Settlements and Thrift of the Dutch

In the mean time the distant line of civilization was gradually approaching the territory of which we write. The Dutch had ventured north from their early occupation of Manhattan Island and commenced a settlement at Albany in 1613; in 1636 the English took a stride nearer when William Pynchon came down the old bay-path from Plymouth with his little band to found the city of Springfield, Mass.; while less than five years later, in 1640, the French had begun the settlement of Montreal.

In 1621 the Dutch West India Company was formed and, under their charter of 1614, took possession of New Amsterdam, as the fort with its surroundings on Manhattan Island was called. For fifteen years the most amicable relations existed between the Dutch and the Indians; but the harsh and unwise administration of William Kieft, who was appointed director-general in September, 1637, provoked the beginning of hostilities with the natives, which were kept up with more or less vindictiveness during the period of his administration. In May, 1647, Peter Stuyvesant succeeded Kieft as director-general or governor. He was the last of the Dutch officials in that capacity, and the firm and just course followed by him harmonized the difficulties with the Indians, and also with the Swedes, who had colonized in the region of the Delaware.

The New Amsterdam of the Dutch was fast developing in resources, for the missionary work of trading guns and rum to the Indians proved very profitable. But this thrift and prosperity of their cousins, the English could not quietly brook. Accordingly, on the 12th of March, 1664, Charles II conveyed by royal patent to his brother James, duke of York, all the country from the river St. Croix to the Kennebec, in Maine; also Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and Long Island, together with all the land from the west side of the Connecticut River to the east side of Delaware Bay. The duke sent an English squadron, under Admiral Richard Nicholls, to secure the gift, and on the 8th of September following Governor Stuyvesant capitulated, being constrained to that course by the Dutch colonists, who preferred peace with the same privileges and liberties accorded to the English colonists, to a prolonged and perhaps fruitless contest. Thus ended the Dutch régime. The English changed the name of New Amsterdam to New York.

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