, at the history of the gen-
erous and the brave, they will doubtless be anxious
to know the fate of the gallant Peter Stuyvesant.
To gratify one such sterling heart of gold I would
go more lengths, than to instruct the cold blooded
curiosity of a whole fraternity of philosophers.

     No sooner had that high mettled cavalier signed
the articles of capitulation than, determined not to
witness the humiliation of his favourite city, he
turned his back upon its walls and made a growling
retreat to his Bouwery, or country seat, which
was situated about two miles off, where he pass-
ed the remainder of his days in patriarchal re-
tirement. There he enjoyed that tranquillity of
mind, which he had never known amid the distract-
ing cares of government, and tasted the sweets of
absolute and uncontrouled authority, which his
factious subjects had so often dashed with the bitter-
ness of opposition.

     No persuasions could ever induce him to revisit
the city -- on the contrary he would always have his
great arm chair placed with its back to the windows,
which looked in that direction; until a thick grove
of trees planted by his own hand grew up and
formed a screen, that effectually excluded it from
the prospect. He railed continually at the degene-
rate innovations and improvements introduced by
the conquerors -- forbade a word of their detested
language to be spoken in his family, a prohibition
readily obeyed, since none of the household could
speak any thing but dutch -- and even ordered a fine
avenue to be cut down in front of his house, be-
cause it consisted of English cherry trees.

     The same incessant vigilance, that blazed forth
when he had a vast province under his care, now
shewed itself with equal vigour, though in nar-
rower limits. He patrolled with unceasing watch-
fulness around the boundaries of his little territory;
repelled every encroachment with intrepid prompt-
ness; punished every vagrant depredation upon his
orchard or his farm yard with inflexible severity --
and conducted every stray hog or cow in triumph
to the pound. But to the indigent neighbour, the
friendless stranger, or the weary wanderer, his spa-
cious door was ever open, and his capacious fire
place, that emblem of his own warm and generous
heart, had always a corner to receive and cherish
them. There was an exception to this, I must
confess, in case the ill starred applicant was an En-
glishman or a Yankee, to whom, though he might
extend the hand of assistance, he could never be
brought to yield the rites of hospitality. Nay, if
peradventure some straggling merchant of the east,
should stop at his door with his cart load of tin
ware or wooden bowls, the fiery Peter would issue
forth like a giant from his castle, and make such a
furious clattering among his pots and kettles, that
the vender of "notions" was fain to betake himself
to instant flight.

     His ancient suit of regimentals, worn threadbare
by the brush, were carefully hung up in the state
bed chamber, and regularly aired the first fair day
of every month -- and his cocked hat and trusty
sword, were suspended in grim repose, over the
parlour mantle-piece, forming supporters to a full
length portrait of the renowned admiral Von
Tromp. In his domestic empire he maintained
strict discipline, and a well organized, despotic
government; but though his own will was the su-
preme law, yet the good of his subjects was his
constant object. He watched over, not merely,
their immediate comforts, but their morals, and their
ultimate welfare; for he gave them abundance of
excellent admonition, nor could any of them com-
plain, that when occasion required, he was by any
means niggardly in bestowing wholesome correc-

     The good old Dutch festivals, those periodical
demonstrations of an overflowing heart and a thank-
ful spirit, which are falling into sad disuse among
my fellow citizens, were faithfully observed in the
mansion of governor Stuyvesant. New year was
truly a day of open handed liberality, of jocund re-
velry, and warm hearted congratulation -- when the
bosom seemed to swell with genial good-fellowship
-- and the plenteous table, was attended with an un-
ceremonious freedom, and honest broad mouthed
merriment, unknown in these days of degeneracy
and refinement. Paas and Pinxter were scrupu-
lously observed throughout his dominions; nor
was the day of St. Nicholas suffered to pass by,
without making presents, hanging the stocking in
the chimney, and complying with all its other cere-

     Once a year, on the first day of April, he used
to array himself in full regimentals, being the anni-
versary of his triumphal entry into New Amster-
dam, after the conquest of New Sweden. This
was always a kind of saturnalia among the domes-
tics, when they considered themselves at liberty in
some measure, to say and do what they pleased;
for on this day their master was always observed to
unbend, and become exceeding pleasant and jocose,
sending the old greyheaded negroes on April fools
errands for pigeons milk; not one of whom but al-
lowed himself to be taken in, and humoured his
old master's jokes; as became a faithful and well
disciplined dependant. Thus did he reign, happily
and peacefully on his own land -- injuring no man --
envying no man -- molested by no outward strifes;
perplexed by no internal commotions -- and the
mighty monarchs of the earth, who were vainly
seeking to maintain peace, and promote the welfare
of mankind, by war and desolation, would have
done well to have made a voyage to the little island
of Manna-hata, and learned a lesson in government,
from the domestic economy of Peter Stuyvesant.

     In process of time, however, the old governor,
like all other children of mortality, began to ex-
hibit evident tokens of decay. Like an aged oak,
which though it long has braved the fury of the
elements, and still retains its gigantic proportions,
yet begins to shake and groan with every blast --
so the gallant Peter, though he still bore the port
and semblance of what he was, in the days of his
hardihood and chivalry, yet did age and infirmity
begin to sap the vigour of his frame -- but his heart,
that most unconquerable citadel, still triumphed
unsubdued. With matchless avidity, would he
listen to every article of intelligence, concerning
the battles between the English and Dutch -- Still
would his pulse beat high, whenever he heard of
the victories of De Ruyter -- and his countenance
lower, and his eye brows knit, when fortune turned
in favour of the English. At length, as on a cer-
tain day, he had just smoked his fifth pipe, and was
napping after dinner, in his arm chair, conquering
the whole British nation in his dreams, he was
suddenly aroused by a most fearful ringing of bells,
rattling of drums, and roaring of cannon, that put all
his blood in a ferment. But when he learnt, that
these rejoicings were in honour of a great victory
obtained by the combined English and French
fleets, over the brave De Ruyter, and the younger
Von Tromp, it went so much to his heart, that he
took to his bed, and in less than three days, was
brought to death's door, by a violent cholera morbus!
But even in this extremity, he still displayed the
unconquerable spirit of Peter the Headstrong; hold-
ing out, to the last gasp, with most inflexible obsti-
nacy, against a whole army of old women, who were
bent upon driving the enemy out of his bowels,
after a true Dutch mode of defence, by inundating
the seat of war, with catnip and penny royal.

     While he thus lay, lingering on the verge of
dissolution; news was brought him, that the brave
De Ruyter, had suffered but little loss -- had made
good his retreat -- and meant once more to meet
the enemy in battle. The closing eye of the old
warrior kindled at the words -- he partly raised him-
self in bed -- a flash of martial fire beamed across
his visage -- he clinched his withered hand, as if
he felt within his gripe that sword which waved
in triumph before the walls of Fort Christina, and
giving a grim smile of exultation, sunk back upon
his pillow, and expired.

     Thus died Peter Stuyvesant, a valiant soldier
-- a loyal subject -- an upright governor, and an
honest Dutchman -- who wanted only a few em-
pires to desolate, to have been immortalized as a

     His funeral obsequies were celebrated with the
utmost grandeur and solemnity. The town was
perfectly emptied of its inhabitants, who crowded
in throngs to pay the last sad honours to their good
old governor. All his sterling qualities rushed in
full tide upon their recollections, while the memory
of his foibles, and his faults, had expired with him.
The ancient burghers contended who should have
the privilege of bearing the pall; the populace
strove who should walk nearest to the bier -- and
the melancholy procession was closed by a number
of grey headed negroes, who had wintered and sum-
mered in the household of their departed master,
for the greater part of a century.

     With sad and gloomy countenances the mul-
titude gathered round the grave. They dwelt with
mournful hearts, on the sturdy virtues, the signal
services and the gallant exploits of the brave old
veteran. They recalled with secret upbraidings,
their own factious oppositions to his government
-- and many an ancient burgher, whose phlegmatic
features had never been known to relax, nor his
eyes to moisten -- was now observed to puff a pen-
sive pipe, and the big drop to steal down his cheek
-- while he muttered with affectionate accent and
melancholy shake of the head -- "Well den -- Hard-
kopping Piet ben gone at last!"

     His remains were deposited in the family
vault, under a chapel, which he had piously
erected on his estate and dedicated to St. Nicholas
-- and which stood on the identical spot at present
occupied by St. Mark's church, where his tomb
stone is still to be seen. His estate, or Bouwery, as
it was called, has ever continued in the possession
of his descendants, who by the uniform integrity of
their conduct, and their strict adherence to the
customs and manners that prevailed in the good old
, have proved themselves worthy of their illus-
trious ancestor. Many a time and oft, has the
farm been haunted at night by enterprizing money-
diggers, in quest of pots of gold, said to have been
buried by the old governor -- though I cannot learn
that any of them have ever been enriched by their
researches -- and who is there, among my native
born fellow citizens, that does not remember, when
in the mischievous days of his boyhood, he con-
ceived it a great exploit, to rob "Stuyvesant's or-
chard" on a holliday afternoon.

     At this strong hold of the family may still be
seen certain memorials of the immortal Peter. His
full length portrait frowns in martial terrors from
the parlour wall -- his cocked hat and sword still
hang up in the best bed room -- His brimstone
coloured breeches were for a long while suspended
in the hall, until some years since they occasioned
a dispute between a new married couple -- and his
silver mounted wooden leg is still treasured up in
the store room as an invaluable relique.

     And now worthy reader, ere I take a sad fare-
well -- which alas! must be forever -- willingly would
I part in cordial fellowship, and bespeak thy kind
hearted remembrance. That I have not written a
better history of the days of the patriarchs is not
my fault -- had any other person written one, as good
I should not have attempted it at all. -- That many
will hereafter spring up and surpass me in excel-
lence, I have very little doubt, and still less care;
well knowing, that when the great Christovallo Co-
lon (who is vulgarly called Columbus) had once stood
his egg upon its end, every one at table could stand
his up a thousand times more dexterously. -- Should
any reader find matter of offence in this history, I
should heartily grieve, though I would on no ac-
count question his penetration by telling him he is
mistaken -- his good nature by telling him he is
captious -- or his pure conscience by telling him he
is startled at a shadow. -- Surely if he is so ingenious
in finding offence where none is intended, it were a
thousand pities he should not be suffered to enjoy
the benefit of his discovery.

     I have too high an opinion of the understand-
ing of my fellow citizens, to think of yielding them
any instruction, and I covet too much their good
will, to forfeit it by giving them good advice.
I am none of those cynics who despise the world,
because it despises them -- on the contrary, though
but low in its regard I look up to it with the most
perfect good nature, and my only sorrow is, that it
does not prove itself worthy of the unbounded love
I bear it.

     If however in this my historic production -- the
scanty fruit of a long and laborious life -- I have
failed to gratify the dainty palate of the age, I can
only lament my misfortune -- for it is too late in the
season for me even to hope to repair it. Already
has withering age showered his sterile snows upon
my brow; in a little while, and this genial warmth
which still lingers around my heart, and throbs --
worthy reader -- throbs kindly towards thyself, shall
be chilled forever. Haply this frail compound of
dust, which while alive may have given birth to
naught but unprofitable weeds, may form a humble
sod of the valley, from whence shall spring many a
sweet wild flower, to adorn my beloved island of


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