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NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE.
NO. LII.—SEPTEMBER, 1854. — Vol. IX.
THE DUTCH ON MANHATTAN HIGH upon the walls of the govIl ernor's room in the capitol of the Knickerbockers, among the grave chief magistrates of state and city, hangs a small, dingy canvas, in a tarnished frame of antique workman. ship. Upon it was depicted, more than two hundred years ago, perhaps by the Vandyke-taught pencil of Van der Helst, a broad-ruffled, short-haired portrait, with an expansive, intellectual forehead, and a countenance fill of the dignity and courtly bearing of an honorable gentleman in thu time of the First King James of England. They are the features of a navigator, whose history is like a
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1854, by Harper and Brothers, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Vol. IX.-No. 52.-EE
meteor, brief and brilliant, but whose fame is as dor. A bold Prince of Portugal sent a bolder enduring as the hills from which gush the fount- navigator in that direction. The tropical sea was ains of the loveliest stream of our New World, traversed, and Bartholomew Diaz perisked off bearing his name. He was the discoverer of the the Cape of Tempests, which De Gama named River of the Mountains, at whose ocean-entrance Good Hope, as, eleven years later, he doubled it sits the Queen City of America—the commercial on his way to the waters of the East Indies. metropolis of the Western Continent.
| Yet it was a long way around that southern The picture of that bold navigator is seldom headland to the wealthy Cipangi and Cathay of seen, and more seldom noticed, except when some Marco Polo, from whence came the rich merchandhuman lion of the hour is caged there for exhibi- ise that filled the warehouses of Venice and Getion by the paternal guardians of the town. Most noa; and Columbus, big with a magnificent theof the children of the Dutch burghers of New ory concerning a shorter route, went to Lisbon in Amsterdam are as blissfully ignorant of that work search of instrumentalities to prove its truth. He of art (and, perchance, of the subject of it too), was foiled by ignorance in power. Widowed, as if it hung in the bamboo palace of the “King disappointed, and poor, he took his little son, of the Cannibal Islands." Think you, good cous- Diego, by the hand, turned his back on Portugal, ins of Manhattan, that such a counterfeit of and, through the good offices of a friar of Rabida, Captain Jones of the Mayflower, or the earlier he gained the ear of the pious Isabella, Queen of Sir Humphrey of the Squirrel, would long remain Spain. Her generous, womanly heart beat reunnoticed in Pilgrim Hall at Plymouth? Would sponsive to his own. She gave him money, and not its advent there be telegraphed to “all crea counsel, and friends; and, on a brilliant August tion” as quick as Puck could put a girdle 'round morning, in the year one thousand four hundred the earth? And would not every fragment of | and ninety-two, he worshiped in the Church of Plymouth rock,
St. George, at Palos, and before meridian he left “Wandering through the Southern countries, teaching
that port for the unknown regions of the stormy The ABC from Webster's spelling-book ;
Atlantic. Faith and Hope sat at his prow, and Gallant and godly, making love and preaching," earnest Will at his helm; and seventy days after roll thither in haste, with or without accumulated he left the fields of Andalusia behind him, the moss, to pay reverence, in the Mecca of New En- perfumes of flowers, borne upon the evening gland, to the likeness of the sea-king whose ves- breeze from the shores of a New World, gave sel bore the precious seeds of free institutions to their incense to his aspirations, and he was happy. a virgin soil? Yes! Well, then, let us not be Columbus went back to Europe with a gospel insensate to family distinction. We, too, have more acceptable to the human heart than that of PILGRIM FATHERS worthy of our reverence; and the Nazarene, which he proposed to carry to the a braver sea-king than Henry Hudson never heathen of the West. It was the glad tidings of launched his vessel in a fiord of Scandinavia, to Farther India (as he supposed) found in the traffic where he might, and conquer where he western wave. The missionaries of mammoncould. Come, then, go with me up to the capitol worship spread the news over Europe, and very this pleasant morning, and, standing before the soon ships were speeding with the course of the portrait of the venerated mariner, ponder that ex- sun from the seaboard countries of the Old World, ceedingly interesting episode in the chronicles of from Cape Trafalgar to the Bristol Channel. the world's progress, the story of The Dutch ON Ojeda and Vespucci went down the coast of MANHATTAN.
South America, from the Caribbean Sea; and When the mind of Europe began to awaken Cabot, after creeping along the fields of pack-ice from its medieval slumbers at the birth of the in- in Baffin's Bay, touched Labrador and Newfoundtellectual Messiah—the Printing-Press-it had land, and looked into the estuaries and inlets magnificent dreams of the long caravans of Iran along the shores of our Republic, away to the bearing rich merchandise from far-distant Ind, sunny land of the Carolinas. Verazzani sounded and of Sultan Solomon's - navy of Tarshish with at the mouth of the Cape Fear, sailed northward, the navy of Hiram," " bringing gold and silver, cast anchor in the bays of New York, Newport, ivory and apes, and peacocks” from afar. While and Boston, and gave the natives on Manhattan Western Europe had been slumbering longer aqua vita, almost eighty years before Hudson and more profoundly than the central and Ori- “ rode in five fathoms, oozy ground, and saw ental regions, the merchants of the Adriatic had many salmons and mullets, and rays very great" been meeting those caravans on the Eastern bord- within Sandy Hook. ers of the Euxine; and, growing rich and power- Then the Huguenots—the precious seeds of ful, had made the traffic of their continent trib- the French Reformation—were borne hither upon utary to themselves. Newly-awakened Portugal, the bitter winds of persecution, and sought root Spain, Holland, and Britain, coveted their wealth in the free soil of Florida. And Walter Raleigh, and power; but the ships of the West were not the gayest ornament of Elizabeth's court, sent allowed to float eastward of the Tyrrhe je Sea, men and ships to explore, plant colonies, and dig nor approach nearer the portals of India han the gold in the beautiful middle region of America ; island whereon St. Paul was shipwrecked. What while Cortoreal, and De la Roche, and Roberval, must be done? The African coast stretched Champlain, Gilbert, Gosnold, Pring, and others, away to the fancied region of fire under the equa- traversed the coast, from Cape Cod to Labrador, tor, and no man had passed beyond Cape Baja- in search of a northwest passage to India and the fancied gold regions of the Occident. The great tidal current placed the stern of his vessel upriver of Canada was discovered, and almost every stream during the night. This event, and the bay and inlet of our Atlantic border had been ex- assurances of the natives, who flocked to his vesplored ; and yet, until the very year when forty- sel in canoes, with oysters and vegetables, tha: seven learned men commenced the translation of the waters came from far beyond the mountai: 3, the Bible into our common version, there was no | inspired him with great hope, for he doubted not permanent settlement in America between New- that the river on which he was borne flowed from foundland and St. Augustine.
ocean to ocean, and would conduct him to the It was in that remarkable year, one thousand long-sought Cathay. six hundred and seven, that “ certaine worship With a glad heart Hudson voyaged on. The full Merchants of London" assembled in the par- magnificent Highlands were passed, and then hope lor of a son of Sir Thomas Gresham, and bar- failed, for the stream narrowed and the water begained with Henry Hudson to go in search of a came fresh. Yet there was enough to make his north-east passage to India, around the Arctic heart beat with highest pulsations of joy. He shores of Europe between Lapland and Nova was voyaging in the midst of a paradise of beauty, Zembla, and ice-ribbed Spitzbergen. Hudson on which the eye of a white man had never before was a resident of London, a friend of the famous gazed. Deputations of dusky men came to visit Captain John Smith, a bold and skillful mariner him, in wonder and awe, from the forest courts and man of science, and a pupil, it may be, of of the sachems. The new pathway to Cathay Drake, or Frobisher, or Grenville, in the naviga- was yet undiscovered by him, but he had penetor's art. He had ardently desired the opportu- trated a world undreamed of by European minds, nity for adventure and renown now offered. On and he had revealed a mystery greater than that May-day morning he knelt at the chancel in the of the polar highway. He pressed onward. The old Church of St. Ethelburge, in Bishopgate stream became narrower and fresher, and the Street, and partook of the sacrament, and soon shores lower, when suddenly the blue domes of afterward he left the Thames for the circumpolar the lofty Kaatsbergs, encircled with the glories waters. During two voyages he battled the ice- of an autumnal sunset, enchanted him with vipack manfully, off the North Cape, but without sions of wondrous beauty. The yacht-voyage success. Boreal frosts were too intense for the ended at Albany, but a boat's cr 'w went on, and brine, and cast impenetrable ice barriers across gazed upon the foaming Cohoes at the mouth of the eastern pathway of the sea. His employers the Mohawk. Had they penetrated the wilderpraised his skill and courage, but losing faith in ness a few leagues further, they might have met their scheme, abandoned the undertaking. The Champlain, who was then exploring the banks navigator, though foiled, was not disheartened. of the lake in northern New York which bears Finding no encouragement in England he went his name. to Holland, then the first maritime power on the Hudson returned to New York Bay, and, after earth. The Dutch East India Company, then a parting salutation with the Manhattans, and sending its uncouth argosies to every clime, glad taking formal possession of the country in the ly employed “the bold Englishman, the expert name of the government of Holland, he hastened pilot, and the famous navigator," of whose fame to Europe to carry the glad intelligence of his they had heard so much ; and his thoughts and discoveries to his employers at Amsterdam. He hopes were again with the perils of the Arctic first landed in England, and told his story of the seas.
| glorious land beneath the parallels of the North A yacht of ninety tons, called the Half Moon, Virginia Charter. The bigoted Scotch monarch was placed at Hudson's disposal, and with a on the throne of Elizabeth, jealous of the adchoice crew he sailed from Amsterdam on the vantages which the Dutch might derive from these twenty-fifth of March, sixteen hundred and nine, discoveries, would not allow Hudson to leave Enfor the coast of Nova Zembla. On the meridian gland, and for a long time the Half Moon lay idle of Spitzbergen, ice, fogs, and tempests disputed in the harbor of Dartmouth. But the key to those his passage, and he turned westward, passed the advantages was already in the hands of the Dutch; lower capes of Greenland, and made soundings for the navigator had sent his log-book, charts, on the banks of Newfoundland, on the second of and a full account of his voyage, to his AmsterJuly. He sailed along the coast to Charleston dam employers. And so the" cunning, covetous, Harbor, in search of a northwest passage “below wasteful, idle, drunken, greedy, dirty, cowardly, Virginia," spoken of by his friend Captain Smith. great swearer, and most conceited man on earth," In disappointment he turned his prow northward, as Dickens calls King James, was foiled in his discovered Dzia vare Bay, and on the third of narrow policy, and ine newly-discovered region September anchored “at two cables' length from was possessed by a population tenfold more worthe shore,” within Sandy Hook. He passed thy, as materials for the foundation of a state, through the gateway of the Narrows on the than the idle and dissolute men who were, at that eleventh, and, from his anchorage in the beautiful moment, lounging and half starving on the fertile New York Bay, he gazed in wonder and hope up banks of the Powhattan, in Virginia. the noble Mahicannittuck, whose waters came The fact that the new region discovered by rolling from the high hills in the north. Toward Hudson abounded in beavers, otters, and other evening the next day, he entered the broad stream, fur-bearing animals, excited the keenest commerand at twilight cast anchor at Yonkers. A strong cial cupidity of the Dutch, for they had recently
established a fur-trade with the people of Northern had been named Mauritius, in honor of the StadtRussia, and had realized large profits. As soon holder of the Netherlands, and Manbattan had as the Half Moon reached the Texel she was re- become a central place of deposit of the winnings fitted, and, with a part of the same crew, was of skillful Indian trappers, who came from the sent, with beads and other trinkets, to open a Delaware, the Housatonic, and even from the fartraffic in furs with the Indians on Manhattan and off Mohawk, with furs, the Dutch government its vicinity. Private adventurers sent vessel after began to perceive the importance of Hudson's vessel on the same errand, and within two years discoveries, and thought of political jurisdiction. after Hudson's return a regular and profitable fur- King James, too, had begun to growl, for he trade was established. It was unrestrained, for claimed the whole country from Acadie to Florida no government took cognizance of the matter for as English domain. some time. The Hongers, and Pelgroms, and The little seed of empire, less promising than Tweenhuysens were getting rich on enormous that of Dido, of Cecrops, or of Romulus, but with profits derived from the trade, and Captains De- a destiny far surpassing them in grandeur, was witt and Christiansen, Block and Mey, were be- planted on Manhattan five years after Hudson's coming famous navigators, before the free cities of departure from the Narrows. Adrian Block, one Amsterdam, Hoorn, Rotterdam, and Enckhuysen, of the boldest of the Dutch navigators of his time, had cast a serious political glance toward the new had filled his good ship Tiger with bear-skins, country. But when the River of the Mountains and was about to depart for Amsterdam, when
fire reduced his vessel to a wreck. December | guided her through the eddies of Hell Gate and snows had already fallen, and thick ice was gath- the waters of the Sound, discovered and explored ering in the coves. The small store-house of the the Quon-eh-ta-cut River, and then visited the associated traffickers was an insufficient shelter shores and islands of the coast to Nahant beach, for his crew, and the wigwams freely offered beyond Boston harbor. Then Captain Hendrickpromised cold comfort for the winter. So the son took her helm, and discovered and explored Dutchmen built themselves some rude log huts certain lands, a bay, and three rivers, situated bewhere the stately warehouses of Beaver Street tween thirty-eight and forty degrees of latitude;" now stand ; and before the Spring blossoms of and in mid-August, one thousand six hundred sixteen hundred and fourteen appeared, the oaks and sixteen, he stood before an oval table in the which sheltered bears on the slopes where Wall | Binnenhof of the palace of the ancient Counts Street bulls are to-day struggling in the stocks, of Holland, at the Hague, at which sat twelve were fashioned into a trim yacht of sixteen tons." high and mighty lords" of the States General. Block named it the Onrust--the “ Restless"-a Before the learned Barneveldt, at that counciltitle prophetic of that unresting commerce of board, he spread a “figurative map" of his diswhich it was the tiny germ. Such was the be- coveries, and asked their High Mightinesses to ginning of the city and trade of New York two give his Amsterdam employers special trading hundred and forty years ago.
privileges in the New World. Twenty months The Onrust became a famous explorer. Block before, the Greffin Aersson had drawn a charter