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Title: A History of Brooklyn and Kings County - in two volumes, Volume I.
Author: Ostrander, Stephen
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A History of Brooklyn and Kings County - in two volumes, Volume I." ***

[Illustration: (signed) Stephen M Ostrander]


    OF THE












    Published by Subscription

    Copyright, 1894,


    _All rights reserved._

    This Edition is limited to Five Hundred
    Copies, of which this is No. 21.


At the time of his death, in 1885, Mr. Ostrander had completed
considerable MS. for a history of the City of Brooklyn and Kings County;
had prepared many chronological notes with a view to fuller writing, and
had accumulated a mass of material in the form of transcripts,
references, newspaper and other reports. It was his own understanding
that a first volume of a proposed two-volume history might be regarded
as well in hand, and that the wherewithal for the remaining chapters was
advanced toward completion.

At the outset of his undertaking the editor met the embarrassment of not
finding any outline which might reveal the precise form in which the
author intended to cast his work. Mr. Ostrander worked with a definite
idea, but did not formulate this idea in writing, and only the completed
expressions of this idea remained for the guidance of the editor. It
became apparent that the author intended to rearrange and extend the
matter for the earlier chapters. This matter was preserved in the form
of a series of articles published in the Brooklyn "Eagle," during
1879-80, covering the period from the discovery by Hudson to the
beginning of the Revolution. The degree of attention which these
articles attracted induced Mr. Ostrander to extend the series far beyond
the range he originally intended to give to them. As a result these
articles were not precisely consecutive, nor was the matter so ordered
as to adapt itself to book chapters without material changes. Without
knowing the author's design in detail, it was exceedingly difficult to
effect these changes save upon lines which the natural symmetry of such
a work seemed to suggest, and the editor has had no hesitation in so
rearranging the material, and in changing such features of the narrative
as had been temporarily essential to serial publication.

For the middle period, extending from the opening of the Revolution to
the time of the consolidation of Brooklyn, Williamsburgh, and Bushwick,
the author left a full narrative, and considerable collateral material.
Beyond this point the chapters were in an unfinished sketch. In putting
together the elements of this part of the work, the editor has been
actuated by a wish to follow, so far as it might be apparent, the
author's aim and plan. Possibly there is no occasion to offer apology
for those passages in the body of the work, and particularly in the last
chapter on modern Brooklyn, in which the editor has carried the
narrative beyond the date of Mr. Ostrander's death. The few instances in
which this occurs are obviously justified by the exigencies of the work.
Nor should there be need for any defense on the part of the editor for
the proportions of different elements of the work as now presented. No
two historical writers would agree as to essential proportions in such a
matter, and, without consultation with the author, no editor could hope
to do more than compromise between such intent as appeared in unfinished
work before him, and such ideal as to himself seemed wise.

Both author and editor have incurred obligations to Stiles's histories
of Brooklyn and Kings County; to the "Notes" of Furman; Field's
"Historic Scenes"; the Collections of the Long Island Historical
Society; the histories of Thompson and Prime, and to other authorities
to whom acknowledgment is offered in the notes and in the body of the
work. The editor is indebted to the excellent almanacs of the "Eagle"
and of the "Citizen"; to the "Brooklyn Compendium," compiled by John
Dykeman, Jr., and published by order of the Common Council in 1870; to
the recent compilation, "The Eagle and Brooklyn," edited by Henry W. B.
Howard and Arthur N. Jervis; and to various local reports and
publications which do not call for enumeration here.

      A. B.

  BROOKLYN, N. Y., _March 5, 1894_.



  STEPHEN M. OSTRANDER                                             xi



  Geology and Conformation of Long Island. Evidences of the
    Glacial Period. Theory of the Glacial Action. "Back-Bone"
    of the Island. Earliest Historical Description. Trees.
    Animal Life. Indian Tribes: Their Subjugation by the
    Iroquois; Habits and Habitations                                1



  Early Voyagers. Henry Hudson. Attitude of Holland and Spain.
    Motives of Holland. Hudson's Reports. West India Company.
    Dutch on Manhattan Island. The Walloons and the Wallabout.
    Derivation of the Name Wallabout. First authentically
    recorded Settlements on Long Island. The Van Corlaer
    Purchase. Bennett and Bentyn's Purchase. Joris Jansen de
    Rapalje. Van Twiller. West India Company's Purchases
    on Long Island. East River Lands                               16



  The Dutch Policy toward the Indians. Puritan and Dutch Policy
    contrasted. Long Island Indians: Their Relations with the
    Whites. Kieft's Attacks on Pavonia and Corlaer's Hook.
    Uprising on Long Island. Overtures for Peace. Mission to
    Rockaway of De Vries and Olfertsen. Restoration of Friendly
    Relations                                                      42



  The Ferry and the Ferry Road. Settlement of Flatlands.
    Flatbush. Lady Deborah Moody and the Settlement of
    Gravesend. Early Settlements. The Name of Breuckelen.
    Henry C. Murphy's Comments. First Schepens and Schout.
    Commission from the Colonial Council. The Removal of Kieft.
    Arrival of Stuyvesant                                          53



  Beginning of Stuyvesant's Administration. Condition of the
    Colony. Character of the Early Dutch Houses. Household
    Arrangement. Dress. Funerals. Marriages. The Mixture of
    Races. Slavery. Religion. Attitude of Stuyvesant toward
    Sects other than Dutch Reformed. Triumph of Liberal Ideas.
    First Churches in Kings County. Troubles over the Church
    Tax. First Schools. The Dutch and Popular Education. End of
    Dutch Rule                                                     69



  Assembly at Hempstead. The "Duke's Laws." Lovelace. New York
    retaken by the Dutch. Colve becomes Governor. Return of
    English Rule under the Treaty of 1674. Dongan and the
    Popular Assembly. De Sille. Journal of Dankers and Sluyter.
    The Ferry. A Dutch Dinner. The Schoolmaster and the
    Constable. William and Mary and the Leisler Revolution.
    Sloughter appointed Governor. Execution of Leisler, and
    Subsequent Honors of a Public Reinterment. Long Island
    receives the name of Nassau. Development of Privateering.
    Captain Kidd visits and buries Treasure on Long Island.
    Bellomont and the Suppression of Piracy. First Trial for
    Treason                                                       106



  Brooklyn becomes the Largest Long Island Settlement.
    Division of the Common Lands. Regulations as to the Cutting
    of Lumber. The King's Highway laid out. Brooklyn Officials
    at the Opening of the Century. Lord Cornbury's Proclamation
    to Long Island Justices. Slavery. Encroachments on the
    Common Highway. The Trial of Zenger. Population in 1738.
    Fortifying Long Island. Newspaper Glimpses of
    pre-Revolutionary Life. Ferries. Kings County in the
    Assembly and the Provincial Convention. Philip Livingston.
    General Town Meeting in Brooklyn                              157



  Kings County at the Opening of the Revolution. Participation
    in Events leading to the Crisis. Military Officers. Long
    Island Tories. The Continental and Provincial Congresses.
    Fortifying. Declaration of Independence. General Greene on
    Long Island. Draft in Kings County. Landing of the British
    at Gravesend. The Battle of Brooklyn. The Night Retreat.
    British Occupation of the County. Temptations to Disloyalty
    toward the American Cause, and Action of the People under
    British Pressure. The County in Congress. Losses in the
    Battle. Incidents. Prisoners billeted on the Inhabitants of
    Kings County. Long Island Refugees. Conspicuous Figures of
    the Period. Peace                                             211



  PORTRAIT OF STEPHEN M. OSTRANDER                 _Frontispiece_

  THE FIRST BROOKLYN FERRY                          _Facing page_  38

  THE FERRY IN 1746                                               102

      Illustrations in Stiles's History of Brooklyn)              174

      lithographic illustration in Manual of the Common
      Council, 1863)                                              206

      Jeremiah Johnson)                                           260


The name of Stephen M. Ostrander has been honored in the city of
Brooklyn as that of a man whose career exemplified a stainless
citizenship. The honors have been not those of public favor offered in a
citizen's lifetime, nor of memorials after he has passed away, but the
monuments of a cherished memory, the recognition of a generous and
wholesome personality.

Stephen M. Ostrander was born February 3, 1832, in the city of Brooklyn.
He was of Dutch stock, his earliest ancestor in this country being
Pieter Ostrander, who came to America in 1659. When Pieter Ostrander
reached America with his wife and three children--a son, Pieter
Pieterszen,[1] and two daughters, Tryutje and Geertje--Peter Stuyvesant
was Governor of New Amsterdam, and the settlement on Manhattan Island
occupied a small patch of land on the southern point of the land now
occupied by the vast metropolis of New York. Settlers had been living on
the Brooklyn side of the East River for a little more than twenty
years, and the Indians were still a formidable obstacle to the peace of
the struggling young communities. Dutch immigration had not yet been
checked by that bloodless conquest of the British, which five years
later transformed New Amsterdam from a Dutch to an English colony, and
changed its name to New York.

We afterward find Pieter Pieterszen living at Kingston. This second
Pieter among the American Ostranders was born at Amsterdam, Holland, in
1650, and before coming to this country with his father had been
enrolled as a cadet in the army of the Dutch king. In 1679 he married
Rebecca, daughter of William Janszen Traphagen and Joostje Willems Van
Northwyck. Among the children from this marriage was Hendrick Ostrander,
born at New Hurley, N. Y., in 1693. Hendrick acquired the ownership of
two thousand acres of land at Plattskill, which were evenly divided
among his ten children. He was "a staunch adherent of the Reformed Dutch
Church,"[2] and served in the army previous to the Revolution. His
marriage to Elizabeth Van Bommel, of Kingston, took place in 1724. His
son Christoffer, born and died at Plattskill, was the father of Stephen
Ostrander, born at Poughkeepsie in 1769, and afterwards of Pompton
Plains and Brunswick, N. J., who was an eloquent minister of the Dutch
Church. An illustration of the conditions prevailing at this period is
offered by the fact that Stephen Ostrander preached in both English and

The clerical Ostrander, who made an interesting reputation as a preacher
in the early part of the present century, married Maria Duryea in 1796.
His son, Abraham Duryea Ostrander, born at Pompton Plains in the
following year, came to New York in his twelfth year, and began an
energetic business career. From his earliest years he was of a studious
tendency, and his self-acquired learning gave him an excellent mental
equipment. He became a ripe scholar and influential citizen. For many
years he led the first Sunday school in the Reformed Dutch Church of
Brooklyn (corner of William and Fulton streets), walking to the
meeting-place from his home at Flatbush. In 1820, he married Margaret T.
Wilson, daughter of Peter Wilson, LL. D., of Columbia College, the tutor
of Charles Anthon and other well-known scholars, and distinguished for
having drawn up the constitution of the State of New Jersey.

Abraham Duryea Ostrander's three sons were Peter Wilson, George A., and
Stephen M. Ostrander. George A. Ostrander, a graduate of Columbia
College and of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, was the first
house surgeon of the Long Island College Hospital. The other two
brothers became lawyers, and it is among the interesting traditions of
the Kings County bar that they were frequently in opposition in the same
case. Under such circumstances their professional steel clashed
brilliantly, but the firm affection between the brothers had no hint of
strife or rivalry.

Stephen M. Ostrander, born 1831, was educated in this city and at
Columbia College. He was admitted to the bar and began the practice of
law while a decidedly young man, but soon made his personality felt in
the life of the city. If his tastes led him to a studious life at home,
his gifts and ambitions drew him into those features of political
activity which demand voice as well as counsel. He championed the
Democratic party, and until the close of his life he spoke his loyalty
in no uncertain tones. He became one of the "war horses" of the party in
campaign times, and was a respected adviser in those political times of
peace when parties prepare for war. He would have made an admirable
public servant, but party conditions did not bring him to the front as a
candidate, though they welcomed his voice on the platform. He wished to
be surrogate, but the nomination he sought was given to Jacob I. Bergen.
He was not an insistent candidate within his party, and the rewards
which might reasonably be considered to have belonged to him had not
been bestowed at the time of his death.

As a lawyer, Mr. Ostrander was conscientious, painstaking, forcible. His
genial personality made him popular wherever he appeared. His strong
figure fitted his character, which was staunch and equable. By
temperament he was inclined to see the whimsical side of things, while
quick to exclude any element of this sort from matters commanding his
serious thought.

Stories concerning him reveal his quick humor. One day a witty but not
especially well-versed Irish lawyer called upon him for assistance in
preparing a case. One point of perplexity with the inquirer was as to
the motive power on the ferries before the use of steam. Knowing
Ostrander's familiarity with early Brooklyn history, the inquiring
lawyer demanded information as to this point. "Before the days of
steam," said Ostrander, "they used to have horse boats." "Horse boats?"
queried the lawyer, with a look of continued perplexity. "Yes." "Did the
horses swim ahead of them?" "No," solemnly returned Ostrander, "they had
four holes cut in the bottom of the boat; the horse's legs passed
through these holes, permitting him to walk on the bottom, and thus
propel the boat." "Good!" said the listener, "I'll win the case." And he

Mr. Ostrander's interest in American history was perhaps a natural
result of his ancestry and his tendencies as a student. He early began
the accumulation of historical material, and finally formed a definite
plan for writing a history of the city of Brooklyn and Kings County. He
was an active member of the Society of Old Brooklynites, frequently
addressing that body, and as a member of the Long Island Historical
Society,--in whose handsome hall, on Pierrepont Street, he was the first
to lecture under the auspices of the society,--he found many
opportunities to further his hobby of historical investigation. He also
entered that fraternity of descendants of Dutch stock, the Holland
Society of New York.

During the later years of his life he was a frequent contributor to the
newspapers and local magazines, generally upon topics directly related
to local history. Debated questions as to historical matters always
interested him, and his pen was ever ready with a casual comment. He was
a good debater, though not pugnacious, and never an ungenerous opponent.
In his profession, in his political associations, in his relations with
his fellow-citizens and with fellow-members of the different societies
to which he was attracted, he was always well poised, highly respected,
uniformly welcomed. His catholic tastes and sympathies gave him many
interests, as they gave him many friends. It was as natural that he
should be prominent in the Presbyterian Church, which he attended, as
that he should be a leading figure in the Masonic fraternity, to which
he was proud to own allegiance. His commanding figure, good voice, and
easy manner made him a popular speaker on social as well as public

Mr. Ostrander married Annie A. Hammond on August 7, 1866. His domestic
relations were in keeping with the fine symmetry of his character. No
marriage could have been happier. In the preparation of the historical
work which was incomplete when his short illness closed his life, he had
the loyal appreciation and assistance of his wife.

He died on November 19, 1885. The extent of his practice and income
might have indicated the probability of a considerable fortune, but he
was too open-handed to have become a rich man. He died worth a good




  Geology and Conformation of Long Island. Evidences of the Glacial
    Period. Theory of the Glacial Action. "Back-Bone" of the Island.
    Earliest Historical Description. Trees. Animal Life. Indian
    Tribes: Their Subjugation by the Iroquois; Habits and

The geology of Long Island has always been regarded as a particularly
interesting theme for those concerned in the study of such matters,
since the examination of its phases brings into view so many and such
various points of speculative interest. Prime in his "History of Long
Island"[3] remarks that "when we consider the retired situation of Long
Island, and how little it has excited the notice of travelers, it is not
surprising that its geological character as well as other peculiarities
should have remained so long unexplored. Until quite recently very few
scientific men have even deigned to give it a passing notice, though the
assertion may be safely hazarded that scarcely any other tract of land
of equal extent on the American Continent furnishes more abundant room
for the _imagination_ of geologists to play upon, or that imposes a
stronger necessity for _conjecturing_ the operation of some tremendous
agency, which in its freaks had invaded the domains of both the land and
the ocean, and after completing its sport had silently retired without
leaving a track to determine its origin or identify its form."

The geologist of the present day does not seem to regard the field as
one calling in the same degree for the exercise of the imagination,
though the more definite knowledge acquired and made familiar since the
time of the publication just quoted has in one sense vastly extended the
opportunity for speculation. Certainly it no longer can be said that
scientific men have neglected the investigation of the subject.

Commenting on the investigations of Dr. Dwight, Prime says:--

    "From all these considerations, the inference has been regarded
    as legitimate that Long Island was once through its whole extent
    attached to the main; and some powerful agency, the form of
    which is now left entirely to conjecture, forced the separation
    which is now marked by the intervening Sound. One of the most
    plausible suppositions is that the separation has been effected
    by some resistless torrent of water, which, under peculiar
    circumstances that it is impossible now to determine, has swept
    out the intervening land, and left its channel to be occupied by
    the waters of the ocean."

Thus vaguely were the early speculations set forth. With a well
developed glacial theory to aid him the modern geologist is able to
present a fairly circumstantial picture of probable conditions in the
past. We now know with reasonable certainty that Brooklyn rests on soil
that is a monument to a vast force quite different from any that were
included in the hesitating speculations of the early writers.

In an admirable review of the subject written by Charles M. Skinner we
are presented with a picturesque outline of the glacial theory. We are
reminded that Brooklyn stands on rubble that was rolled down from the
New England mountains to the northward by a glacier larger than the
combined areas of all the glaciers now existing on the earth. How many
thousands of years ago this great glacier began its work we may only
guess within somewhat liberal margins. This continent of ice covered the
whole of the northern part of North America, burying mountains beneath
its bulk and hollowing the beds of the great fresh-water seas that
Chicago and its sister cities front upon to-day, burying, too, for aught
we know, the remains of civilizations, though nothing at present has
been taken out of the glacial drift, except rude stone implements, to
show what the probable condition of man was at that time.

This ice lay so deep that not even Mount Washington barred its advance,
and to-day geologists find the summit of this mountain heaped with
blocks of stone that were dragged from other points and left there when
the ice melted; for glaciers are not stationary, like ice on ponds and
marshes, but have an onward movement toward their point of melting that
varies, with the slope of their beds, from six to thirty-six inches a
day. In Greenland the whole interior is covered with ice thousands of
feet thick, the movement of which is hindered by a wall of mountains
that nearly surrounds that island, but wherever a valley opens a way for
it the ice sends down a tongue to the sea, and from these tongues the
ocean currents break off the icebergs that float down the Atlantic. In
their descent these glaciers act as plows, wearing off so much earth and
rock from the hills that the icebergs are freighted with them, and where
they melt their stony burdens sink to the bottom of the sea, forming the
Grand Banks of Newfoundland.

The ice that buried upper North America acted in the same manner as the
Greenland ice to-day: it eroded the mountains, it sent off bergs, and
the rocks and gravel that it tore from the hills by a pressure of a
thousand tons to the square yard were dropped at its foot, where they
formed a moraine, as it is called. These moraines, which may be seen at
the feet of the glaciers in Switzerland and British Columbia, and that
sometimes make heaps and hills of rock, like rude forts, forty and fifty
feet high, are trifling affairs to the shoals left by the great glacier
of the ice age, for that can be traced from the Atlantic coast nearly to
the Mississippi River. Long Island, measuring approximately 120 miles in
length, is a small part of the dump of this glacier, and it is
sometimes possible to tell where the stones came from that are found on
the surface. For example, there are in Brooklyn anthophyllite from
Westchester county, feldspar and green mica from Fort George, basalt
from the Palisades of the Hudson, and a block of labradorite was found
on Myrtle Avenue that had been carried down from the Adirondacks, three
hundred miles.

The members of the United States geological survey, supported by the New
York and other state surveys, have studied into the course and volume of
the glacier and mapped its moraine from Montauk Point westward nearly
half across the continent. By this survey we learn that the gneiss that
crosses under the East River and approaches the surface at Astoria, is
the only bed rock to be found on Long Island, Brooklyn resting on a
cushion of glacial drift that in some places is three hundred feet deep.
Originally there were cliffs of gneiss edging the Atlantic, but the
great glacier shaved these down to mere ledges. Central Park, New York,
preserves a number of these ledges, rounded off into "sheep backs" and
scratched by the pieces of stone that formed a grinding surface to the
under side of the ice, while every now and then a boulder comes to the
top of the ground in Brooklyn that is scored and almost polished by
rubbing against those ledges. Pieces from that very outcrop in Hell Gate
are found in Brooklyn streets.

We are also reminded in Mr. Skinner's review that manufacturers of
brick, tile, terra cotta, pottery, and porcelain in other states have to
rely in part on the clay beds that environ Brooklyn for their material,
and, in fact, that clay and sand are the only economic mineral products
of Long Island. The explanation of this is that Brooklyn clays are rich
in silica, which is apt to be deficient in the clays of New Jersey.
Without silica the clays are weak, and bricks and utensils made from
them readily crack and crumble; but by mixing properly the best results
are obtained. Excellent sand for glass-making is also found in and near

There are many evidences in support of the theory that since the
completion of the great glacier's work the surface of Long Island has
subsided considerably. A recent writer[4] on the geology of Long Island

    "The shore at the west end of the island has also undergone
    decided changes--even within the memory of persons now living.
    Personal witnesses have testified that about the first of this
    century Coney Island was composed of high and extensive sand
    hills, which have since been flattened down to a low beach,
    sometimes covered by the tides. About the same time salt
    meadow-grass was annually cut on a part of the beach now far out
    into the ocean. We are also informed that cedar-trees were cut
    for fence-posts, and other timber for firewood, about 150 years
    ago, on land which is now submerged by the ocean a mile and a
    half or two miles from the shore. There was also a house
    standing upon what was known as Pine Island, the site of which
    is now beneath the breakers, at a considerable distance from the
    present shore."

Within the range of Kings County a stratum of salt meadow has been found
at a depth of one hundred and twenty feet, and at other points within
the county shells have been found fifty and sixty feet below the
surface. What is generally called the "back-bone of Long Island" is a
ridge of low hills beginning at the western end within the limits of
Kings County and running almost the whole length of the Island. Of the
boulders or erratic blocks found on the Island in this central range of
hills and between them and the north shore, Mr. Bayles writes:--

    "The boulders or erratic blocks found upon the Island are mostly
    met with on the central range of hills and between them and the
    north shore. They are often contained in a stratum which is
    interstratified with deposits of sand, clay, and gravel, and is
    often exposed along the coast. Some of the blocks, when first
    disinterred, exhibit scratches upon one or more of their sides.
    Rocks of the same constituent formation are found in Rhode
    Island, Connecticut, and along the Hudson River. And those of
    the Island, in their variations, correspond so accurately with
    the rocks of the localities mentioned that it seems probable
    that they came from those localities. For example, the boulders
    on the east end are like the granite, gneiss, mica slate,
    green-stone, and sienite of Rhode Island and the east part of
    Connecticut; opposite New London and the mouth of the
    Connecticut River are boulders like the granites, gneiss, and
    hornblende rock of those localities; opposite New Haven, are
    found the red sandstone and conglomerate, fissile and micaceous
    red sandstone, trap conglomerate, compact trap, amygdaloid and
    verd antique; opposite Black Rock are the granites, gneiss,
    hornblende, quartz, and white lime-stone, like those in
    Fairfield County; and from Huntington to Brooklyn, hornblende,
    crystalline lime-stone, trap, red sandstone, gneiss, and
    granite, are the same in appearance as those found in the
    vicinity of the Hudson River."

The earliest historical description of Long Island, in Daniel Denton's
"A Brief Description of New York, formerly called New Amsterdam,"
published in London in 1670, remarks that "the greatest part of the
Island is very full of timber, as Oaks, white and red, Walnut-trees,
Chestnut-trees, which yield stores of Mast, etc." The same record says:

    "For wild beast there is Deer, Bear, Wolves, Foxes, Raccoons,
    Otters, Musquashes, and Skunks. Wild fowl there is a great store
    of, as Turkeys, Heath-hens, Quails, Partridges, Pigeons, Cranes,
    Geese of several sorts, Brants, Widgeons, Teal, and divers
    others. Upon the south side of Long Island in the winter lie
    store of Whales and Grampusses, which the inhabitants begin with
    small boats to make a trade, catching to their no small benefit.
    Also, an innumerable multitude of seals, which make an excellent
    oyle; they lie all the winter upon some broken Marshes and
    Beaches or bars of sand before mentioned, and might be easily
    got were there some skilful men would undertake it."

Prime (1845) mentions the "remarkable fact in the natural history of
this small territory, that of all the _land-birds_ belonging to the
United States, either as resident or migratory, two thirds of them are
to be found on Long Island; of the _water-birds_ a still larger

It is estimated that at the time of its discovery representatives of
thirteen different Indian tribes occupied Long Island. The region of
Kings County was occupied by the Canarsie tribe, which included the
Nyacks at New Utrecht, the Marechawicks at Brooklyn, and the Jamecos at
Jamaica. The headquarters of the tribe was in the vicinity of modern
Canarsie. From the names of the other tribes scattered over the
Island--the Rockaways, Montauks, Merricks, Manhassets, Patchogues,
Shinnecocks, etc.--many of the town and village names of the Island are
drawn. The names Paumanacke and Seawanhacka have been applied both to
the grand sachems elected by all the Indian tribes and to the Island
itself, which has also been given the title of Wamponomon.

The last mentioned name was evidently suggested by the fact that the
chief business of the tribes in this region was the making of _wampum_,
the shell-money of the Indians, and an article of manufacture for
ornamental purposes also. The Island was rich in shells, and these were
ground, polished, pierced for stringing. In the earlier tradings for
land the red men were eager to get _runxes_, a brad awl with which they
pierced the shell. They made various forms of earthenware for domestic
purposes; their war implements were often of admirable workmanship; and
their canoes were of a size and strength demanded by the hazards of the
journeys they undertook upon sea and Sound.

    "In regard to their religion," says Prime, "the Long Island
    Indians were polytheists and idolaters. Besides the good and the
    evil spirit, to each of which they seemed to ascribe supreme
    power, they had a god for each of the four corners of the earth,
    the four seasons of the year, the others of the elements of
    nature, the productions of the earth, the vicissitudes of day
    and night, besides a number of domestic deities. The good deity
    they called _Cauhlantoowut_, and the evil spirit was named
    _Mutcheshesumetook_; to both of which they paid homage and
    offered sacrifices. They had small idols or images which, they
    supposed, were acquainted with the will of the gods, and made it
    known to the _pawwaws_, or priests. These possessed unbounded
    influence, from their supposed intercourse with the gods and
    knowledge of their will. Their religious festivals were attended
    with the most violent gesticulations and horrible yells, as well
    as other disorders. They firmly believed in a future state of
    existence, in a far distant country to the west, where the brave
    and good would enjoy themselves eternally in singing, feasting,
    hunting, and dancing; while the coward and traitor, the thief
    and liar, would be eternally condemned to servile labor--so much
    despised by the Indian--which in its results should be attended
    with endless disappointment. The dead were buried in all their
    personal attire, and, if warriors, in their arms. The body was
    placed in a sitting posture, and after being covered up, a bowl
    of _scaump_ (pounded corn) was placed on the grave to support
    the occupant on his imagined journey. The period of mourning
    continued a full year, the close of which was celebrated with a
    feast, accompanied with dancing that continued from the setting
    to the rising of the sun. It was a peculiar custom of this
    singular people never to mention the names of their departed
    friends after their remains were deposited in tombs, and it was
    regarded as an insult if repeated by others. Every wigwam in
    which death occurred was immediately demolished, and a new one,
    if needed, erected in its stead."

The wigwams of the Indians were designed each to accommodate a number
of families, the bark-covered frame being of eighteen to twenty feet in
width, and a length of one hundred and fifty feet or more, as might be
required by the number of the families that were to occupy it. An
opening at the ridge gave escape to the smoke from the family fires.

The Long Island Indians, notwithstanding the strength which might be
presumed to have resulted from their insular position, were under the
rule of the masters on the continent. The tribes to the east yielded to
the New England Pequods. The Canarsies bowed to the majestic despotism
of the Iroquois.[5]

Under the species of "protection" enforced by the Iroquois, the
Canarsies were obliged to pay regular tribute for the privilege of being
unmolested, and much of this tax was doubtless paid in wampum. The
collection of this tax seems at the time of the first white settlements
to have been intrusted to the Mohawks, who were members of the
confederacy. When the tax was due it had to be delivered, or the
debtors were likely to hear from headquarters. Samuel Jones, writing in
1817, says[6] that there is no evidence that the Indians on Long Island,
eastward of about thirty miles from New York, were tributary to the Five
Nations; and adds that "we have no reason to believe that the Five
Nations had any war with the Indians on Long Island after it was settled
by Europeans." Furman[7] regards this statement as extraordinary, and
offers evidence of the fact that farmers coming to New York city in the
fall of the year from the east end of Long Island, during the early
period of settlement, brought with them quantities of wampum to be
forwarded as tribute to the Iroquois masters at Albany. It has
frequently been claimed by historical writers that the consistory of the
Dutch Church at Albany were for many years the agents for the receipt of
tribute from the Montauks and other Indians on the eastern end of Long
Island, which, if a fact, was, as we shall see, entirely consistent with
the conservative attitude of the Dutch pioneers.



  Early Voyagers. Henry Hudson. Attitude of Holland and Spain.
    Motives of Holland. Hudson's Reports. West India Company. Dutch
    on Manhattan Island. The Walloons and the Wallabout. Derivation
    of the Name Wallabout. First authentically recorded Settlements
    on Long Island. The Van Corlaer Purchase. Bennett and Bentyn's
    Purchase. Joris Jansen de Rapalje. Van Twiller. West India
    Company's Purchases on Long Island. East River Lands.

It is possible that in the voyages of the Cabots, Long Island was
sighted if not touched; and the voyage of Esteben Gomez in 1524, "to
find a way to Cathay," may leave the same possibility. There is every
probability that the Spaniard, Giovanni da Verrazano, who in 1524 made a
voyage to this country in the interest of France,--the first official
French exploration in this direction,--entered New York harbor. From the
account of this mariner it appears likely that he skirted the coast of
Long Island, saw Block Island, giving to it the name of Louisa, mother
of Francis I., and anchored in the harbor of Newport. Those who care to
speculate as to possible visitors early in the sixteenth century, may
take account also of the voyage of Lucas Vasquez de Aillon and Matienzo,
made in 1526.

That one at least of the early Spanish voyagers, all of whom were
looking for a passage to India, had seen the region of the coast on
which Long Island lies, is indicated by the presence in England of a map
which was in existence before Henry Hudson made his first voyage. In
this map the name Rio de San Antonio is given to the river afterward
named after Hudson.

This being the case it is not to be considered as certain, if it is to
be considered as likely, that Henry Hudson really sailed across the
Atlantic with any idea of finding either a northwest passage to India,
or in hope of finding somewhere under 40° north latitude any passage to
the western ocean.

Why Henry Hudson should formally have pretended to seek such a passage
will appear from a glance at the political situation at the time of his

When Hudson left Europe, Holland and Spain were at swords' points.
Carlyle has pithily summed up the case: "Those Dutch are a stirring
people. They raised their land out of a marsh, and went on for a long
period of time herding cows and making cheese, and might have gone on
with their cows and cheese till doomsday. But Spain comes and says, 'We
want you to believe in St. Ignatius.' 'Very sorry,' replied the Dutch,
'but we can't.' 'God! but you _must_,' says Spain; and they went about
with guns and swords to make the Dutch believe in St. Ignatius. Never
made them believe in him, but did succeed in breaking their own
vertebral column forever, and raising the Dutch into a great nation."

The Dutch were well acquainted with the work of the Spanish explorers,
and the idea of contesting with Spain for a share in the profits and
advantages of transatlantic discovery grew out of the war with Spain. At
this time international law gave to a sovereign any new land discovered
in his name, and not already laid hold upon by any Christian prince. If
Holland was to fight Spain in America it would be useful to have at
least the shadow of a tenable international claim; and so Hudson ignored
the earlier Spanish voyages in assuming to discover the river to which
his name was given, and the land thereabouts which the Dutch, with
beautiful political audacity, first claimed to own by right of
discovery, and afterward claimed to own through Spain as "first
discoverer and founder of that New World."

The first proposition to make a Dutch expedition to America came from an
Englishman, a sea captain named Beets. The States-General refused this
offer, but jealousy of Spain's resources in the New World kept alive the
ambitions of the Dutch and finally resulted in the formation of the West
India Company.

The theory of this company was both commercial and political. The scheme
was first broached by an exiled Antwerp merchant, William Usselinx, in
1592. Before it came to completion a Greenland Company came into
existence, and, while feigning to hunt up a northwest passage, its ships
are said to have sailed into the North River, and to have landed on
these shores in 1598. It was not until 1606 that Usselinx's ideas were
formulated in a working plan. The company might then have been fully
formed had not talk of a peace with Spain made it politically unwise to
risk the adventure.

When in 1609 Henry Hudson, the English sailor, who already had made
several voyages across the Atlantic, offered his services to the West
India Company, it was ostensibly to seek a passage to India. The
Amsterdam chamber of the company fitted out Hudson in the "Half Moon,"
which sailed out of the Texel on April 4, 1609.

Whatever may have been Hudson's intentions as to any search for a
northwest passage, he abandoned such a search in favor of one for a more
southerly passage, having, it is said, been told by Captain John Smith
"that there was a sea leading into the Western Ocean by the north of

After landing at Newfoundland, at Penobscot Bay, and at Cape Cod, Hudson
found Delaware Bay; but a week later, realizing that he was too far
south, he steered the Half Moon into the "Great North River of New
Netherland." It is the tradition that during the exploration of the
great bay and river a boat's crew from the Half Moon made its first
landing on Long Island, at the sandy shore of Coney Island; but there
might seem to be a likelihood that a landing would be made further to
the north.

The Long Island Indians whom Hudson met were representatives of the
Canarsie tribe. These Indians visited the Half Moon without fear, and
gladly welcomed the strangers, doubtless looking upon them with much
awe. Hudson says "they brought with them green tobacco to exchange for
knives and other implements. They were clad in deerskins and expressed a
wish to obtain a supply of European clothing." Some of them were decked
in gay feathers and others in furs. Hudson refers to the stock of maize
or Indian corn, "whereof they make good bread." It thus would appear
that the Island had a good reputation two hundred and seventy years ago
for corn, which it still maintains. They also had a good supply of hemp
which they offered in trade, and must have understood its manufacture in
a rude way.[8]

Hudson remarks, "that upon landing he saw a great store of men, women,
and children, who gave them tobacco." In his account he describes the
country "as being full of great tall oaks." He says "the lands were as
pleasant with grass and flowers and goodly trees as ever they had seen,
and very sweet smells came from them."

The pleasant relations between Hudson and the Indians did not continue
very long. Hudson does not state how the difficulty arose, but one of
his men was killed with an arrow and two others wounded. The
unfortunate man was buried on the point of Coney Island, which Hudson
named Colman's Point, in honor of the dead seaman.

Hudson remained for a month, pursuing his explorations of the river
which has since carried his name, and then set sail for Holland. The
news which the explorer brought home was of a sort to arouse the
interest of the Dutch people.

Hudson told of a rich region alive with fur-bearing animals,--an
important circumstance to speculators in a cold country like that of
Holland, where the question of warm clothing was always to the fore. The
immediate result of Hudson's reports was the launching of many private
ventures and an urgent movement to complete the organization of the West
India Company. It was not until 1621 that the States-General at last
signed the charter, and meanwhile traders had established themselves on
Manhattan Island.

Although the English in Virginia were beginning to express their
theories of claim to the Hudson region, the West India Company went into
possession in 1623, sending as director, Adrien Jorissen Tienpont, who
made stronger the fortification at Manhattan Island, and built a new
fortification near that placed by the advance guard of Dutch traders (in
1618) near Albany. This post was called Fort Orange.

Tienpont was succeeded in 1626 by Peter Minuit, who was not long in
making a bargain with the Indians for the whole of Manhattan Island. The
price paid was about twenty-four dollars.

In making this significant purchase Minuit and those whom he represented
had in mind to make the Manhattan Island settlement the principal centre
of trade and colonization, if anything like colonization may be said to
have occupied the attention of the Dutch at the time. There was, indeed,
a passage in the charter of 1621, by which the company was required "to
advance the peopling of these fruitful and unsettled parts," but actual
colonization was not a matter of much thought until the later exigencies
of trade made the subject important. Followed as it was by the
organization under a charter of a council with supreme executive,
legislative, and judicial authority, the movement under Minuit is to be
regarded as the foundation of the present state of New York.

It was shortly before the appointment of Minuit as Director of New
Netherland that a number of Walloons applied to Sir Dudley Carleton,
principal Secretary of State to King Charles I., for permission to
settle in Virginia.

    "These Walloons," says Brodhead, "whose name was derived from
    their original 'Waalsche' or French extraction, had passed
    through the fire of persecution. They inhabited the southern
    Belgic provinces of Hainault, Namur, Luxemburg, Limburg, and
    part of the ancient bishopric of Liège, and spoke the old French
    language. When the northern provinces of the Netherlands formed
    their political union at Utrecht, in 1579, the southern
    provinces, which were generally attached to the Romish Church,
    declined joining the confederation. Many of their inhabitants,
    nevertheless, professed the principles of the Reformation.
    Against these Protestant Walloons the Spanish government
    exercised the most rigid measures of inquisitorial vengeance,
    and the subjects of an unrelenting persecution emigrated by
    thousands into Holland, where they knew that strangers of every
    race and creed were sure of an asylum and a welcome. Carrying
    with them a knowledge of the arts, in which they were great
    proficients, they were distinguished in their new home for their
    tasteful and persevering industry. To the Walloons the Dutch
    were probably indebted for much of the repute which they gained
    as a nation in many branches of manufactures. Finding in Holland
    a free scope for their religious opinions, the Walloons soon
    introduced the public use of their church service, which to this
    day bears witness to the characteristic toleration and
    liberality of the Fatherland."

The Virginia company, whether for want of cordiality or other reason,
did not attract the colonizing ardor of the Walloons, who turned to New
Netherland, and a party of them came over with Minuit.

The lands first allotted to the Walloons were on Staten Island. It is
possible that this situation seemed to the French exiles too remote from
the protection of the Manhattan Island fort. However they may have been
influenced, certain of the new-comers chose rather to settle at Fort
Orange and others at that bend in the East River which has since been
known as the Wallabout.

Various explanations of the name Wallabout have been offered. That of a
derivation from _wahlebocht_, bay of the foreigners, has been favorably
received; but Stiles[9] quotes Samuel Alofsen [from the "Literary
World," No. 68, May 20, 1848] as maintaining that the locality was named
by the early Dutch settlers prior to the arrival of the Walloons; that
the name is derived from _een waal_, basin of a harbor or inner harbor,
and _een bogt_, a bend, and that, like its European namesake in the city
of Amsterdam, it signifies "The Bend of the Inner Harbor."

Notwithstanding the indications which several writers have assumed to
find of settlement at the Wallabout during or shortly after the year
1623, there is an absence of definite evidence of any actual settlement
at any date so early, and probabilities are entirely against a
settlement at that time so far from the fort. There were early
hunting-lodges and temporary trading-houses incidental to the shooting
and trading trips of those occupying the Manhattan Island settlement,
and there is the possibility that unrecorded residence by the Walloons
or others may have been established at the Wallabout before the recorded
grants. But for definite evidence of a first settlement in the shape of
an authoritative taking of land we must turn to the purchase by Jacob
Van Corlaer in 1636.

Van Corlaer was an official under the administration of the new
Director of New Amsterdam, Van Twiller. The Director himself, who had
been a clerk in the West India Company's office, had great eagerness for
acquiring territory. He bought from the Indians a part of Connecticut,
and planted near the present site of Hartford a fort, which he could not
but understand would be a thorn in the side of the English. Not only did
he freely spend the government's money in buying land and strengthening
fortifications on a most ambitious plan, but he granted to himself and
favored officials associated with him choice pieces of land on Manhattan
Island, and across the river on Long Island. The year following the Van
Corlaer grant, Van Twiller's conduct, which all but ruined the company,
resulted in his recall, and the appointment of William Kieft as his

At this time the settlement on Manhattan Island occupied only a very
small region below the present Battery Place. Its main feature was the
fort, whose protecting presence was one of the inducements which the
Company extended to colonists. A decree issued in 1629 declared that any
member of the West India Company who, under certain easy conditions,
should form a settlement of not less than fifty persons, none of whom
should be under fifteen years of age, should be granted a tract of land
fronting sixteen miles upon the sea or upon any navigable river (or
eight miles when both shores of the river were occupied), and extending
thence inland indefinitely; and that the _patroons_ to whom such grants
of land should be made should exercise manorial rights over their

The provisions were sufficiently liberal to assure the making of many
minor settlements, and it was natural that many eyes should be turned
toward the softly undulating country on the southeast of the East River.
The official land-grabbing under Van Twiller retarded rather than
advanced colonization. Indeed, the company scarcely fulfilled the
obligations of the charter in sending colonists to the new region.

The grant to Van Corlaer appears as a purchase from the Indians of a
"flat" of land called "Casteteeuw, on Sewan-hackey, or Long Island." The
same date is given to grants to Andries Hudde and Wolfert Gerritsen of
flats to the west of Van Corlaer's, Van Twiller himself getting the
desirable land to the east.

These purchases, amounting to 15,000 acres, were in a level region,
reported already to have been cultivated to some extent by the Indians,
and appealing to men brought up in a flat country, and unaccustomed to
wood-clearing, as superior to the regions having a heavy tree growth.
Plows were soon at work, and from the settlement thus begun grew the
village of "New Amersfoort," now the town of Flatlands.

In the same year (1636) the Indians sold to William Adriaense Bennett
and Jacques Bentyn a tract of 930 acres at Gowanus, a region so named by
the Indians. The tract extended from the vicinity of Twenty-eighth
Street, along Gowanus Cove and the bay, to the New Utrecht line. The
transaction is described in the following record:--

    "On this 4th day of April (English style), 1677, appeared before
    me Michil Hainelle, acknowledged as duly installed Clerk and
    Secretary, certain persons, to wit: Zeuw Kamingh, otherwise
    known in his walks (or travels) as Kaus Hansen, and Keurom, both
    Indians, who, in presence of the undersigned witnesses, deposed
    and declared, that the limits or widest bounds of the land of
    Mr. Paulus Vanderbeeck, in the rear, has been or is a certain
    tree or stump on the Long Hill, on the one side, and on the
    other the end of the Indian foot-path, and that it extends to
    the creek of the third meadows, which land and ground, they
    further depose and declare, previous to the present time, was
    sold by a certain Indian, known as Chief or Sachem Ka, to
    Jacques Bentyn and William Adriaense (Bennett), the latter
    formerly the husband of Marie Thomas, now the wife of Mr. Paulus
    Vanderbeeck; which account they both maintain to be the truth,
    and truly set forth in this deposition.

    "In witness of the truth is the original of this with the said
    Indians' own hands subscribed, to wit: By Zeuw Kamingh or Kaus
    Hansen, with this mark ( ) and by Keurom with this mark ( ) in
    the presence of Lambert Dorlant, who by request signed his name
    hereto as a witness. Took place at Brookland on the day and date
    above written.

    "Compared with the original and attested to be correct.

        "Michil Hainelle, _Clerk_."

Three years afterward Bentyn sold to Bennett all or nearly all of his
share of the land acquired in this early sale.

The purchase by Bentyn and Bennett is to be regarded as the first
exchange of property looking to a settlement within the limits of the
present city of Brooklyn. It was in the following year that a second
purchase was made by Joris Jansen de Rapalje, who was one of the
Walloon emigrants who came over with Minuit in 1623. Rapalje's first
residence after reaching this country was at Fort Orange (Albany). In
1626 he removed to New Amsterdam. In June, 1637, he bought a tract
adjoining the Rennegackonk, a little Long Island stream entering the
East River at "the bend of Marechkawieck," at the Wahlebocht or the
present Wallabout. There were about 335 acres in the purchase, part of
the land now being represented by the grounds of the Marine Hospital.

At this time Rapalje lived on the north side of the river road, now
Pearl Street, and on the south side of the fort. Writing of this period
Thomas A. Janvier says:--

    "Actually, only two roads were established when the town of New
    Amsterdam was founded, and these so obviously were necessary
    that, practically, they established themselves. One of them, on
    the line of the present Stone and Pearl Streets,--the latter
    then the waterfront,--led from the Fort to the Brooklyn Ferry at
    about the present Peck Slip. The other, on the line of the
    present Broadway, led northward from the Fort, past farms and
    gardens falling away toward the North River, as far as the
    present Park Row; and along the line of that street, and of
    Chatham Street, and of the Bowery, went on into the wilderness.
    After the Palisade was erected, this road was known as far as
    the city gate (at Wall Street) as the Heere Straat, or High
    Street; and beyond the wall as the Heere Wegh--for more than a
    century the only highway that traversed the Island from end to

Rapalje followed the example of the colonists in general in snuggling
close to the Fort. The writer just quoted remarks:--

    "Upon the town rested continually the dread of an Indian
    assault. At any moment the hot-headed act of some angry colonist
    might easily bring on a war. In the early autumn of 1655, when
    peaches were ripe, an assault actually was made: being a
    vengeance against the whites because Hendrick Van Dyke had shot
    to death an Indian woman whom he found stealing peaches in his
    orchard (lying just south of the present Rector Street) on the
    North River shore. Fortunately, warning came to the townsfolk,
    and, crowding their women and children into the Fort, they were
    able to beat off the savages; whereupon the savages, being the
    more eager for revenge, fell upon the settlements about Pavonia
    and on Staten Island: where the price paid for Hendrick Van
    Dyke's peaches was the wasting of twenty-eight farms, the
    bearing away of one hundred and fifty Christians into
    captivity, and one hundred Christians outright slain."

During a part of the time that he lived in New Amsterdam Rapalje was an
innkeeper. He appears to have been a man of the people, for in August,
1641, he was one of twelve men to represent Manhattan, Breuckelen, and
Pavonia in considering measures necessary in dealing with the Indians.
It was at about 1654 that he began living at the Wallabout. Certainly he
lived on Long Island in 1655, for in that year he began serving as a
magistrate in Breuckelen.

It once was customary to assert that Rapalje's daughter Sarah was the
first white child born on Long Island. The fact is that Sarah Rapalje
was born during the residence of her parents at Fort Orange. The error
arose from the supposition that Rapalje settled at the Wallabout upon
his arrival in this country in 1623. Of Sarah Rapalje, who may probably
be said to have been the first white female child born in the New
Netherland Colony, one of her descendants, the author of the History of
the Bergen Family, says:

    "The early historians of this State and locality, led astray by
    a petition presented by her, April 4th, 1656, (when she resided
    at the Walle-boght,) to the Governor and Council, for some
    meadows, in which she states that she is the 'first-born
    Christian child in New Netherlands,' assert that she was born at
    the Walle-boght. Judge Benson, in his writings, even ventures to
    describe the house where this took place. He says: 'On the point
    of land formed by the cove in Brooklyn, known as the
    Walle-boght, lying on its westerly side (it should have been
    _easterly_), was built the first house on Long Island, and
    inhabited by Joris Jansen de Rapalje, one of the first white
    settlers on the Island, and in which was born Sarah Rapalje, the
    first white child of European parentage born in the State.' In
    this, if there is any truth in the depositions of Catalyn or
    Catalyntie Trico (daughter of Jeremiah Trico of Paris), Sarah's
    mother, ... they are clearly mistaken. According to these
    depositions, she and her husband, Joris Jansen de Rapalje, came
    to this country in 1623; settled at Fort Orange, now Albany;
    lived there three years; came, in 1626, to New Amsterdam, 'where
    she lived afterward for many years; and then came to Long
    Island, where she now (1688) lives.' Sarah, therefore, was
    undoubtedly born at Albany, instead of the Walle-boght, and was
    probably married before she removed to Long Island, there being
    no reason to suppose that she resided there when a single woman
    without her husband."

The family record gives the time of her marriage as between her
fourteenth and fifteenth year. Mr. Stiles remarks:

    "While, therefore, Albany claims the honor of being her
    birthplace, and New Amsterdam of having seen her childhood,
    Brooklyn surely received most profit from her; for here in the
    Wallabout, she was twice married, and gave birth to fourteen
    children, from whom are descended the Polhemuses, the Bergens,
    the Bogarts, and many other of the most notable families of
    Kings County."

At the time of Rapalje's purchase at the Wallabout it began to appear to
the land speculators that Long Island was a desirable field. The
Director[10] himself made haste to secure the island called "Pagganck,"
lying close to the Long Island shore south of Fort Amsterdam. The island
was thickly covered with nut-trees, which brought it the title of
"Nooten" or Nutten Island. In due time this became known as "the
Governor's island," and this name has become permanent.

Van Twiller's successor was not less appreciative of the value of land
on Long Island, but his purchases seem to have been made in the interest
of the company. In August, 1638, he bought for the West India Company
land adjoining Rapalje's farm and extending between Rennegackonck Creek
(at the Wallabout) to Newtown Creek, and inland to "the Swamps of
Mespaetches" (Maspeth).

This important sale to Kieft, representing approximately the area of the
present Eastern District of Brooklyn, was made by "Kakapoteyuo,
Manquenw, and Suwvian, Chiefs of Keskaechquerem," who received "eight
fathoms of duffels, eight fathoms of wampum, twelve kettles, eight
adzes, and eight axes, with some knives, beads, and awl blades."

By other purchases, at Jersey City and elsewhere, the West India Company
sought to extend its dominions and increase the population of the
colony. The States-General gave some attention to the colony, and by a
proclamation in September, 1638, the Amsterdam Chamber threw open New
Netherland to trade by all inhabitants of the United Provinces and of
friendly nations, "in the company's ships," with an import duty of
fifteen per cent., and an export duty of ten per cent. Every immigrant
was to receive from the Director and Council "according to his
condition and means, with as much land as he and his family can properly
cultivate," the company reserving a quit-rent of a tenth. To these
inducements was added that of free passage over the Atlantic.

The favorable result of these offers soon appeared in the increased rate
of immigration and in demand for land. The Director and Council soon
found it to be desirable to buy more Long Island land, which they did in
January, 1639. By this purchase the company secured the tract extending
from Rockaway eastward to "Sicktew-hackey," or Fire Island Bay; thence
northward to Martin Gerritsen's, or Cow Bay, and westward along the East
River to "Vlaack's Kill"--in other words nearly all the land comprised
in the present County of Queens.

In August of the same year (1639) Antony Jansen van Vaas of Saleé
received two hundred acres resting within the present towns of New
Utrecht and Gravesend. In November a patent was granted for "a tobacco
plantation" on the beach, "hard by Saphorakan" (presumably at Gowanus)
adjoining the land of Bennett. Another neighbor to Bennett came in the
person of Frederick Lubbertsen, who, in May of the following year
(1640), received a patent for land extending northerly from Gowanus
Cove, and representing a large part of what is now known as South

Lubbertsen, who had been chief boatswain to Kieft in 1638, was an
ambitious and politically disposed man. Two years after this big
purchase he was one of twelve men chosen by the commonalty of New
Amsterdam. He did not remove to Long Island until 1653, in which year he
was chosen to represent the young town of Breuckelen at the New
Amsterdam convention. He became a local magistrate in 1653, served
several terms thereafter, and filled other political posts.


As the lands of western Long Island represented by the present area of
Kings County began to increase in value by increase of settlement and
competition in purchase, persons who had merely availed themselves of
"squatter" privileges began to see the advisability of taking out formal
patents. There had been particularly numerous instances of "squatting"
in the region of the Eastern District in a radius from the Wallabout
inlet. Among the patents issued in 1640 was one to Abraham Rycken, for a
plantation of considerable extent in this region, and in 1641 a piece
of land on the East River legally passed into the possession of
Lambert Huybertsen.

Adjoining the land of Joris Rapalje at the Wallabout was an extensive
piece of farm land occupied by Rapalje's son-in-law, Hans Hansen Bergen.
On Wallabout Bay lay the tobacco plantations of Jan and Peter Montfort,
Peter Cæsar, and other farmers. Between the Bay and the East River end
of the Lubbertsen purchase came the land sold to Claes Jansen van
Naerden (Ruyter), Jan Mauje, and Andries Hudde, all of which was
afterward sold to Dirck Janse Waertman, who held it until the sale to
his son-in-law, Joris Remsen, in 1706.

Meanwhile (in 1640) the first permanent English settlement on eastern
Long Island had been made by Lyon Gardiner on the island which afterward
received his name. This settlement, and others which followed it, were
distasteful to the West India Company, which, having secured control of
the entire western end of the Island, from Cow Bay on the Sound to
Canarsie Bay on the ocean side, began to regard itself as entitled to
claim jurisdiction over the entire area. When in 1641 emigrants from
Lynn, Mass., undertook to settle at Schout's Bay, within Queens County,
they were driven off by soldiers who had been sent out by Kieft for the

The English colonists did not leave the Island, but settled at
Southampton, in Suffolk County. The fact that other New England
settlers, who planted Southold, were not attacked seems to show either
that Kieft scarcely regarded the territory beyond the Queens County line
as worth fighting for at this time, or that he came to regard the
new-comers as accepting his authority.

The settlement at Southold by emigrants from New Haven was indicative of
conditions within New England to which later settlements on Long Island
may be attributed. The extreme severity of the Puritan religious temper
found expression in distressing exactions and persecutions. Driven from
England by intolerance, the Puritans, when placed in control of social
and political conditions, exhibited a degree of paternalism not less
despotic than that from which they themselves had suffered. And as the
Puritans of England had found shelter and liberty in Holland, the
victims of Puritanical intolerance in America fled to the friendly
support of Dutch authority within the New Netherland jurisdiction.

In fact, shortly after 1640 the Dutch government granted favoring
patents to emigrants from New England. The Rev. John Doughty and his
followers were welcomed at Maspeth, and provision for other comers
(among them Anne Hutchinson and her family) was made at Throg's Neck and
New Rochelle.



  The Dutch Policy toward the Indians. Puritan and Dutch Policy
    Contrasted. Long Island Indians: Their Relations with the
    Whites. Kieft's Attacks on Pavonia and Corlaer's Hook. Uprising
    on Long Island. Overtures for Peace. Mission to Rockaway of De
    Vries and Olfertsen. Restoration of Friendly Relations.

These numerous settlements had not been accomplished without the
encountering of Indian difficulties. In general the Dutch policy toward
the Indians was business-like and reasonable, contrasting favorably with
policies prevailing elsewhere among American new-comers. The Dutch were
not so social as the French, but their attitude was more fraternal than
that usually observed among the English colonists. Douglass Campbell,
who is to be regarded as a strong partisan of the Dutch as opposed to
the Puritan system, but whose exhaustive studies both of the Puritan and
of the Dutch people gave him an unusual grasp of the situation, thus
contrasts the policy of the two peoples:--

"Why the Puritans were involved in ceaseless wars can be read in every
line of their history. As they could not make of the Indian a red
Puritan, he was a spiritual outcast, whom it was their duty to
exterminate. Three years after the landing of the Mayflower Miles
Standish and seven of his companions murdered three native chiefs in
cold blood. It was this event which led the devout John Robinson to say,
'How happy a thing it would have been if you had converted some before
you killed any.' In 1637 the white settlers of Connecticut put a red
captive to death by dragging him limb from limb by ropes fastened to his
arms and legs. Bancroft tells us that the Puritans bought the Indians'
land, except that of the Pequots. Look at their laws and see. In 1633
Massachusetts passed a statute in relation to land titles. It confirmed
to the Indians the little patches around their wigwams on which they
raised their corn, but declared that the rest belonged to the whites on
the authority of the first chapter of Genesis 'and the invitation of the
Indians.' But murder and robbery of their land all pale before the
crowning infamy which drove the red man to despair. Above all things he
prized personal liberty; slavery to him was a thousand fold worse than
death. And yet to this fate the settlers consigned thousands of the
natives, sending them to the West Indies to work on the sugar
plantations. Among these victims was the little grandson of the good
king Massasoit, who had welcomed the Pilgrims and been their life-long
friend. Look at the records of Massachusetts, and there you will find
statute after statute offering bounties for Indian scalps, the prices
fixed being from twenty-five to one hundred pounds for males, from
twenty to sixty for women, and from ten to twenty for children under ten
years of age. These same statutes provided that females and children
taken prisoners should belong to the captors, 'to be sold out of the
province.' I mention these facts in no invidious spirit, but in justice
to the red man, who has been called treacherous and cruel. He resented
such conduct; and can you wonder at it? He had no redress except by
arms, and he has written the story of his vengeance all over the face of
New England. What could the Indians think of the gospel of Jesus Christ
and the white man's God? What was true of the New England colonies was
true of the southern colonies as well. The course pursued by Penn can
hardly be taken as a criterion, for he dealt with the Delaware Indians,
who had been conquered by the Iroquois, deprived of the use of arms, and
forced to accept the opprobrious epithet of 'women;' and Penn, in
purchasing their lands, only followed out the example which had been set
by the Dutch.

"Turn now to New York, and see what the Indian was under different
conditions. The upper Hudson and the valley of the Mohawk were first
settled by the Dutch. They simply treated the Indian as a man. Tolerant
in religion, they respected his rude faith; truthful among themselves,
to him they never broke their word; honest in all their dealings with
him, they kept good faith. They suffered from no thefts, because they
took nothing except by purchase. Their land titles were respected,
because for every tract they had an Indian deed. They were scourged by
no massacres, save from the enemy across the border, because they
committed no robbery or murder. This was the whole secret of their
policy. It is easy to belittle it, as historians have done, by saying
that upon no other conditions could they have lived among the natives.
Of course it was politic, but the world has discovered that honesty is
the best policy, without concluding that it is any the less a Christian
virtue. These early settlers in New York were traders, offshoots from
what was the greatest commercial nation of the world. They made no
pretense of doing missionary work. They were simply in pursuit of gain.
But they had learned that the only permanent success in life rests on
honesty and justice. This is the lesson that commerce teaches, and
because it does so it has been the civilizer of the world. After the
English conquest in 1664 the same policy was continued, thanks to the
presence of the Dutch, who still formed the majority of the population.
The Six Nations then placed their lands under protection of the crown
and were recognized as appendant to New York. The burden thus cast upon
the province was very heavy. For more than a century New York kept their
alliance by heavy subsidies and by contributions of men and money for
their defense against the French."[11]

The Indian policy of the Dutch has, indeed, been credited with a most
important influence upon American history. But sagacious as it may have
been as a broad plan of action, there was no way of obviating the
difficulties arising from local and individual blunders. Considering the
number of special provocations to revolt, it is remarkable that Indian
troubles were not more frequent and more serious, and that the storm did
not break sooner and more fiercely than it did. Prime remarks that the
conduct of the Long Island Indians toward the whites is "without a
parallel in the history of the country."

"The Indians on Long Island," says Silas Wood, "seem to have been less
troublesome to the whites than those north of the Sound.... [They]
sometimes committed depredations on the property of the whites.... It
does not appear that they ever formed any combination against the
first settlers, or materially interrupted the progress of their
improvements.... The security of the whites must be ascribed to the
means they employed to preserve peace with the Indians."

When the storm of Indian anger and revenge broke over New England in
1643, New Netherland did not escape a similar if not equally terrible
visitation. If the settlers in New Amsterdam began to experience
anxiety, something like a panic seized upon the settlers of outlying
regions. The Long Island settlers were perhaps less ill at ease than
others at an equal distance from the Fort, so friendly had been their
relations with the Indians; but individual offenses of the settlers and
individual offenses by the Indians produced a strained relation in
certain quarters, and when the excuse came the hot-heads among the Long
Island settlers made trouble.

At New Amsterdam the trouble began when the Mohawks descended upon the
river tribes in retaliation for local offenses, and the river Indians
flocked to the vicinity of the Fort for protection. At "Corlaer's
Bouwery," on Manhattan Island, a group of Long Island Indians, under the
chief, Nainde Nummerius, had encamped. An ill-advised appeal to Kieft
resulted in an impulsive decision on the part of the Governor, who, in
spite of wiser counsel, sent out two secret expeditions on the night of
February 25, 1643, one against the refugees at Pavonia, the other
against the encampment at Corlaer's Hook. The attacks were merciless.
Eighty Indians were slaughtered at Pavonia, and forty at the Hook.

This unfortunate blunder resulted in acts which still further excited
the anger of the Indians. Long Island settlers asked Kieft for
permission to attack the Marechawieck tribe; but Kieft, possibly because
he had already begun to realize the influence of the outrage he had
committed, denied permission on the ground that the Long Island red men
had given no sufficient cause for offensive action. Nevertheless, the
Governor did not deny to the Long Island settlers any retaliatory steps
that might at any time seem necessary. Shortly after this communication,
two wagon-loads of corn in charge of a party of Indians were seized, and
when the Indians resisted the act of plundering, three of them were

If the massacre on Manhattan Island had caused among the Long Island
Indians a general resentment against the white men, the murders on the
Island itself made their hostility specific and local; and it is not
surprising that many of the Long Island tribes joined hands with the
river Indians. The tragedies which followed belong to the annals of a
"year of blood."

Terror seized the Long Island settlers in common with all outlying
colonists, many of whom lost no time in seeking the shelter of the Fort.
Kieft was bewildered by the consequences of his act. Realizing that the
chief offenses had been against Long Island tribes, he sent to these a
propitiatory message, which was met by shouts of "corn thieves!" by the
Indians. Those settlers who held their posts on Long Island were forced
to adopt measures of fortifying their homes, which they did after the
methods of inclosure peculiar to the time, and to preserve the utmost
vigilance to save their lives. From a number of families women and
children were sent to the Fort, the men remaining to guard the property.

The advent of spring, bringing to the home-staying Indians of this
region, as well as to the white men, the necessity for planting corn,
suggested an effort toward permanent peace. Brodhead's narrative says:--

    "Three delegates from the wigwam of Penhawity, their 'great
    chief,' approached Fort Amsterdam, bearing a white flag. 'Who
    will go to meet them?' demanded Kieft. None were willing but De
    Vries and Jacob Olfertsen. 'Our chief has sent us,' said the
    savages, 'to know why you have killed his people, who have never
    laid a straw in your way, when none has done you aught but good?
    Come and speak to our chief upon the sea-coast,' Setting out
    with the Indian messengers, De Vries and Olfertsen, in the
    evening, came to 'Rechquaaike,' or Rockaway, where they found
    about three hundred savages and about thirty wigwams. The chief,
    'who had but one eye,' invited them to pass the night in his
    cabin, and regaled them with oysters and fish. At break of day
    the envoys from Manhattan were conducted into the woods about
    four hundred yards off, where they found sixteen chiefs of Long
    Island waiting for their coming. Placing the two Europeans in
    the centre, the chiefs seated themselves around in a ring, and
    their 'best speaker' arose, holding in his hand a bundle of
    small sticks. 'When you first came to our coasts,' slowly began
    the orator, 'you sometimes had no food; we gave you our beans
    and corn, and relieved you with our oysters and fish; and now,
    for recompense, you murder our people;' and he laid down a
    little stick. 'In the beginning of your voyages, you left your
    people here with their goods; we traded with them while your
    ships were away, and cherished them as the apple of our eye; we
    gave them our daughters for companions, who have borne children,
    and many Indians have sprung from the Swannekens; and now you
    villainously massacre your own blood.' The chief laid down
    another stick; many more remained in his hand; but De Vries,
    cutting short the reproachful catalogue, invited the chiefs to
    accompany him to Fort Amsterdam, where the Director 'would give
    them presents to make a peace.'

    "The chiefs, assenting, ended their orations, and presenting De
    Vries and his colleague each with ten fathoms of wampum, the
    party set out for their canoes, to shorten the return of the
    Dutch envoys. While waiting for the tide to rise, an armed
    Indian, who had been dispatched by a sachem twenty miles off,
    came running to warn the chiefs against going to Manhattan. 'Are
    you all crazy, to go to the Fort,' said he, 'where that
    scoundrel lives who has so often murdered your friends?' But De
    Vries assured them that 'they would find it otherwise, and come
    home again with large presents.' One of the chiefs replied at
    once: 'Upon your words we will go; for the Indians have never
    heard lies from you, as they have other Swannekens.' Embarking
    in a large canoe the Dutch envoys, accompanied by eighteen
    Indian delegates, set out from Rockaway, and reached Fort
    Amsterdam about three o'clock in the afternoon."

The result of this conference was the reëstablishment of peaceful
relations, the Long Island red men aiding in the making of terms with
the river Indians. When, in the following September, trouble broke out
again, Kieft sought to keep the Long Island tribes as allies, but,
before terms could be made, attacks were made at Maspeth and Gravesend,
as well as at Westchester; and the ensuing winter was full of distress,
most of the settlements becoming almost wholly deserted.

The Government, at its wits' end, appealed to New Haven, and finally to
the States-General in Holland itself. In the spring (of 1644) the Long
Island Indians were placated; but with the remainder of the hostiles
Kieft showed no ability to treat, and the wars lasted until the
following year, when the long strain upon Fort Amsterdam was agreeably




  The Ferry and the Ferry Road. Settlement of Flatlands. Flatbush.
    Lady Deborah Moody and the Settlement of Gravesend. Early
    Settlements. The Name of Breuckelen. Henry C. Murphy's Comments.
    First Schepens and Schout. Commission from the Colonial Council.
    The Removal of Kieft. Arrival of Stuyvesant.

Near the site of the present Peck Slip, New York, there lay, in 1642, a
farm owned by Cornelis Dircksen, who kept an inn, and conducted a ferry
between a point of land at Peck Slip and a point on the Long Island
shore represented by the present location of Fulton Ferry. Dircksen
owned land on the Long Island side also, close to the ferry. When he
sold this tract in 1643 to William Thomasen, he sold with it the right
to run the ferry.

Clustered about the ferry on the Long Island shore were a number of
cabins, and the little settlement which grew up there became known in
popular parlance as "the Ferry." Crossing the river in the small and
rudely built boats of the period was no easy matter, particularly when
the tide was in full motion; and the place of crossing was naturally
chosen, as at a later time in the building of the great bridge, at the
narrowest part.

The irregular road, which wound its way from the ferry on the Long
Island side, straggled to the east of the rising ground called by the
Indians "Iphetanga," and now known as the Heights, and reached the
little settlement of Breuckelen lying at a point closely corresponding
to the present City Hall. In fact, the old road followed the general
direction of busy Fulton Street of later days.

Before the Indian war of 1643 there were only one or two cabins in this
region. To the south lay the first settlement within the limits of Kings
County--Amersfoort, or Flatlands. The first recorded purchase of land in
this region was by Andries Hudde and Wolphert Gerretsen in 1636. The
first plantation here was called Achtervelt, and the house which marked
the first settlement is described by Teunis G. Bergen as being
twenty-six feet long, twenty-two feet wide, and forty feet high, with a
roof "covered above and around with plank; two lofts, one above another,
and a small chamber on their side;" while adjoining was "one barn forty
feet long, eighteen feet wide, and twenty-four feet deep; and one
_bergh_ with five posts, forty feet long," the whole surrounded with
"long, round palisades."

The road running to Amersfoort turned off at an angle corresponding to
the present line of Flatbush Avenue. The road made another turn a short
time later, and reached the settlement of Midwout or Flatbush (called by
the Dutch _'t Vlaacke Bos_). The actual first settlement of Flatbush, as
of the other towns within Kings County, is frequently estimated to have
been as early as 1624; but as in the other cases we are obliged to
depend for definite knowledge upon records of purchase, which, although
they undoubtedly follow, sometimes by a period of several years, the
planting of the first habitation, give indication of the time when
permanent settlement had begun to be a fact. The town patent from the
Director was not secured until 1651.

The ferry road ultimately found its way to the then far town of Jamaica.

Meanwhile, upon that part of Long Island first trodden by the feet of
white men had begun the town of Gravesend. The region of Gravesend,
including Coney Island (called by the Dutch _'t Conijnen Eylant_) and
much of the Bay coast, differed from other regions of the county in
being first settled by English people.

Among those who were driven from Connecticut by Puritan intolerance was
Lady Deborah Moody. Lady Moody was a daughter of Walter Dunch, a member
of the English Parliament in the time of Elizabeth, and widow of Sir
Henry Moody of Garsden, in Wiltshire, who had been knighted by King
James in 1622. She emigrated to America in 1640, and settled at
Swampscott, near Lynn. In her expectation of religious liberty she was
disappointed, for the authorities were not long in discovering that she
did not regard infant baptism as an ordinance of Divine origin. In those
days children a few days old were baptized at church fonts in which the
ice had sometimes to be broken before the function could proceed, and
the ceremony was regarded as absolutely essential to salvation. Lady
Moody was first "admonished," and afterward "presented" to the Quarterly
Court for sinfully doubting the wisdom of infant baptism. Excommunicated
from the church, and thereby placed in an ostracized position, the
distressed English gentlewoman, accompanied by her son, Sir Henry, John
Tilton and his wife, and by a few other friends, came to New

Here she was agreeably surprised to find a few English people who had
been living some distance above the Fort, opposite the lower end of
Blackwell's Island, but who were at the time of her coming huddled under
the walls of the Fort under the terror of the prevailing Indian wars.

A consultation between the Moody party and the Manhattan Island
wanderers from New England resulted in the appointment of a committee to
select a new site for a settlement. The choice fell upon the Gravesend
region, for which Kieft gave a patent in the summer of 1643.

The circumstances under which Gravesend was settled were thus of a
promising character, for the party was made up of people who, like Lady
Moody, were seeking permanent homes, and were likely to make temperate
and energetic citizens. The leader in this band of pioneers was a woman
of exceptional force and refinement.

"For sixteen years," says Stiles, "she went in and out among the people,
prominent in their councils, and often intrusted with important public
responsibilities, which prove the respect and confidence of her
associates. She seems also to have enjoyed the friendship of Governor
Stuyvesant, who several times sought her advice in matters of great
public importance. Even the nomination of the three town magistrates
was, on one or two occasions, intrusted by the Director-General to her
good judgment. He also availed himself of her kind offices, on another
occasion, in quelling an incipient rebellion, raised by some of her
English associates against the Dutch authority."

Whether the name Gravesend was derived from the town of the same name on
the Thames, or from the Dutch town Gravensande, is not known, but the
stronger reasons are offered for the latter supposition.

Thus, at the close of the Indian wars the meagre settlement of
Breuckelen had for company within the area of the present county the
hamlets at Flatlands and Gravesend, the farms at the Wallabout, possibly
a habitation at Flatbush, and some trading quarters and modest houses at
the Ferry. New Utrecht, Bushwick, Williamsburgh, and New Lots had yet
to be settled formally, though squatters, the date of whose coming is
impossible to set, began, as soon as the Indian hostilities ceased, to
enter upon desirable pieces of land wherever this could be done without
local opposition.

The settlement which received the name of Breuckelen was made in the
maize region lying between the Wallabout and Gowanus--the latter the
place of the first purchase (by Bennett and Bentyn) within the present
limits of the city. Portions of this tract were taken by settlers under
the Dutch patents from the West India Company. In July, 1645, Jan
Evertsen Bout settled here. He was followed a few months later by Huyck
Aertsen, Jacob Stoffelsen, Peter Cornielessen, Joris Dircksen, Gerritt
Wolfertsen, Cowenhoven, and many others. They located themselves on the
road leading from the Ferry to Flatbush, which was then the most
important place. A village was formed, which had for its central point
the present location of Smith Street and Fulton Avenue.

Henry C. Murphy, writing from Holland at the time of his sojourn as
American Minister to that country, describes the Breukelen of Holland as
a very old place, containing about 1,500 inhabitants. The houses were
old fashioned, and the streets irregular. The people seem to lack thrift
and enterprise. The Dutch church was an imposing edifice. Mr. Murphy's
impression of the place was not pleasing. Outside of the village he
found comfortable dwellings, surrounded with flowers and duck ponds, and
everything in perfect neatness and order. On one side of the village was
the park, a place laid out with walks and shrubbery, and containing
about half an acre of land. He crossed the bridge which spans the Vecht,
which connects the two communities, Breukelen Nijenrodes and Breukelen
St. Pieters. He speaks of the view as charming. The Vecht is about 100
yards wide, and its waters flow lazily along. "The name Breuckelin," he
says, "means marshland." This is the meaning given by the Dutch
authorities. Mr. Murphy quotes from one author who says the name has the
same origin "as _maarssen_, merely from its marshy and watery turf
lands;" and although the name is spelled on ancient documents and
letters Bracola, Broecke, Broeckede, Broicklede, and Broeklundia, they
all indicate the same origin. Mr. Murphy draws a striking comparison
between the character and situation of the two places, showing a
wonderful similarity and appropriateness of name, arriving at the
conclusion that it was selected on account of the corresponding
conditions of the two places. As the Holland Brooklyn was spelled in a
variety of ways, so, too, Mr. Murphy says, it has been with our own fair
city. He states that the record shows it to have been called Breucklyn,
Breuckland, Brucklyn, Broucklyn, Brookland, and Brookline. It was during
the close of the last century that its orthography became fixed as

The circumstances attending the settlement of Breuckelen as a town
were associated with a critical turn in the affairs of Kieft's

Kieft's tyrannical methods of government, a form of self-willed
procedure absolutely grotesque in many respects, had been sufficiently
recognized before the Indian war. After his infamous blunder at
Corlaer's Hook his unpopularity increased. Before the war began, Kieft
had been compelled to call a Council of Twelve[13] from the people. The
Twelve, being chosen by the people, constituted the first illustration
offered in New Netherland of representative government. This board,
soon after the war began, was abolished in a peremptory way; and not
long afterward Kieft undertook once more to call upon its advisory aid.
When the board objected to certain taxes (on wine, beer, brandy, and
beaver skins), he remarked that he still was master, and published his
proclamation levying the tax, with the statement that this was done by
advice of the council chosen by the commonalty.

To these elected representatives of the people such acts naturally were
intolerable, and it was not surprising that they should set themselves
to secure the removal of Kieft. A memorial sent to the West India
Company asked for his recall and for the introduction of the system of
government prevailing in Holland. The College of Nineteen made a report
upon the case to the States-General, mentioning incidentally that the
colony, started as a commercial enterprise, had cost the West India
Company, over all profits, more than 550,000 guilders. The resulting
reform considerably modified the theory if not the practice of
government in New Netherland. The College of Nineteen decreed a "Supreme
Council" for New Netherland. Government was placed in the hands of a
council consisting of the Director, a Vice-Director, and a Fiscal. The
people were to have a right to representation in the council, such being
desirable "for mutual good understanding, and the common advancement and
welfare of the inhabitants."

In the code of general instructions which the West India Company had
sent for the guidance of the Provincial Council, those in authority were
urged "to do all in their power to induce the colonists to establish
themselves in some of the most suitable places, with a certain number of
inhabitants, in the manner of towns, villages, and hamlets, as the
English are in the habit of doing." It was pursuant to the policy of
this code that Bout and his associates declared their intention to
"found a town at their own expense."

It fell to the people who were to organize the town of Brooklyn to
choose _schepens_;[14] and at this first election they selected as their
representatives Jan Evertsen Bout and Huyck Aertsen. Bout was a
well-to-do farmer and one of the original settlers. In 1646, he was
chosen a schepen to decide questions which might arise in Breuckelen. He
took a patent from Governor Kieft "of land at Marechkaweick, on the
kill of the Gowanus, as well the maize land as the wood land, bounded by
the land of Huyck Aertsen." It adjoined the land of Van Cowenhoven, and
embraced within its limits the mills which were designated as Frecke's
and Denton's. Those mills, situated near each other, are vividly
remembered by many Brooklyn citizens. They were reached by a bridge from
Butler street. Crossing over the bridge and passing the first mill the
road wound around the water's edge.

The commission from the Colonial Council read, as follows:--

    "We, William Kieft, Director General, and the Council residing
    in New Netherland, on behalf of the High and Mighty Lords,
    States-General of the United Netherlands, His Highness of
    Orange, and the Honourable Directors of the General Incorporated
    West India Company. To all those who shall see these presents or
    hear them read, Greeting:--

    "Whereas, Jan Evertsen Bout and Huyck Aertsen, from Rossum, were
    on the 21st May last unanimously chosen by those interested of
    Breuckelen, situate on Long Island, as Schepens to decide all
    questions which may arise, as they shall deem proper, according
    to the Exemptions of New Netherland granted to Particular
    Colonies, which election is subscribed by them, with express
    stipulation that if any one refuse to submit in the premises
    aforesaid to the above mentioned Jan Evertsen [Bout] and Huyck
    Aertsen, he shall forfeit the right he claims to land in the
    allotment of Breuckelen, and in order that everything may be
    done with more authority, We, the Director and Council
    aforesaid, have therefore authorized and appointed and do hereby
    authorize the said Jan Evertsen and Huyck Aertsen to be Schepens
    of Breuckelen; and in case Jan Evertsen and Huyck Aertsen do
    hereafter find the labor too onerous, they shall be at liberty
    to select two more from among the inhabitants of Breuckelen to
    adjoin them to themselves. We charge and command every
    inhabitant of Breuckelen to acknowledge and respect the above
    mentioned Jan Evertsen and Huyck Aertsen as their Schepens, and
    if any one shall be found to exhibit contumaciousness toward
    them, he shall forfeit his share as above stated. This done in
    Council in Fort Amsterdam in New Netherland."

Before the ensuing winter had passed, the schepens found their labors
sufficiently arduous to justify an appeal to the Director, which
resulted in the appointment of a _schout_, or constable. The new
commission said:--

    "Having seen the petition of the Schepens of Breuckelen, that
    it is impossible for them to tell cases occurring there,
    especially criminal assaults, impounding of cattle, and other
    incidents which frequently attend agriculture; and in order to
    prevent all disorder, it would be necessary to appoint a Schout
    there, for which office they propose the person of Jan
    Teunissen. Therefore we grant their request therein, and
    authorize, as we do hereby authorize, Jan Teunissen to act as
    Schout, to imprison delinquents by advice of the Schepens, to
    establish the pound, to impound cattle, to collect fines, and to
    perform all things that a trusty Schout is bound to perform.
    Whereupon he has taken his oath at the hands of us and the
    Fiscal, on whom he shall especially depend, as in Holland
    substitutes are bound to be dependent on the Upper Schouts or
    the Bailiff or Marshal. We command and charge all who are
    included under the jurisdiction of Breuckelen to acknowledge
    him, Jan Teunissen, for Schout. Thus done in our council in Fort
    Amsterdam, in New Netherland, the first December, Anno,

Thus began the official existence of Breuckelen, which at this time was
distinct from the hamlets of Gowanus, the Ferry, and the Wallabout.
Governor Kieft saw on the Breuckelen shore signs of agricultural
activity at various points from Gravesend to beyond the Wallabout. In
March, 1647, Hans Hansen Bergen bought a large tract of land adjoining
the farm of his father-in-law, Joris Jansen de Rapalje. The water
frontage of this tract was from the Wallabout Creek to the line of the
present Division Avenue. Other purchases on the shore probably completed
the chain of private ownership along the river and bay fronts between
the points above named. A second tier of patents represented land back
of the river parcels, and sometimes running in very eccentric lines.

Although these patents antedated in many instances by several years the
actual settlement by the owners,[16] the increasing number gave
indication of the stimulus that came with the end of organized Indian
hostilities. The cessation of these hostilities brought new life to the
people of New Netherland, and induced them to look more critically at
the urgencies of their political as well as their domestic situation.

The movement looking to the removal of Kieft, which first resulted in
modifications in the form of government, and which had never slumbered,
at last succeeded, and in May, 1647, Kieft was succeeded by Peter




  Beginning of Stuyvesant's Administration. Condition of the Colony.
    Character of the Early Dutch Houses. Household Arrangement.
    Dress. Funerals. Marriages. The Mixture of Races. Slavery.
    Religion. Attitude of Stuyvesant toward Sects other than Dutch
    Reformed. Triumph of Liberal Ideas. First Churches in Kings
    County. Troubles over the Church Tax. First Schools. The Dutch
    and Popular Education. End of Dutch Rule.

When Stuyvesant, followed by the principal burghers, made his first
public appearance in New Amsterdam, the people saw that the new Director
had but one leg, the other, which he had lost in the wars, having been
replaced by a wooden affair, laced with silver bands. His manner was
soldierly, and excited from those who looked askance at him the remark
that his stride was "like a peacock's, with great pomp and state."
Moreover he was accused of keeping the burghers bareheaded for several
hours, though he was covered, "as if he were the Czar of Muscovy."

Peter Stuyvesant[17] was the son of a clergyman of the Reformed Church.
He was a "self-made" man, having had a hard struggle from his boyhood.
He had fought in the service of the West India Company against the
Spaniards and Portuguese in South America. For a time he was Governor of
the Island of Curaçoa, and it was while making an attack, during this
command, on the Island of St. Thomas that he lost his leg. He had
married, at Amsterdam, Judith, the daughter of Balthazzar Bayard, a
French Protestant who, like so many others who came to America, had fled
to Holland to escape persecution.

When Stuyvesant declared in his first speech at the Fort that he would
govern the colony "as a father does his children," he gave some hint of
the view of the situation which he was inclined to take. However
fatherly and generous were his feelings toward the people whom he was to
preside over, he intended to be master of the situation.

The people who greeted the new Director with much cordiality, and who
in this demonstration were influenced as greatly by the feeling that any
change must be for the better as by any definite expectation that
Stuyvesant would be better than Kieft, had suffered from so many
influences that tended to disorganize and disconcert them that the new
Director found them in no very promising state. Indeed, he found New
Netherland in a "low condition."

Breuckelen and her sister settlements were as yet merely farming
communities. New Amsterdam itself had begun to present some of the
characteristics of a town. Extending as far as the present line of Wall
Street (from which fact the street gets its name), it was thickly
settled within a narrow area toward the point. The houses were rough,
the streets unkempt. "Pig-pens and out-houses were set directly on the
street, diffusing unpleasant odors. The hogs ran at will, kept out of
the vegetable gardens only by rough stockades."[18]

If the physical condition of the town offended Stuyvesant, so, also, did
the moral condition. The new Director called for a "thorough
reformation." There must be an end of drunkenness, Sabbath-breaking, and
the selling of liquors to the Indians. Stuyvesant saw the necessity of
conciliating the Indians, and the efforts which he made to this end were
gratifying to the Long Island settlers.

To protect the outlying settlements from the incursions of the savages,
and to provide means for the payment of the annual presents and
perquisites to the Indians, Stuyvesant consented to give the various
towns representation in the government. The grand old democratic
principle of taxation and representation going hand in hand was thus
recognized. It was these sentiments, which early took root in
Breuckelen, that resulted in the Revolutionary War, and established the
fact that taxation without representation was unjustifiable. As a result
of this consent, an election was held in Breuckelen and the other towns,
and eighteen of the most respectable and honored men in the community
were chosen, from whom nine were selected by the Director and Council as
an advisory board. They were to confer with the Director and Council and
to promote the welfare of the people. They were also to consult upon all
measures proposed by the Director and Council, and to give their advice.
The Director was empowered to preside at all meetings of this board.
The members held seats in the Council, taking turns weekly, three
sitting at a time; on court days acting in a judicial capacity to try
cases and render judgment.

The administration, at least in its earlier years, saw an increase in
the rate of immigration. During Stuyvesant's administration many stone
houses appeared in New Amsterdam, and on Long Island came an improved
class of habitations.

The houses of the Dutch period, and of the later period that imitated
the primitive architecture of that time, are among the most interesting
objects of study that remain on Long Island. The first Long Island
houses had resembled those of the Indians. Very soon afterward the
character of the dwellings became more solid and permanent, and after
the Indian war came comfortable one-story houses, thatched with straw,
and with big stone chimneys. Most of the Dutch houses on Long Island,
even in later times, were of wood. A brickyard was established at New
Amsterdam in 1660; but in those days it was thought that the baking of
brick of greater thickness than two inches could not be effectual, and
building with such small brick as then came from the maker was very

The one-story Dutch houses generally had an "overshoot" roof, which
formed now one and now two piazzas. Very often a seat was placed at each
end of the porch; and when the weather permitted, this sheltered place
was generally occupied by the family and visitors of an evening. There
are a number of these fine old Dutch houses still standing within the
limits of the county and city.

The interior of the Dutch houses was generally as solid and simple as
the exterior. The big fireplace was one of the most important features
of the house. Those who could afford it often had the mantel front set
about with glazed Holland tiles. These tiles had pictures moulded on
them, and very often the whole series of pictures around the fireplace
opening would tell stories from the Bible. "The children grew to know
these pictures, and the stories they told, by heart; and when they
gathered about the hearth of an evening, and the tile pictures glimmered
faintly in the light of the big wood fire, grandfather would open the
great family Bible on his knees and read some of the stories over again
for the hundredth time."

In the best room of the house stood the mountainous bedstead, as grand
as the owner could afford to make it. Underneath was the trundle-bed,
which was pulled out at night for the children to sleep on.

    "The pillow-cases were generally of check patterns; and the
    curtains and valance were of as expensive materials as their
    owner could afford; while in front of the bed a rug was laid,
    for carpets were not then in common use. Among the Dutch the
    only article of that sort, even up to the time of the
    Revolution, was a drugget of cloth, which was spread under the
    table during meal-time when, upon 'extra occasions,' the table
    was set in the parlor. But even these were unknown among the
    inhabitants of Breuckelen and the neighboring towns. The uniform
    practice, after scrubbing the floor well on certain days, was to
    place upon the damp boards the fine white beach sand (of which
    every family kept a supply on hand, renewing it by trips to the
    seashore twice a year), arranged in small heaps, which the
    members of the family were careful not to disturb by treading
    upon; and on the following day, when it had become dry, it was
    swept, by the light and skillful touch of the housewife's broom,
    into waves or other more fanciful figures. Rag carpets did not
    make their appearance in this country until about the beginning
    of the present century."[19]

The Dutch did not use tables save for the kitchen or for the service of
meals. The table dishes were of wood and pewter, though a few people
kept some china on the sideboard for "company." As tea was a luxury
which very few had much of, the tea cups were very small. For display,
silver tankards, beakers, porringers, spoons, snuffers, and candlesticks
were in favor. Clocks were extremely rare, the primitive hour-glass
doing service in most houses. "Of books," says Stiles, "our ancestors
had but few, and these were mostly Bibles, Testaments, and Psalm-Books.
The former, many of which still exist among the old families, were
quaint specimens of early Dutch printing, with thick covers, and massive
brass, and sometimes silver, corner-pieces and clasps. The Psalm-Books
were also adorned with silver edgings and clasps, and, when hung by
chains of the same material to the girdle of matrons and maidens fair,
were undoubtedly valued by their owners quite as much for the display
which they made as for their intrinsic value."

In every family was a spinning-wheel,--sometimes four or five. The dress
of the people, like so many other Dutch things, closely resembled that
of Hollanders at home. The ordinary dress for men was a blouse or
jacket, and wide, baggy trousers. Justices and other officials wore
black gowns. The Sunday clothes of men as well as women were often
gorgeous in color and effect. The ladies frizzed and powdered their
hair, wore silk hoods in place of hats, and squeezed their feet into
very high-heeled shoes. The dandies of the day wore long coats with
silver lace and silver buttons, bright vests or waistcoats, velvet
knee-breeches, black silk stockings, and low shoes with silver buckles.

On holidays the people made a gay-looking company. Christmas was a happy
festival with them always. In those early days people had to depend upon
such family festivities even more than do later generations having many
sources of amusement away from home. It was from the Dutch that American
children learned to say Santa Claus, and it was from them that Americans
learned that fashion, which has still not entirely died out, of making
calls on New Year's Day.

One of the prudent customs of the Dutch settlers was to begin, so soon
as they came of age, to lay by money for their funeral expenses. No
Dutchman wanted to be a burden upon any one if he could help it, even
when he died, and this practice of laying by gold or silver pieces to
pay the expenses of proper burial became very general. A Dutch funeral
was one of the most singular features of life among the people. After
the minister had seated himself beside the coffin and the company was
duly assembled, the sexton or servants would appear with glasses and
decanters, and wine would be given to such of the guests as cared to
drink. Funeral cakes and other victuals were handed about in the same
way, and then pipes and tobacco were brought in. The eating, drinking,
and smoking being finished, the minister would rise and make his address
and prayer, and then the sexton and minister would lead the procession
to the burying-ground.[20]

A people so prudent about matters of funeral expenses were likely to be
prudent about other affairs of life coming earlier in the list. Young
men were generally careful about saving money with which to get married,
and the young women spun and sewed for many months getting ready the
linen which they were in the habit of providing for the housekeeping.

Furman instances this inventory of the goods a Breuckelen bride brought
to her husband: "A half-worn bed, two cushions of ticking with feathers,
one rug, four sheets, four cushion covers, two iron pots, three pewter
dishes, one pewter basin, one iron roaster, one schuyrn spoon, two cowes
about five years old, one case or cupboard, one table."

That the course of true love, as it is observed after marriage, did not
always run smooth, is shown by the early appointment in New Amsterdam of
a "First Commissary of Marriage Affairs."

In this era marriage was surrounded with many difficulties, and required
both time and patience to secure its accomplishment. The following
curious document is the form which was used in 1654 to secure a marriage

    _To the right Honourable the Lordships the Magistrates of

    DEAR FRIENDS--Whereas, on the date of this 10th day of February,
    1654, a peticion is presented to the cort hereby, Johannes Van
    Beeck, that the banns (of matrimonie) between him and Maria
    Varleth, may bee hear registered and bee properly proclaimed,
    and wee hav understoode that the same Johannes Van Beeck ande
    Maria Varleth had prevusly too this maide procklemation of thare
    banns throgh youre cort att Gravesende wich (under Koncison) is
    contrarie too the stile and customes of oure Faderland. Itt is
    oure requeste to youre honourable cort in case such an ockacion
    should ockur in futur, that wee mai bee inn formed kincerneing
    the same, inn order on ether sydde to preventee all
    impropriertys, which allso wee engaige too doo on our parte
    spechally iz the praktize and custome off our Faderland that any
    one shal maike three procklamations inn the plaice ware his
    domercile is, ande then he maye bee maryed werever hee pleases,
    wherein wee ar ande remaine your right Honourable Lordships'
    affectionate friend.


    Bye order of thee Burgomasters and Shepens of New Amsterdam.

      JACOB KIPP, Sec'ty.

    AMSTERDAM IN NIEW NETHERLANDS, this 10th day of February, 1654.

The next step taken by the candidates for matrimony was their appearance
before the Court. This event in the old manuscripts is recorded as

    "Casper Varleth and Johannes Van Beeck appeared inn cort and
    praed most ernestly thatt onn thee perticion and remonstrance
    konserning the marriage between Johannes Van Beeck and Maria
    Varleth presented too the Burgomasters and Schepens may be
    disposed off, and in konsequence of the Bench note being
    kompleate itt iz posponed untill Thursda next, soe az inn thee
    meantime too notifie the other Lordships.

    "Johannes Van Beeck appeared in cort and requested az before
    thatt acion maye bee had onn his peticion, offering furthermore
    iff thort nesary att thee time ande the okeacion too bee readie
    to affirme under oathe whatt he stated inn his peticion,
    repeating especially three conversacions hadd with his
    Excellencie Petrus Stuyvesant."

The subject-matter of the petition was important, and could not be
hastily passed upon. The Burgomasters deliberated for three days, and
doubtless viewed the subject in every phase and light imaginable. At
last they reached a conclusion which cannot be better presented than in
the precise language of the decision rendered:--

    "Bye the Burgomasters and Shepens of niew amsterdam--having been
    seen and examined the peticion as presentede too our cort, onn
    the 10th ande 16th days of this month, tochinge the bonds off
    matrimonie between Joh Van Beeck and Maria Varleth. Tharefore
    wee inquire into,

    "First--Who frome the beginning was the institutor of marriage,
    ande also whot the apostels off thee Gentiles teaches thareon.

    "Secondly--The proper and attaned age of Johannes Van Beeck ande
    Maria Varleth.

    "Thirdlie--Thee consente off the Fathure ande Mothure off the

    "Forthly--The distance and remoutnes beetweene this and oure
    Faderland, together withe thee calamiters relacion betweene
    Holland and England.

    "Fifthly--Thee danegur in such case arisienge ffrom long
    retardacion, betweene these too younge persons beecominge
    publick blame being attachede to the fammelys onn either sidde.

    "Our Shurlogans ande wise Jurists doo saye korectly onn such
    mattus, that wee must nott commit any lesser sinns too avoyde
    grater ones; tharefore wee thinke (with due submission) thatt
    bye suteable marrage (the apostel inn his epistel to the
    Heebrues calls the bedd undefiled honurable) both thee lesser
    ande thee grater crimes are preevented. Tharefor thee
    Burgomasters and Shepens off the city of Niew Amsterdam doe
    judge thatt thee afforeseyde younge persons haveing mayde thare
    proper Ecklisiastical proclamations with the earlyst
    opportunitie, and that they folloe it upp with thee bonds of
    matrimonie immediatelie tharafter.

    "Done at the Stadt House inn Niew Amsterdam in Niew Netherlands
    this 19th Feberary, 1654.


The social life of the New Netherlands was in many respects
characteristic of the hard conditions of life in any new country, but in
many respects it was peculiarly different from that of New England. "The
sharp and strong contrasts in social position," says Mr. Roosevelt,[21]
"the great differences in moral and material well-being, and the variety
in race, language, and religion, all combined to make a deep chasm
between life in New Amsterdam and life in the cities of New England,
with their orderly uniformity of condition and their theocratic
democracy." In fact, democratic as the Dutch theory was, the actual
condition of the Dutch colony was aristocratic in its characteristics.
"The highest rank was composed of the great patroons, with their feudal
privileges and vast landed estates; next in order came the well-to-do
merchant burghers of the town, whose ships went to Europe and Africa,
carrying in their holds now furs or rum, now ivory or slaves; then came
the great bulk of the population,--thrifty souls of small means, who
worked hard, and strove more or less successfully to live up to the law;
while last of all came the shifting and intermingled strata of the evil
and the weak,--the men of incurably immoral propensities, and the poor
whose poverty was chronic."

The picturesqueness of the population was accentuated by the presence of
a growing number of negro slaves which a Dutch vessel had been the first
to bring to America.[22] But, as we shall see later, slavery never was
welcomed as an institution in this region, and never gained a firm
foothold. Tobacco culture and other causes, which operated to the
encouragement of slavery in Virginia and Maryland, did not appear in the
northern colonies; where, moreover, the temper and taste of the people
were not such as to make easy the development of slavery.

As in early New England, the domestic and social affairs of the Dutch
colony were always intimately associated with religious traditions, and,
as in New England, the theory of religious liberty found a varying and
often a grotesque application.

The early theory of the colony was that of complete religious liberty,
and at no time was there an intolerance comparable to that which
prevailed among the Puritans, who sought liberty but yielded little; but
the laws of the colony favored the Protestant Reformed Church, and it
alone. To be sure, the West India Company commended freedom of belief,
and the early Governors, partly, doubtless, because they were too busy
with other matters, and partly because occasion had not yet arisen,
caused little trouble by any attitude toward questions of faith or
worship. But when the colony grew to considerable proportions, and the
mixture of races brought about by the advertised liberality of the Dutch
settlements began to bring up the social and religious questions
inevitable in such a community, there were many clashings and disputes
and bitternesses.

Stuyvesant was as definite and immovable in his ideas about church-going
as about everything else. He believed in established authority, and
personally resented the impertinence of people who saw fit to take a
position at variance with what seemed to be set forth and settled by the
established power. When the Lutherans, in 1654, sought to hold meetings
of their own, Stuyvesant reminded them of the duty of attending the good
Dutch church, and refused them premises for their meetings.

Appeal to Holland, whose position Stuyvesant's mental methods certainly
did not represent in this instance, forced the Director to let the
Lutherans alone; and possibly the rebuke was responsible for the fact
that the Anabaptists on Long Island escaped serious trouble shortly
afterward. But Stuyvesant hated the "cursed Quakers," with whom he had
many bitter differences, going so far as to hang up one preacher by the
arms and lash him for defying his authority.

Of Catholics Stuyvesant had an even greater horror. In 1654, he passed
an ordinance forbidding the keeping of Ash Wednesday and all other holy
days, as "heathenish and popish institutions, and as dangerous to the
public peace."

To the intermittent religious squabbles brought on by the determination
of Stuyvesant to stick to the letter of the law rather than to take the
popular Dutch view of moderate leniency, the West India Company finally
put a stop by ordering Stuyvesant to "let every one remain free so long
as he is modest, moderate, his political conduct irreproachable, and as
long as he does not offend others or oppose the Government." These
terms, rather than any ever offered by Stuyvesant, represent the real
sentiment prevalent among the Dutch people.

In the ship which brought over Governor Minuit, in 1626, came two
_ziekentroosters_, or "comforters of the sick," who were frequently
found filling positions as assistants to ordained clergymen. By these
two men the early religious services of the New Amsterdam colony were
conducted until 1628, when another ship from Holland brought out Jonas
Michaelius, who was sent by the North Synod of the Netherlands. It was
Michaelius who "first established the form of a church" at Manhattan. He
was succeeded five years later by Everardus Bogardus, whose congregation
left the upper loft of the horse-mill for a small building dedicated to
church service. In 1642, a new stone church was built within the Fort,
and in the year of Stuyvesant's coming Bogardus was succeeded by Dominie
Johannes Megapolensis, who led the church for twenty-two years.

Meanwhile the Long Island settlers who wished to attend divine service
were obliged to cross the river to New Amsterdam. In 1654, however,
Midwout (Flatbush), which had begun to assume an importance as a
settlement that promised to give it the position that Breuckelen
afterward assumed, established a church. An order was issued in
February, 1655, requiring the inhabitants of Breuckelen and Amersfoort
(Flatlands) to assist Midwout "in cutting and hauling wood" for the
church. The Breuckelen people objected to working on the minister's
house, but were forced, under the Governor's order, to assist throughout
the work.

This first church in Kings County, built under the supervision of
Dominie Megapolensis, John Snedicor, and John Stryker, occupied several
years in the building; but that it was used before its completion is
indicated by the fact that in August, 1655, Stuyvesant convened the
inhabitants to give their opinion as to the qualifications of the Rev.
Johannes Theodorus Polhemus as a "provisional minister," and to decide
what salary they would pay him. The report of the Schout was that the
people approved of Mr. Polhemus, and that they would pay him 1,040
guilders (about $416) a year.

Polhemus belonged to "an ancient and highly respectable family" in the
Netherlands, had been a missionary in Brazil, and had come from that
country to New Amsterdam. He was a devout Christian, and his
faithfulness does not seem to have been questioned, but when, in 1656,
the magistracy of Midwout and Amersfoort sought permission to request
voluntary contributions from the three Dutch towns, Breuckelen
protested, declaring that "as the Rev. John Polhemus only acts as a
minister of the Gospel in the village of Midwout, therefore the
inhabitants of the village of Breuckelen and adjacent districts are
disinclined to subscribe or promise anything for the maintenance of a
Gospel minister who is of no use to them." By way of showing their good
will to Mr. Polhemus personally, they urged that the minister might be
permitted to preach alternately in Breuckelen and Midwout. If this were
done they were "very willing to contribute cheerfully to his support,
agreeable to their abilities."

The Director and Council replied that they had "no objection that the
Reverend Polhemus, when the weather permits, shall preach alternately in
both places;" but although Midwout consented, Gravesend and Amersfoort
objected, these villages having contributed to the support of the
Midwout church, and Breuckelen being "quite two hours' walking from
Amersfoort and Gravesend, whereas the village of Midwout is not half so
far and the road much better." To this was added: "So they considered it
a hardship to choose either to hear the gospel but once a day, or to be
compelled to travel four hours, in going and returning, all for one
single sermon, which would be to some very troublesome, and to some
utterly impossible."

As a way out of this difficulty the Director and Council decided that
the morning sermon should be at Midwout, which was about the same
distance from each of the three other towns, and that the afternoon
service should be changed to an evening service to be held alternately
in Breuckelen and Amersfoort. In recognition of the situation of
Midwout, that village was to give annually 400 guilders, and Breuckelen
and Amersfoort each 300 guilders for the support of the minister.

This seemed like an amicable settlement, and might have remained such
had not Breuckelen been dissatisfied with the preaching of Mr. Polhemus.
The dissatisfaction expressed itself in a protest sent to the Director
and Council, in which the people of Breuckelen reminded the Director
that they had never called the Reverend Polhemus, and had never accepted
him as their minister. "He intruded himself upon us against our will,"
said the protest, "and voluntarily preached in the open street, under
the blue sky; when to avoid offense, the house of Joris Dircksen was
temporarily offered him." Moreover, Mr. Polhemus was accused of offering
"a poor and meagre service," giving, every fortnight, "a prayer in lieu
of a sermon," by which they could receive "very little instruction."
Often, when they supposed this prayer was beginning, it was "actually at
an end." This they experienced on the Sunday preceding Christmas, when,
expecting an appropriate sermon, they heard "nothing but a prayer."
"Wherefore," continues the protest, "it is our opinion that we shall
enjoy as much and more edification by appointing one among ourselves,
who may read to us on Sundays, a sermon from the 'Apostles' Book,' as we
ever have until now from any of the prayers or sermons of the Reverend
Polhemus." All this, the protest hastened to say, was intended in no
offense to the preacher, whose inabilities were recognized as resulting
naturally from the fact that in his advanced years "his talents did not
accompany him as steadily as in the days of yore."

To this protest Stuyvesant responded merely by directing the sheriff to
"remind those of Breuckelen, once more, to fulfil their engagement, and
to execute their promise relative to the salary of Mr. Polhemus." Amid
their discontent, and in consequence also of the poverty of many of his
parishioners, the poor preacher suffered not a little for want of the
ordinary necessities of life. In the winter of 1656, his house being not
yet completed, he and wife and children were forced to sleep on the
floor. When Sheriff Tonneman complained to the Council of having been
abused while attempting to collect the odious tax, Lodewyck Jong, Jan
Martyn, "Nicholas the Frenchman, Abraham Janesen the mulatto, and Gerrit
the wheelwright," were each fined twelve guilders ($4.80); and when Jan
Martyn sought to hire the public bellman to defame Tonneman, he was
"obliged to beg pardon, on bended knees, of the Lord and of the court,
and was fined twenty-five guilders ($10) and costs."

Wearied of his efforts to coax and threaten the Breuckelen opposition
into paying the tax, Stuyvesant at last (in July, 1658) forbade all
inhabitants of the three towns to remove grain from their fields until
all tithes were taken or commuted. There was no escape from this, and
the tax was paid.

Two years later Breuckelen secured a preacher of her own in the person
of the Rev. Henricus Selyns,[23] a preacher whose ancestors had been
prominent in the earliest days of the Dutch Reformed Church, and who had
been reared in the traditions of this flourishing denomination. He
engaged to serve Breuckelen for four years.

When, in September, 1660, Dominie Selyns preached his first sermon in
the Breuckelen barn which served as a house of worship, the population
of the village was one hundred and thirty-four persons, representing
thirty-one families. The preacher had been promised a salary of one
hundred florins, but when an effort was made to raise funds the
magistrates found themselves under the necessity of appealing to the
Director for aid. Stuyvesant offered to pay one hundred and fifty
guilders, provided Mr. Selyns would also preach every afternoon at his
"bouwery" on Manhattan Island. This arrangement was duly made. In 1661,
when Breuckelen received from the West India Company, by request
of Dominie Selyns, a bell for the church, there were fifty-two
communicants. Meanwhile, Mr. Selyns was living at New Amsterdam, and in
1662 an effort was made to induce the preacher to live in Breuckelen, on
the theory of the schepens that, if he did so bring himself among them,
"the community would be more willing and ready to bring in their
respective quotas." It does not appear that the Dominie found it
convenient to live in Breuckelen, but there is no doubt of his zeal nor
of his popularity. When, in 1664, the Dominie returned to Holland, it
was with the regrets and good wishes of the little band of Breuckelen

The Dutch attitude toward education was in many respects very different
from that which prevailed among the English. At the time of the
settlement of New England and New Amsterdam, Holland was far in
advance of other European states in ideas of popular education. Mr.
Campbell[24] places Holland two hundred years in advance of any other
country in Europe at the time of the Puritan emigration. There was,
indeed, an extraordinary contrast between "the free cities" of the
Netherlands and their neighbors at this time. "The whole population,"
says May,[25] "was educated. The higher classes were singularly
accomplished. The University of Leyden was founded for the learned
education of the rich, and free schools were established for the general
education." Common schools had, indeed, been founded in the sixteenth
century, and in the seventeenth the children of all classes were taught
at the public expense.

Such ideas of educational democracy had not appeared in England at the
time when education first began to be considered in this country. Mr.
Draper[26] notes that there was no school but the Latin school in Boston
for thirty-five years after the passage of the so-called compulsory
education law of 1647. Nor did the early Massachusetts schools receive
all the children of the people. "No boys were received under seven years
of age till 1818. No girls of any age were admitted prior to 1789. It
was one hundred and forty-two years after the passage of the so-called
compulsory school law of 1647 before Boston admitted one girl to her
so-called 'free schools,' and it was one hundred and eighty-one years
thereafter before girls had facilities equal to those enjoyed by their

On the other hand, New Amsterdam had a professional schoolmaster as
early as 1633, and with him popular common school education began in
this country. Prior to 1662, there were as many as ten persons licensed
to keep private schools or to teach on their own account, and Furman
states that young men from both the New England and the Virginia
colonies came to New Amsterdam to be educated. Speaking of the movement
of 1658, looking to the establishment of a Latin school at New
Amsterdam, and of the comment thereon by Mr. George H. Martin,
representing the State Board of Education of Massachusetts, Mr. Draper

"Mr. Martin seems to make much of the fact that the petition for the
sending over of a Latin master stated that there was no Latin school
nearer than Boston, but overlooks the fact that there had previously
been a Latin school at New Amsterdam, and also the other fact that there
was no school at Plymouth, and none but a Latin school at Boston, and
that it received only a few of the brighter boys of the wealthier
families, to prepare them for college and the ministry."

The earliest laws of the colony show that for the support of schools
"each householder and inhabitant should bear such tax and public charge
as should be considered proper for their maintenance."[27]

The first schoolmaster in Breuckelen made his appearance in 1661, on the
4th day of July, in which year the following petition was presented:--

    _To the Right Hon. Director-General and Council of New

    The Schout and Schepens of the Court of Breuckelin respectfully
    represent: That they found it necessary, that a court messenger
    was required for the Schepens Chamber, to be occasionally
    employed in the Village of Breuckelin, and all around, where he
    may be needed, as well to serve summons, as also to conduct the
    service of the church, and to sing on Sunday; to take charge of
    the school, dig graves, etc.; ring the bell and perform what
    ever else may be required. Therefore, the petitioners, with your
    Honours' approbation, have thought proper to accept for so
    highly necessary office a suitable person who is now come before
    them, one Carel Van Beauvois, to whom they have appropriated
    the sum of fl. 150, beside a fine dwelling; and whereas the
    petitioners are apprehensive that the aforesaid C. V. Beauvois
    would not and cannot do the work for the sum aforesaid, and the
    petitioners are not able to promise him any more; therefore the
    petitioners, with all humble and proper reverence, request your
    Honours to be pleased to lend them a helping hand, in order thus
    to receive the needful assistance. Herewith awaiting your
    Honours' kind and favorable answer, and commending ourselves,
    Honorable, wise, prudent and most discreet gentlemen, to your
    favor, we pray for your Honours God's protection, together with
    a happy and prosperous administration, unto salvation. Your
    Honors' servants and subjects, the Schout and Schepens of the
    village aforesaid. By order of the same,

    [Signed] ADRIAEN HEGEMAN, Secretary.

The Directors granted the petition and agreed to pay fifty guilders
annually in wampum for the support of the precentor and schoolmaster.

The first school was set up in the little church, which stood near the
present junction of Fulton and Bridge Streets. The second public school
within the county was opened in the new village of Bushwick.

The area of the county represented by the town of Bushwick had, as we
have seen, been purchased by the West India Company in 1638. In 1660 the
Wallabout residents had built a block-house on the high point of land
overlooking the East River, known as the "Kiekout,"[28] or "Lookout." At
about the same time (in the month of February), "fourteen Frenchmen,
with a Dutchman named Peter Janse Wit" and an interpreter, called upon
the Director to lay out a town plot east of the Wallabout settlement. On
February 19 the Director, with the Fiscal, Nicasius de Sille, Secretary
Van Ruyven, and the sworn surveyor, Jaques Corteleau, came to a spot
between "Mispat (Maspeth) Kill," Newtown Creek, and "Norman's Kill,"[29]
Bushwick Creek, to "establish a village." Here a survey was made, and
twenty house lots laid out. The first house was at once erected by Evert
Hedeman, and others soon appeared.

In March of the following year "the Director-General visited the new
village, when the inhabitants requested His Honour to give the place a
name; whereupon he named the town Boswijck," the Town of the Woods. The
people of the new village then selected six of their men, from which the
governor chose three, to be magistrates, the town remaining subject to
the schout of Breuckelen, Amersfoort, and Midwout.

Thus when the first public school was opened in Bushwick, the hamlet
scarcely contained twenty houses, a fact which may illustrate the
attitude of the Dutch and French in this part of the country toward the
question of popular education. The first schoolmaster in Bushwick was
Boudwyn Manout, who took charge on December 28, 1662.

The setting up of the third school within the county was effected in a
new village called Bedford, lying southeast of the Wallabout and east of
Breuckelen. The settlement of this village dates from 1662, in which
year, in the month of March, Joris Jan. Rapalje, Teunis Gysbert
(Bogaert), Cornelis Jacobsen, Hendrick Sweers, Michael Hans (Bergen),
and Jan Hans (Bergen) asked the Director for a grant of unoccupied
woodland "situated in the rear of Joris Rapalje, next to the old Bay
Road." The Director made the grant, with the stipulation that the
petitioners should not make "a new hamlet."

The little settlement thus formed was adjacent on the south to another
known as Cripplebush[30] (variously spelt in the Dutch orthography of
the early days), and lay at the intersection of the Jamaica highway,
the Clove Road running to Flatbush, and the Cripplebush Road running to

The Bedford school-house was placed in the heart of the village, at the
cross-roads. This school, beginning in the year 1663, afterward,
according to the records of Teunis G. Bergen, became the present Public
School No. 3, and had an interesting history.

[Illustration: THE FERRY IN 1746]

Throughout the whole of Stuyvesant's directorship, the quarrels between
him and the people were of frequent occurrence, and gained rather than
diminished in violence. As we have seen, the tendency observable in the
colony was aristocratic, and Stuyvesant fostered such a tendency to the
utmost. At one time he sought to institute a division of the burghers
into two classes, major and minor, the rights of the major burghers to
be hereditary, and to include the sole right to hold office. He had an
honorable sense of justice; but his method of exercising justice was
eminently paternal. He regarded complaint against a magistrate as
nothing less than treason. With his Council, the "Nine Men," he had one
wrangle after another. Both the Nine Men and himself repeatedly sent
protests to Holland, and the West India Company chose to let the
pugnacious Director and his people fight the thing out among themselves.

This indifference on the part of Holland, which plainly took nothing
more than a commercial interest in the colony, naturally inspired little
loyalty toward the home government. The nation that ignored their
protests, let their fortifications crumble from lack of repair, and
refused to guard them by proper numbers of soldiery, could expect no
ardor of patriotism from those who were so treated.

Meanwhile trouble began to show itself between the Dutch and the
Connecticut colony. The latter claimed authority over the English towns
on Long Island, and threatened also to take possession of the Dutch
settlements. The English were jealous of the rich territory of the
Dutch. They beheld the valuable trade which had sprung up through the
instrumentality of the Dutch West India Company. They were inclined to
consider the Hollanders intruders. The English claimed the entire
continent as their domain by virtue of the discovery made by their
navigator, Cabot. Efforts were made to settle the disputes and
differences, without success. All negotiations proved futile. With the
Indians on one side and the English on the other the situation for the
New Netherlands was perilous indeed. At last the Long Island towns, with
Haarlem, New Amsterdam, and Bergen, assembled in convention and prepared
a remonstrance to the home government, charging all their disasters to
the lack of interest manifested by the mother country in their welfare.
The colonists divided into two parties, one favoring adherence to
Holland, the other favoring the acceptance of English rule.

In 1664 Charles II. granted to his brother James, the Duke of York and
Albany, a patent of all the territory lying between the Connecticut
River and Delaware Bay, in which was included the whole of the Dutch
possessions. The Duke immediately dispatched four ships, with 450
soldiers, under command of his Deputy Governor, Colonel Richard Nicolls,
to take possession of the territory. The squadron anchored at Nyack Bay,
between New Utrecht and Coney Island, in August, 1664. The block house
on Staten Island was captured, and all communication between Manhattan
and the neighboring colonies was effectually intercepted.

The people were not prepared for this invasion. The very liberality the
Dutch loyalists had exercised toward other nations was to seal their
doom. The English settlers whom they had welcomed with open arms were
anxious for a change of government, and the arbitrary conduct of the
Dutch officials induced many of the Hollanders to coincide with the
wishes of the English. Stuyvesant was powerless; the Fates were against
him, and resistance was useless. Yet he would have refused to surrender,
and was for making the best possible fight. But the people refused to
rally under his leadership, and without the striking of a blow the Dutch
colony fell under English rule.




  Assembly at Hempstead. The "Duke's Laws." Lovelace. New York
    Retaken by the Dutch. Colve becomes Governor. Return of English
    Rule under the Treaty of 1674. Dongan and the Popular Assembly.
    De Sille. Journal of Dankers and Sluyter. The Ferry. A Dutch
    Dinner. The Schoolmaster and the Constable. William and Mary and
    the Leisler Revolution. Sloughter appointed Governor. Execution
    of Leisler, and Subsequent Honors of a Public Reinterment. Long
    Island receives the name of Nassau. Development of Privateering.
    Captain Kidd visits and buries Treasure on Long Island.
    Bellomont and the Suppression of Piracy. First Trial for

When Nicolls assumed control as Governor of New Amsterdam, under the
patent to the Duke of York, he considered it best to act in a liberal
spirit toward the Dutch, and endeavored to gain their good will and
esteem. Indeed, this was the wise English policy which he represented.
So conciliatory was his administration that the Dutch element did not
appear to be affected by the change. The trade with Holland was
continued without interruption. The Dutch were permitted to elect all
minor officials and to observe the customs of the fatherland. New York
received a new charter, and the government was placed in the hands of a
Mayor, Aldermen, and Sheriff, appointed by the Governor. The legislative
power was vested in the Governor and Council, who alone possessed the
power to impose taxes.

The titles to property in the province were not in any way disturbed.
The Council was careful to confirm and declare legal all grants,
patents, and other evidences of title which had been derived through the
Dutch government. New grants in confirmation were given, and additional
expense in consequence was imposed upon the owners. Large sums were also
expended in repairing the forts in and about the harbor to resist any
attempt which might be made to retake the city.

Measures were also adopted to provide a more perfect and uniform system
for the government of the towns on Long Island. In order to reconcile
differences, and establish laws which should control in each town,
Nicolls organized an Assembly of delegates, composed of representatives
from each town. The Assembly thus formed, met in Hempstead in 1665.
Breuckelen was represented in that body by two of her well-known
citizens, in the persons of Frederick Lubbertsen and Evertsen Bout. The
Assembly adopted a code of laws which were called the "Duke's Laws."
Considering the state of the times and the varied conditions of the
people, the code thus adopted was reasonable and just to all. These laws
continued in operation with slight amendments until 1683, when Governor
Dongan convened his provincial Assembly. The actions of Governor Nicolls
gave the delegates satisfaction and pleasure, and they became his fast
friends. They expressed their admiration of his actions by an address of
congratulation to the Duke of York, which was characterized by an
exceedingly deferential tone toward the new authority. Many of the
people objected to the tone of this address, and gave vent to their
feelings in outspoken language against the delegates. So fearless and
indiscreet was the language used, and so imminent did the violence
threatened by the anti-English element appear, that the Government was
constrained to take notice of the same. At a court held in 1666, a
stringent act was passed to prevent a repetition of the slanders against
the delegates.

In 1665, Long Island, with Staten Island, was created a shire, and
called Yorkshire, as a token of respect to the proprietor, the Duke of
York. The shire thus formed was divided into districts, which were
denominated ridings. The towns included in Kings County, Staten Island,
and Newtown, were called the West Riding. Nicolls displayed much wisdom
in the management of the colony, and thereby won the respect of the
people. He did not, however, remain long in service. Being anxious to
return to Europe, in 1668 he bade farewell to the New World, and set his
face eastward. Upon his return to his native land he engaged in his
country's service in the war with Holland, and gave his life in
defending the flag in a naval engagement in 1692.

Nicolls was succeeded by Governor Francis Lovelace, whose administration
was a striking contrast to that of his predecessor. Despotic, arrogant,
and self-willed, Lovelace was born to be a "paternal" ruler, and ever
manifested a domineering spirit. The inhabitants had always claimed the
right to levy and impose their own taxes, and protested against taxation
without representation. To all protests he paid no attention except to
"pronounce their complaints as scandalous and seditious." His frequent
remark was, "the people should have liberty for no thought but how to
pay their taxes." In order to carry out his views, and to display his
power, he imposed a duty of ten per cent. upon all imports and exports
arriving at or going from the province.

In 1672, Charles II., instigated by the French, proclaimed war against
Holland. This rupture led the Dutch to conceive the idea of regaining
their lost possessions. A squadron consisting of five vessels was fitted
out, and placed under the command of Admirals Beuckes and Evertson. The
fleet thus prepared sailed from Holland and appeared off Sandy Hook on
the 29th of July, 1673. The news of the expedition reached the city long
before the arrival of the fleet. Governor Lovelace had no adequate idea
of the importance and necessity of preparation to resist the attack. He
left the city and proceeded to Albany to regulate the difficulties with
the Indians, and placed the fort in charge of Captain Manning. When the
news reached the city that the Dutch fleet was approaching, Manning sent
messengers to Governor Lovelace, requesting him to return speedily. He
came, and at once commenced active defensive preparations. The fort was
manned, and soldiers were mustered into service and drilled. The enemy
not appearing, the Governor disbanded his forces and went to
Connecticut. When the fleet reached Sandy Hook, Manning again informed
the Governor and requested him to return, and in the mean time employed
himself in collecting recruits. He was not successful. The love of
fatherland could not be obliterated from the hearts of Dutchmen. They
refused to volunteer against their own flesh and blood, and instead
spiked the guns of the fort to prevent any resistance to the fleet. The
soldiers in the fort were but amateurs, and having had no experience
were of but little service. The fleet anchored in New York Bay, July 30,

Manning lacked courage, and did not possess any attribute fitting him to
properly defend the city. In his dilemma, and not having the aid and
assistance of the Governor, he found himself powerless to act as the
occasion demanded. He sent a messenger to the fleet to inquire their
object in disturbing the peace of the colony. In the morning, the
admirals dispatched an officer to demand the immediate surrender of the
fort. Manning, anxious to gain time, requested that he might have until
the following day to give his answer. This was refused, and he was
notified that unless the city was surrendered in half an hour the fort
would be bombarded. To this notification no reply was received. The
Dutch, true to their word, commenced a cannonade which resulted in
killing and wounding a number of men. The salute of hot shot was not
returned. Captain Colve, with a band of six hundred men, landed, and the
attacking force was ranged in line of battle in front of the fort, and
prepared to make a triumphal march through the city. Manning became
agitated and frightened. He commenced negotiations, but, as he had no
power to enter into any agreement, he was compelled to surrender.

The city, again in the possession of its original settlers, was called
New Orange, and the fort was named Fort Hendrick. Some of the English
soldiers taken as hostages of war were sent to Holland.

It may well be supposed that this successful capture produced a deep
sense of mortification to the English Government and the New England
colonies. Manning was subsequently court-martialed and tried for
cowardice and treachery. His defense was mainly that he had no time to
put the fort in a proper condition of defense--that the enemy were
eight hundred strong, while he had but eighty men in the fort, and that
he sought to delay capitulation, hoping that help might arrive. He was
found guilty by the court. Through the influence of friends his life was
spared, but he was compelled to suffer the ignominy of having his sword
broken over his head by the executioner in front of the City Hall, and
he was declared incapable of ever holding any office, either civil or
military, in the gift of the Crown. Governor Lovelace also was severely
reprimanded, and all his property was confiscated to the Duke of York.
It would appear that the conduct of the Governor was more reprehensible
than that of Manning. Manning was merely a subaltern, and Lovelace being
Governor, it was his duty to exercise proper care in defending the
territory committed to his control. He was twice notified by Manning of
the intended attack, and seemed by his actions either to manifest but
little interest, or not to realize the importance of defensive measures.

Captain Colve now assumed control of public affairs. Fearing that the
English might endeavor to regain the territory, he repaired and
strengthened the fort, and put the city under military protection. A new
charter was given to the city, and the old forms of government
readopted. Courts were established at various points, and all the
magistrates were required to appear at New Orange, and swear allegiance
to the Dutch Government.

Colve received his commission as Governor of the New Netherlands from
the admiral of the fleet. He was very energetic, fortifying weak points,
and asserting the claim of the Dutch to all the territory which Governor
Stuyvesant had controlled. The fort was repaired in a substantial
manner, and every precaution taken to effectually resist any attack
which might be made. Colve directed that the provisions of the city
should be securely kept, and prohibited the exportation of wheat and
grain. In order to prepare the people for active service, he organized
companies and had them drilled daily by competent officers in the manual
of arms. The city under his administration assumed a military
appearance. Parades and drills were of daily occurrence. The city was
carefully guarded by watchmen ever on the alert.

While Governor Colve exercised authority in the province, he took
occasion to visit Flatbush with his officials, where by his direction
the magistrates of the various towns on Long Island had assembled. He
conveyed to them the intelligence that troops were on the way from New
England to assail the town, and that it was necessary to make
preparations for resistance. He commanded them to hold themselves in
readiness to proceed to the city whenever he should require their
presence. Many of the people considering it prudent to move to the city
for safety, obtained permission to do so, and the Governor appointed a
committee to secure proper accommodations for them.

A general exodus from Breuckelen and the other towns was the result. The
inhabitants of the west end of the Island were eager to move, and in
order to prevent depopulation, Governor Colve issued another order,
stating that it was necessary for a portion of the males to remain in
the towns to protect property and prevent invasion, and he directed that
one third of the military force should remain.

The Dutch during their control of New York won for themselves the
respect of all onlookers. In their management of the colony,
notwithstanding many defects, they were more liberal than any of their
neighbors. They were a hard-working, painstaking, thrifty class of
people, whose sterling virtues have left upon the character of New York
an impress that can never be obliterated. The character and principles
of the Dutch, handed down from one generation to another, have done much
to mould the great western commercial centre into the cosmopolitan
metropolis it is to-day. The Knickerbocker patience and perseverance
under trials, the honesty and integrity of the Dutch, their love of
education and independence have been of incalculable value to the State
and nation.

The Dutch were not to be surprised by any English force. The difficulty
was settled by the treaty of peace between the States-General and
England, signed at Westminster on the 9th of February, 1674. The terms
of the treaty provided for the restoration of New York to the English.
This was accomplished on the 10th of November, 1674, when the fort was
surrendered to Major Edward Andros, the Governor appointed by the Duke
of York.

Thus New York again passed from the control of the original settlers
into the hands of their conquerors. The fort again assumed the name of
Fort James, and the city resumed the name of New York. The inhabitants
were required to swear allegiance to the King of England, and the form
of government established by the English was restored.

Governor Andros also restored the titles, grants, and privileges which
the towns had enjoyed under the English Government, and furthermore
declared all legal proceedings which had been taken during the
reoccupation by the Dutch to be legal and valid.

Andros was arbitrary and oppressive in his conduct, and did all in his
power to prevent efforts on the part of the inhabitants to obtain
representation in the councils of the government. In 1680, charges were
preferred against him in which he was accused of interfering with the
privileges of New Jersey, and he was summoned to England to answer. He
was acquitted, and returned to be still more oppressive. In 1683, he was
removed, and Colonel Thomas Dongan was appointed his successor, with
directions to convene a popular assembly.

This Assembly was composed of the Governor, Council, and seventeen
members elected by the people, and held a session commencing October 17,
1683, which lasted seventeen days. The Assembly adopted wise measures,
which were called "the charter of liberties." This charter provided that
the supreme authority should be vested in the Governor, Council, and
Legislature elected triennially by the people. The right of trial by a
jury of twelve men was guaranteed, and the liberty of the citizens was
secured. Protection and freedom of religious belief were also assured.

The County of Kings was organized, and comprised the five towns of
Breuckelen, Bushwick, Flatlands, Flatbush, and New Utrecht. Queens
County was also organized. The province was divided into counties. These
counties were: New York, Kings, Queens, Suffolk, Richmond, Westchester,
Dutchess, Orange, Ulster, and Albany. In each county a court of sessions
was to meet twice a year, and the Court of Oyer and Terminer annually.
The offices of assessor and supervisor were also created.

The first town clarke (as it was then spelt) of which there is any
record was Heer Nicasius De Sille.[31] He was appointed in 1671, and
acted in that capacity for four years. Michil Hainelle succeeded him in
1675, and held office until 1690. During the administration of De Sille,
Frederick Lubbertsen and Peter Perniedeau were trustees and overseers.
In 1676 we find Teunis G. Bergen and Thomas Lambertsen filling the
offices of trustee and overseer.

Of New York and Brooklyn immediately after the establishment of English
rule we find some interesting glimpses in the journal of Jasper Dankers
and Peter Sluyter, published in the collections of the Long Island
Historical Society.[32] These two Dutch travelers were members of the
sect founded by Jean de Labadie, and known as Labadists. The Labadists
had found shelter in tolerant and enlightened Amsterdam when persecuted
in France. The new faith was embraced by many of the Walloons at
Rotterdam and elsewhere. A community, resembling in many respects those
of the Quakers, was established at Wiewerd, and the promoters resolving
upon colonization in America, Dankers and Sluyter were sent to New York
on a tour of investigation. After their first tour, of which their
journal speaks, they were again sent to New York in 1683, to establish a

The Labadists give a detailed account of their experiences in New York
and on Long Island. They make a natural comment on the name "river" for
the strait separating Long Island and Manhattan Island. "There is a
ferry, ... for the purpose of crossing over it, which is farmed out
by the year, and yields a good income, as it is a considerable
thoroughfare, this island being one of the most populous places in this

The ferry at this time was patronized by both white men and Indians,
though the Indians usually economized by using their own boats in
carrying to New York their fish, fowl, or furs. The fare on the ferry
was "three stuivers in zeewan for each person." A "stuiver in zeewan"
was equivalent to less than half a cent of our money.

Going up the hill from the ferry the travelers passed through the "first
village called Breuckelen," in which they saw "a small and ugly little
church standing in the middle of the road." Here they turned off to the
right and reached Gowanus, where they were entertained by Simon Aertsen
De Hart. After speaking of the large and remarkable oysters, "fully as
good as those in England, and better than those we eat at Falmouth," the
travelers give this description of the Dutch dinner: "We had for supper
a roasted haunch of venison, which he had bought of the Indians for
three guilders and a half of seewant, that is, fifteen stuivers of Dutch
money [fifteen cents], and which weighed thirty pounds. The meat was
exceedingly tender and good, and also quite fat. It had a slight spicy
flavor. We were also served with wild turkey, which was also fat and of
a good flavor; and a wild goose that was rather dry. Everything we had
was the natural production of the country." The guest adds: "We saw
here, lying in a heap, a whole hill of watermelons, which were as large
as pumpkins, and which Symon was going to take to the city to sell....
It was very late at night when we went to rest in a Kermis bed, as it is
called, in the corner of the hearth, alongside of a good fire."

These visitors did not entertain a very warm appreciation for what the
journal describes as "a miserable rum or brandy which had been brought
from Barbadoes and other islands, and which is called by the Dutch
_kill-devil_. All these people," continues the same narrator, "are very
fond of it, and most of them extravagantly so, although it is very dear
and has a bad taste." At New Utrecht, however, they drank "some good
beer a year old."

The writers comment upon Coney Island in these words: "It is oblong in
shape, and is grown over with bushes. Nobody lives upon it, but it is
used in winter for keeping cattle, horses, oxen, hogs, and others, which
are able to obtain there sufficient to eat the whole winter, and to
shelter themselves from the cold in the thickets."

The Fort Hamilton region, called Najack (Nyack), after the Indian tribe
of this name living in the vicinity, is spoken of as an island, it being
surrounded by a marsh.

These and other records of the period indicate how little the early
influence of the English rule affected the Dutch manners and customs,
particularly on Long Island. The new rulers might introduce the English
system of weights and measures, and adopt a new nomenclature for
officials and civic systems, but for a long time, and far into the
eighteenth century, Dutch life on Long Island remained singularly like
all that it had been in the fatherland and in the pioneer homes.

An annual fair was established in Breuckelen in 1675. It was provided
that there shall be kept "a ffayre and market at Breucklin, near the
ffery, for all grain, cattle, or other products of the country, too be
held on the ffirst Munday, Tusday, and Wenesday inn November, and in the
City off New York the Thursday, Ffriday, and Saturday following."

To meet the necessary expenses of possible war, it was ordered that in
case there should happen a war with the Indians, for the better carrying
on of the same, one or more rates should be levied as there shall be
occasion, an account whereof to be given to the following Court of

At the same time it was ordered "that in all cases the magistrates
through the whole government are required to do justice to the Indians
as well as to the Christians."

In 1675, by reason of the fact that Long Island and Staten Island were
separated by water, it was provided that Staten Island should have
jurisdiction of itself, and be no longer dependent on the courts of Long
Island, nor on the "Milishay."

The overseers and trustees were required to take an oath to administer
the laws, without favor, affection or partiality to any person or cause,
and, when required, to attend to the private differences of neighbors
and endeavor to effect a reconciliation.

Slight allusion has heretofore been made to the schoolmaster. He was an
important element in the community. As his labors were various, and much
more irksome than at the present time, the following agreement, executed
by the schoolmaster at Flatbush, in 1682, will be read with interest:

    Article 1. The school shall begin at 8 o'clock, and goe out att
    11; shall begin again att 1 o'clock and ende at 4. The bell
    shall be rung before the school begins.

    2. When school opens one of the children shall reade the morning
    prayer as it stands in the catachism, and close with the prayer
    before dinner; and in the afternoon the same. The evening school
    shall begin with the Lord's prayer, and close by singing a

    3. He shall instruct the children inn the common prayers, and
    the questions and answers off the catachism, on Wednesdays and
    Saturdays, too enable them to saye them better on Sunday in the

    4. He shall be bound to keepe his school nine months in
    succession from September to June, one year with another, and
    shall always be present himself.

    5. Hee shall bee chorister of the church, ring the bell three
    times before service, and reade a chapter of the Bible in the
    church, between the second and third ringinge of the bell; after
    the third ringinge, hee shall reade the ten commandments, and
    the twelve articles of ffaith, and then sett the Psalm. In the
    afternoon, after the third ringinge of the bell, hee shall reade
    a short chapter or one of the Psalms of David, as the
    congregation are assemblinge; afterward he shall again sett the

    6. When the minister shall preach at Broockland or Utrecht, hee
    shall bee bounde to reade from the booke used for the purpose.
    He shall heare the children recite the questions and answers off
    the catachism on Sunday and instruct them.

    7. He shall provide a basin of water for the baptisme, ffor
    which he shall receive 12 stuyvers in wampum for every baptisme
    ffrom parents or sponsors. Hee shall furnish bread and wine ffor
    the communion att the charge of the church. He shall also serve
    as messenger for the consistorie.

    8. Hee shall give the funerale invitations and toll the bell,
    and ffor which he shall receive ffor persons of 15 years of age
    and upwards, 12 guilders, and ffor persons under 15, 8
    guilders; and iff he shall cross the river to New York, he shall
    have four guilders more.

The school money was paid as follows:

    1. Hee shall receive ffor a speller or reader 3 guilders a
    quarter, and ffor a writer 4 guilders ffor the daye school. In
    the evening, 4 guilders ffor a speller and reader, and 5
    guilders ffor a writer per quarter.

    2. The residue of his salary shall bee 400 guilders in wheat
    (off wampum value), deliverable at Brookland ffery, with the
    dwellinge, pasturage, and meadowe appertaining to the school.

    Done and agreede on inn consistorie inn the presence of the
    Honourable Constable and Overseers this 8th day of October,

    Constable and            The Consistorie.

    RYNIERE AERTSEN,            Minister,
                            CORNELIS BAREN VANERWYCK.

    I agree to the above articles and promise to observe them.


In those days the duties of a constable in Brooklyn were not confined to
the present requirements. In 1670, a law was enacted, whereby his
duties were defined. As the order is peculiar, it is here inserted:--

    "Ordered that the constable of the towne of Breucklyne doe
    admonish the inhabitants too instruct theire children and
    servants, in matters of religione and the laws of the country.

    "Ordered that the constable doe appoynte a suytable person too
    recorde every man's particular marke, and see such man's horse
    and colt branded.

    "Ordered that the overseers and the constable doe paye the value
    off an Indyan coat ffor each woolf killed, and they cause the
    woolf's heade to be nayled over the doore of the constable,
    theire to remayne, and alsoe to pull off both eayres inn token
    that the heade is boughte and payed ffor."

In 1695 the Court of Sessions of Kings County "ordered that the
constables of this towne shall on Sundaye or Sabbath daye tayke lawe
ffor the apprehending off all Sabbath breakers, searche all ale houses,
taverns, and other suspectede places ffor all prophaners and breakers
off the Sabbath daye, and bringe them before the justice too bee dealt
with accordinge to lawe."

As a penalty for refusing so to do, it was further "ordered thatt ffor
every neglect or deefault the constable shall paye a fine of six

At the same session it was "ordered that mad James bee kepte by Kings
County in general and thatt the deacons of each towne within the sayde
county doe fforthwith meete together and consider about theire
proportions ffor the maintenance of sayde James."

Disputes having occurring between Brooklyn and Flatbush relative to
their boundary or town lines, reference was had to the Court of Sessions
and action was had thereon, as will appear by the record of its

    "Att a Cort of Sessions held ffor the West Riddinge of
    Yorkshire, uppon Long Island, the 18th day of December, 1677,
    the following order was mayde: There being some difference
    between the towns of Fflackbush and Brucklyne conserninge theire
    boundes, the which they are both willing to reffer to Captain
    Jacques Cortelyou and Captain Richard Stilwell too decyde, the
    Cort doe approve thereoff, and order theire report too bee

These Commissioners took five years and a half to perform their labors,
and then reported the result of their deliberations, as follows:--

    _To the Worshippful Cort of Sessions nowe sitting at Gravesende,
    June 21, 1683_:

    These maye certiffie thatt inn obedience too an order ffrom
    sayde Cort and bye consente of bothe townes of Breucklyn and
    Ffackbush, too run the lyne twixt the sayde townes, which are
    wee underwritten, have done and markt the trees twixt towne and
    towne, as witness our hands the daye and yeare above written.


The surveyor, Philip Wells, gave his certificate that he found the line
run by the Commissioners to be just and right. These certificates were
recorded by order of the court.

In 1671 one Thomas Lambertsen and wife sued John Lowe for defamation of
character. The defendant confessed that he was drunk, "and was verry
sorry for defaminge the plaintiff's wife," and begged his pardon in open
court. They "ordered him to paye the costs off the plaintiff's
attendance, and keepe a civill tongue in his heade."

Some of the orders made by the Court of Sessions, as contained in the
ancient records, are very interesting at this period, and express in a
great measure the character of the early settlers:--

    "At a Court of Sessions held at Gravesend the 16th day of June
    by His Majesty's authority in the twenty-first year of the reign
    of our Sovereign Lord Charles the second, by the Grace of God of
    Great Britaine, Ffrance and Ireland, King, Defender of the
    ffaith, in the year of our Lord, 1662. Present: Mathias Nichols,
    Esquire, President; Mr. Cornelis Van Ruyter, Captain; John
    Manning, Mr. James Huddard, and Mr. Richard Betts, Justices.

    "Weras during this Court of Sessions their have been several
    misdemeanors committed in contempt of authority in the towne of
    Gravesende, by one throwing down the stocks, pulling down of
    fences and such like crimes; the court also find that there was
    noe watch in the town which might have prevented itt, and being
    the offenders cannot be discovered, itt is ordered that the
    towne stand fined five pounds till they have made discovery of
    the offenders."

The penalty in slander cases was very light, as appears by a verdict
rendered in an action for defamation in 1699. The verdict was as
follows: "At a cort of General sessions, held att Gravesende, December
1, 1669, John Ffurman, plf., vs. Adraiaen Ffrost, def't. The Plaintiff
declared in an action of defamacon, how that the defendant reported him
to be a purjured person, and common lyer, which was sufficiently
proved, and also confessed by the defendant. The Jury brought in the
verdict for the plaintiff, with five pounds damages and costs."

Among the measures marking the progress of the county was a provision by
which all the highways in the region were to be laid out four rods wide.

When, in 1685, the Duke of York succeeded to the throne of England under
the title of James II., he instructed Governor Dongan to assert the
prerogative of the Crown as a natural right, to impose taxes, and also
prohibited the establishment of printing presses in the colony. He was
opposed to the diffusion of information, and evidently thought that
education and knowledge would weaken and destroy his power over the
people. Thus, selfishness marked his whole course. In August, 1685, the
provincial council was dissolved by order of the Governor, and no other
was chosen or summoned. This course was adopted to lessen the influence
of the people, and concentrate the entire management and control in the
hands of the Governor.

On the 3d of May, 1686, an important event occurred for Brooklyn. It was
the issuance of a patent whereby all the rights and privileges granted
by Governor Nichols in 1667 were fully confirmed and ratified. Dongan,
in the same year, also granted a charter to the city of New York,
confirming the franchises previously granted to the corporation, and
placed the government upon a solid foundation. The Governor, however,
still retained the appointment of mayor, under-sheriff, clerk, and all
other important officials, merely giving the people the right to choose
their aldermen, assistant aldermen, and minor officials, at an annual
election to be held on St. Michael's day. This patent of 1686 was a very
important document for New York City. Upon this document New York based
its claims to ownership in the Brooklyn shore. It was this charter which
made sailors on board of United States vessels at the Brooklyn Navy Yard
citizens of New York City, and gave them the right to vote in the
seventh ward of New York.

Dongan was a fast friend of the Indians, and during his administration
secured their good will by counsel and assistance. He had their
confidence, and in various ways they manifested gratitude. They called
him the "white father," and he was long held in remembrance by the
savage tribes, who appreciated his many kind acts to them. He succeeded
better with the Indians than he did with the whites.

The King was anxious to introduce the Catholic religion, in opposition
to the wishes of the colonists. The feeling between the two parties
formed as a result of this threat became very bitter. Dongan quickly saw
that the policy of intolerance would jeopardize the perpetuity and peace
of the English possessions, and opposed the measure. The Crown officers
appointed by the home government were all Catholics, and in order to
appease popular prejudices, Dongan selected his councilors from among
the best known and foremost Protestants. This judicious policy was not
approved by the King, and in 1688 Dongan was recalled, and Francis
Nicholson assumed the management of affairs.

In the mean time, Sir Edward Andros had been appointed royal governor of
New England and New York. Nicholson, as his deputy, acted during his
absence. The troubles which assailed the people in consequence of the
arbitrary acts of the King were not to last long. The hour of
deliverance was at hand. The dismal forebodings of the people were
removed when the intelligence was received that the King had abdicated
his throne, and that the reign of William and Mary had begun. This was
in 1689. The citizens of New York thereupon assumed the power to remove
and depose all the officials who had been appointed through the
instrumentality of the late king. The authority of Deputy Nicholson was
questioned. Each sovereign had adherents. Parties were formed among the
people. One sustained the late sovereign, while another supported the
new potentates. Political and religious discussion waxed warm, and the
two parties became known as the democratic and aristocratic classes.
Some maintained that the change of sovereigns in no way affected the
colonial government, and that the commissions granted by James were
valid until set aside and declared illegal by the new power. Others
considered the change in England as a complete revolution, which
extended to every province belonging to the kingdom. They held that all
things were in a state of anarchy, and that no one possessed the power
to control; that all officials were _functus officio_, and consequently
the power rested with the people, and that they alone could devise
measures or means of government, until the sovereign will should be

As a result of this condition of affairs the inhabitants of Long Island
deposed their magistrates and elected others to fill the places of those
they had removed. They also took occasion to send a large body of
militia to New York to aid the popular party in that city, which was led
by Jacob Leisler. He held the position of captain, was an old, wealthy,
and respected citizen, a firm Protestant, and an opponent of the
Catholics. The public money was deposited in the Fort, and the people
were anxious to secure its control. A detachment of forty-seven men
repaired to the Fort, obtained possession without resistance, and
Captain Leisler became the acknowledged and recognized leader of the
revolutionary movement. He assumed control in behalf of the new
sovereigns, and at once took measures to protect the public property.
The defenses were strengthened, and a battery of six guns erected. The
erection of this battery was the beginning of the public park long known
as the Battery.

As everything was in a chaotic state, it was deemed advisable to
organize a Committee of Safety, whose first act was to place the city
under the command of Leisler. Subsequently the authority of Leisler was
confirmed by a dispatch directed to the late Governor, or to such other
persons as might be in command, requiring such person to assume the
entire control of governmental affairs. Thereupon Leisler took the title
of Lieutenant-Governor, and appointed his advisory council, consisting
of eight well-known citizens, to aid him in the discharge of his trust.
Having entire and complete supremacy, he resolved to place the city in
an orderly condition, and to accomplish this purpose took active
measures. His conduct did not please the people. Some were jealous of
his power, and began to stir the people into rebellion. This was
accomplished with but little effort, and resulted in a street riot, from
which the Governor barely escaped with his life. The services of the
militia were called in requisition, and for a short time the result was
uncertain. The riot, however, was subdued. Several of the ringleaders
were captured, thrown into prison, and a court summoned to try them for
treason. The chief leader, Nicholas Bayard, was kept in the cells of the
City Hall for a period of fourteen months, until released by Governor

In 1691, General Henry Sloughter was appointed Governor by the sovereign
authority. Upon his arrival he demanded the surrender of the Fort,
which at first was refused. Major Ingolsby, who had been appointed by
him Lieutenant-Governor, at once landed his forces and blockaded the
Fort. In this work Ingolsby was aided and urged on by the enemies of
Leisler. For seven weeks the city was kept in this state. Leisler
refused to surrender his authority until the commission of the new
governor was produced. At the same time, however, he declared himself
willing to surrender possession to any one duly authorized and deputed
to take his place. Ingolsby, still urged on by Leisler's foes, did all
he could to irritate and annoy him.

On the 19th of March, 1691, Sloughter was met by a delegation consisting
of Philipse Van Courtland and others, representing the anti-Leislerian
party, which expressed to him a cordial greeting and loyalty. With his
escort from the city he proceeded to the City Hall, exhibited his
commission, and took the oath of office. It was late at night when he
reached the Hall, and although it was near midnight he dispatched
Ingolsby and a party of soldiers, at the instigation of Van Courtland
and his friends, to demand a surrender of the Fort. Leisler was
suspicious, and thinking that all was not right, refused to surrender,
and sent a letter by one of his men who had known Sloughter, with
directions to ascertain if he was really present and had issued the
order, or whether it had been prepared by some one who had assumed the
rôle of authority. This act angered Sloughter, and he at once told the
messenger that he intended to make himself known in New York. Major
Ingolsby was again directed to return and take possession of the Fort,
and to release Bayard and the other prisoners who had been committed by
Leisler for treason. Upon their release and restoration to freedom they
were elevated to the position of members of the Council. This augured
ill for Leisler. The new Governor summoned Leisler and his son-in-law,
Milburne, to appear before him without delay. Leisler refused to give up
possession and still held the Fort. He, however, sent Milburne and
Delanoy to the Governor to obtain the assurance that his life would be
spared. The messengers sent to make terms were imprisoned, and another
demand was made to surrender. Leisler became frightened; matters were
becoming exceedingly hot and disagreeable. Resistance could not be kept
up much longer, and he feared his life would be forfeited in consequence
of his disobedience to the lawfully constituted authority. He deeply
felt the necessity of reconciliation, and sent a letter of apology to
the Governor for holding the Fort. He admitted that his action had been
unwise, and excused himself on the ground that he feared the people
would take his life if he gave up control to Ingolsby. This letter was
treated with contempt, receiving no consideration at the hands of the
Governor or his Council. Sloughter convened his Council at the City
Hall. All of its members were enemies of Leisler. Leisler, deserted by
the soldiers of the Fort, was brought a prisoner before Sloughter, and
imprisoned with several others in the guard-house.

At this meeting of the Council the Governor appointed John Lawrence
Mayor of New York.

Leisler with his fellow prisoners remained in the guard-house four days,
when the Governor and Council again met to consider the propriety of his
removal to prison. On the following day a court was organized to try the
prisoners for murder and rebellion. The court met on the 30th day of
March. Leisler refused to put in any plea, maintaining that the court
had no jurisdiction of the case; that the sovereigns alone had the
right to decide whether he had acted without legal authority. The judges
were unwilling to assume the power to decide the question, and submitted
it to the Governor and Council, who held that the point was not well
taken. Thereupon Leisler was found guilty on the 13th day of April,
declared to be a usurper, and with Milburne was condemned to death.

The Governor did not at once sign the death warrant. He was not
satisfied with the situation, and feared to incur the displeasure of the
King. The enemies of Leisler urged him to the act, without success. At
last, after a month had passed away, they adopted a new method to gain
their desire. A feast was prepared, to which the Governor was invited.
They again urged upon him his duty in the matter, and at last by the use
of flattery, and while the Governor was under the influence of the good
wine which had been provided for the occasion, succeeded in their

The anti-Leislerian party, having accomplished the desire of their
hearts, could not rest until the warrant was put into execution. They
feared that the Governor might relent and revoke his order. Nicolls, Van
Courtland, Bayard, and those of their adherents who had been imprisoned
by the direction of Leisler, were burning for vengeance, and nothing but
his ignominious death would allay their fury.

The warrant having been signed, the festal board lost its attractions.
An officer took possession of the document and carried it to the City
Hall. Orders were issued to lead out the prisoners to instant execution.
In order to keep the matter from the ears of Sloughter, some remained at
the entertainment and kept the Governor in good humor and forgetfulness
with wine. The day of execution was cold and dismal. In the drizzling
rain the prisoners were led out to meet their fate. The scaffold was
erected in the park opposite the City Hall. Friends of Leisler gathered
round him in the trying hour, bewailing the doom of their leader, and in
bitter words execrated those who had sought and obtained the death
warrant. Leisler lamented the fate of his son-in-law, and with his dying
breath addressed his son and friend in words of tenderness. Turning to
Milburne he said: "Why must you die? You have been but a servant doing
my will. What I have done has been in the service of my King and Queen,
for the Protestant cause and for the good of my country; for this I
must die. Some errors I have committed; for these I ask forgiveness, and
I entreat my children to do the same."

Thus perished the last Dutch Governor of New York.[33] His remains were
interred in his own ground near the location of old Tammany Hall. The
treatment he received was unjust. He had assumed the reins of government
at the behest of the people, when they had no ruler, and continued to
act in that capacity, considering the open letter of the new sovereigns
as a sufficient authorization. He was condemned unheard, receiving the
treatment of a common malefactor. It is but just to say of him that he
resigned his authority to the new government as soon as the Council had
been sworn in, and as soon as he was properly apprised of his
supersedure. He was prejudged by a court composed of his enemies, some
of whom, on account of malice, were not qualified to try him. In 1695
his estate, which had been confiscated, was restored to his family.
Subsequently Parliament declared that Leisler had held under proper
authority, set aside all acts of attainder and judgments which had been
passed against him and his associates, and the bodies of Leisler and
Milburne received the honor of a public reinterment. It was but tardy

During Sloughter's administration many important changes were made. The
government was placed upon a firm basis, and various courts were
organized. Courts of Common Pleas and General Pleas were organized in
every county, and the town governments assumed in a measure their
present form. The number of supervisors was reduced to one from each
town, with three surveyors of highways.

In May, 1691, the General Assembly confirmed all previous grants and
patents. The grants to Breuckelen were thus again confirmed.

Governor Sloughter died suddenly July 23, 1691. Some supposed that he
was poisoned by the friends of Leisler, whose bitterness was ever
manifested toward him. The theory of poisoning, however, was not
supported by the _post mortem_ examination.

If religious questions had been at the bottom of the democratic revolt
led by Leisler, the triumph of the aristocratic class did not close the
religious differences.[34] Benjamin Fletcher, who succeeded Sloughter as
Governor, was a man of limited education, narrow views, self-opinionated
obstinacy, and always questionable personal sincerity. It was a darling
project with him to introduce the English language and the Episcopalian
forms of worship. To accomplish this purpose he made strenuous efforts,
bringing to bear every influence within his power. The Hollanders were
wedded to their own peculiar forms of church government, and regarded
their church as best entitled to be considered the established form of
religious worship. Vigorous efforts were consequently made to retain its
supremacy, and great opposition was manifested toward the proposed
change. The Dutch language was long successfully retained in the Dutch
churches. It was not until 1767 that the English language was
introduced, causing great dissatisfaction among the old Knickerbocker
stock. The tenacity displayed in retaining the language of the
fatherland, and the refusal to provide English services, drove many
young people into the Episcopalian fold. To this circumstance may be
ascribed the reason why to-day so many Dutch families are found
connected with that denomination. Had the fathers gratified the wishes
of their children by providing services in the English language, the
Reformed Dutch Church would have retained many families that found their
way into the Episcopalian Church.

William Bradford, of Philadelphia, in 1693, established the first
printing-press in New York City, and had the exclusive contract from
the city government to print the laws, ordinances, and corporation
advertising. He had no competitor, and must have enjoyed a rich harvest.
To Bradford belongs the credit of establishing the first newspaper ever
printed in the province. His effort in this direction proved eminently
successful. The paper was first given to the public in 1725, and was
called the "New York Gazette." At first it was merely a weekly paper,
printed on a small half sheet, containing only two pages. As his
business increased it was enlarged to four pages.

In 1693 Long Island received a new name, being designated as Nassau
Island. The change met with but little favor, and although the name
Nassau is intimately associated with the history of the island and with
local institutions, it failed to become permanent.

During this period a system of privateering came into vogue, which in a
great measure received encouragement from the authorities. The entire
coast was infested by daring buccaneers and pirates, who plundered the
shipping, making serious depredations upon the commerce of the country.
The province suffered greatly from these freebooters, and, although
complaint was made from time to time to the constituted authorities, no
redress or protection was received. The officials themselves were
corrupt, and participated in the profits derived from the nefarious and
infamous business. Governor Fletcher fell under strong suspicion of
complicity. Legitimate trade was destroyed, and many embarked in the new
calling who under other circumstances could not have been induced to
pollute themselves by engaging in so vile a traffic.

The English government at last became alarmed. Trade was suspended and
merchants were afraid to send their vessels and wares over the ocean.
They were unwilling to risk their property in so dangerous and hazardous
an enterprise. It became necessary to adopt active means to suppress
piracy. The Governor could not be trusted, and, in order to break up
this evil, Governor Fletcher was recalled in 1695, and Lord Bellomont
appointed in his stead.

Lord Bellomont did not enter upon the discharge of his duties until
1698. He was a man of quick perception, and was convinced that active
measures were necessary. To carry out his views he urged the Government
to equip an armed naval force to cruise in the western waters and
capture the human sharks who were pillaging vessels and destroying the
commerce of the nation. England at that time was engaged in a war with
France, and had not the means or equipments to respond to the appeal.
She required all her naval vessels to defend herself against her
neighbor. Bellomont was determined to accomplish his laudable
undertaking to destroy piracy in American waters, and, as he could
receive no aid from the Crown, resolved to organize a stock company for
the purpose. He was encouraged in his effort by the King, who approved
the plan, and, with the Duke of Shrewsbury and others of the nobility,
became a shareholder in the company thus formed. The object of the
company was to build and man vessels to capture the pirates. A sum of
money amounting to about $30,000 was raised. A fine and strong vessel
called the Adventure Galley was placed in commission. She carried sixty
sailors and mounted thirty guns.

Captain William Kidd, a bold and adventurous officer, was placed in
command of the ship thus equipped. In order to encourage him in his
labor, it was provided that his share in the enterprise should be one
fifth of the proceeds. He was a man of large experience, having been
engaged in the West Indian and New York trade for many years, and having
at various times been employed as captain of packet ships. His
experience and knowledge of the coast preëminently fitted him for the
undertaking. He had lived in New York a long time, owned considerable
property, and was looked upon as a man in every way worthy to discharge
the duties assigned him. Bellomont and Robert Livingston had the utmost
confidence in him, and gave him a warm recommendation for the position.
He married a lady of high social rank in New York, and was privileged to
move in the best circles of the city.

The vessel sailed under flattering auspices in April, 1699, from
Plymouth, England, for New York. Arriving at the latter port, Captain
Kidd shipped ninety additional men, and proceeded to the Indian seas in
search of pirates. Kidd soon found that his own seamen sympathized with
the buccaneers, and were far from unwilling to assume the rôle of
pirates. It will never be known what arguments induced him to turn aside
from the path of duty, and join the band of pirates he was sent to
destroy. The fact is that he was led to abandon his enterprise, and
became the most daring and bold robber on the sea that ever trod the
quarter deck. Reckless and energetic, he soon enriched himself with
booty taken from merchantmen upon the high seas. It is said that he
would often return to the shores of New York and Long Island, and bury
his ill-gotten gains for future use.

Kidd not only buried treasure on Long Island, but, if romantic
traditions are to be believed, visited the island under certain
sentimental conditions. He is credited with having made early visits to
Bushwick in attendance upon a pretty young woman whose family resided in
that region, and with having sought hospitality at the "Kiekout," on the
way to and from the home of the lady.

Even after the character of his undertakings became known, Kidd ventured
to return to Long Island. After capturing a large frigate he landed at
Gardiner's Island, and buried a quantity of treasure. After dividing
some of the ill-gotten gains with his crew, he discharged them, and went
to Boston to reside, under an assumed name, hoping that he would not be
discovered. In this expectation he made a great mistake. A man like him
could not pass long unnoticed. His past career rendered his detection
sure. Bellomont was in Boston attending to certain affairs of state,
and, meeting Kidd in the street, at once recognized him, and speedily
caused his arrest. It was a proud and happy day for Bellomont, and
proved to be a crowning effort in his life. His wish was accomplished!
He had found and with his own hand arrested the notorious pirate. The
prisoner was at once sent to England on a charge of murder and piracy,
was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to death, and executed on the
12th of May, 1701. Kidd's family continued to reside in New York,
feeling keenly the disgrace which had been brought upon them.[35]

Diligent search was now made for his buried treasures. A large quantity
of valuable jewels and gold and silver was found at Gardiner's Island.
The excitement on the subject became intense. Bellomont and Livingston,
having recommended Kidd for appointment as commander of the expedition
against the pirates, and in consequence of their former friendliness for
Kidd, were accused unjustly of having connived at and participated in
his spoils. Had this charge been true, Bellomont would hardly have been
so ungrateful or imprudent as to arrest him in the streets of Boston and
transport him to England for trial and execution.

Bellomont, in the administration of the affairs of state, allied himself
with the democratic faction. Bayard, Van Courtlandt, and the other
members of the Council who had opposed Leisler, were removed, and their
places filled by the former adherents of Leisler. A new Assembly was
called in May, 1699. Bellomont opened it with a speech calculated to
please and encourage the people. He told them that he came with a firm
determination to be just to all interests; that the public money should
not be squandered by any one, and that all officials should be held to a
strict accountability. The address gave satisfaction to the Assembly.
Acts were passed for the suppression of piracy, regulating elections,
and for the indemnification of those who had been excluded from the
general pardon which had been previously granted. Bellomont instituted
and initiated many reforms. Markets were erected at Coenties Slip, and
at the foot of Broad Street. Streets were opened and paved, and
provision was made for keeping them clean. A house was secured and used
as a hospital for the sick poor of the city.

The ferry between Breuckelen and New York was leased for a period of
seven years, and the rates of fare fixed. The fare for a single person
was eight stuyvers in wampum, or a silver twopence; a shilling for a
horse, twopence for a hog, and a penny for a sheep. By the terms of the
lease the city of New York was to build a commodious ferry-house on the
Breuckelen side, which was to be kept in repair by the ferryman.

The jurisdiction of Bellomont was enlarged by his appointment as
Governor of Massachusetts as well as of New York. He was greatly
interested in the Navigation Acts; but his efforts to enforce them were
resisted by the residents and merchants of New England, and met with
opposition in New York. The merchants of New York were incensed at his
conduct, and made a vigorous complaint to the Board of Trade and
Parliament. The matter, however, was never investigated, as he was
released from trial, by the hand of death, in 1701.

In 1697, a mob of Kings County people, who resented the spirit of the
English Government, assembled, "armed, at the Court House of Kings
County, where they destroyed and defaced the King's arms which were
hanging up there." Among those who so convened were the familiar names
of John Rapalje, Jacob Ryerse, Garrett Cowenhoven, Jacob Bennett, and
John Meserole, Jr.

In November, 1697, negroes were not allowed to be brought from New York
on the Sabbath unless they were provided with passes. During the
succeeding years similar legislation was enacted, and the liberty and
freedom of the negro were still more restricted. He was "forbidden to
run about on the Sabbath." The regulations with regard to the observance
of the Sabbath were very stringent. One of the legislative enactments
provided "that no people should pass on the Sabbath day unless it be to
go to or from church, or other urgent and lawful occasions according to
act of Assembly upon penalty of fine and imprisonment."

In 1693 one of the first trials for treason in the New World was held in
Kings County. In those days petit magistrates, clothed with a little
brief authority, became arbitrary, and often imagined that criticism and
words uttered concerning the way they discharged their duties had a
tendency to exasperate the people against the constituted authorities.
They would often cause the arrest and confinement of citizens on
frivolous and baseless charges, and denounce them as guilty of treason.
Such a case was the trial of John Bibaut for "treason." The action taken
by the justices clearly shows that it was a matter of but little moment,
and fraught with no danger to the community. The following order shows
the nature of the case:--

    "October 11, 1693. Att a meeting of the Justices off Kings
    County, held att the County Hall.

    "Present, Roetiff Martense, Nicholaus Stillwell, Joseph
    Hagerman, and Henry Ffilkin, Esquires, Justices.

    "John Bibaut, off Brookland, inn the county aforesayde, wee aver
    being committed bye the said justices too the common jail of
    Kings County, ffor divers scandalous and abusive words spoken by
    the sayde John against theire majesties authority, and breache
    of the peace; the said John having now humbly submitted himself
    and craves pardon and mercy off the sayde justices ffor his
    misdemeanor, is discharged, paying the officers ffees, and being
    on his good behaviour, till the next cort of sessions inn
    November next ensuing the dayte thereoff."

Several others were arrested and imprisoned on similar charges made by
the justices. Although the fines imposed were heavy, it is not to be
presumed that the offenses committed were of a serious nature, as the
accused were all discharged on payment of the fine exacted.




  Brooklyn becomes the Largest Long Island Settlement. Division of
    the Common Lands. Regulations as to the Cutting of Lumber. The
    King's Highway laid out. Brooklyn Officials at the Opening of
    the Century. Lord Cornbury's Proclamation to Long Island
    Justices. Slavery. Encroachments on the Common Highway. The
    trial of Zenger. Population in 1738. Fortifying Long Island.
    Newspaper Glimpses of pre-Revolutionary Life. Ferries. Kings
    County in the Assembly and the Provincial Convention. Philip
    Livingston. General Town Meeting in Brooklyn.

Before the close of the seventeenth century Brooklyn had assumed a
leading place among the Long Island towns. Indeed, in the number of
assessed persons the village with the "ugly little church" began to
exceed Midwout as early as 1675,[36] when it had sixty property owners
who paid taxes.

At the beginning of the new century we find Breuckelen, if not growing
rapidly as we now understand the term, at least treading steadily
forward and assuming the traits of an organized community.

At a town meeting held in 1693, the common lands of Brooklyn had been
divided as follows:

    "All lands and woods, after Bedford and Cripplebush over the
    hills to the path of New Lotts, shall belong to the inhabitants
    of the Gowanis, beginning from Jacob Brower and soe to the
    uttermost bounds of the limitts of New Utrecht.

    "And all the lands and woods that lyes betwixt the aforesaid
    path and the highway from the ferry toward Flattbush shall
    belong to the ffreeholders and inhabitants of Bedfford and

    "And all the lands that lyes in common after the Gowanis betwixt
    the limitts and bounds of Flattbush and New Utrecht shall belong
    to the ffreeholders and inhabitants of Breucklin, fred neck, the
    ferry and the Wallabout."

Among the commissioners appointed to lay out the common lands was
Captain Henry Ffilkin, an influential resident of the town and an elder
in the Reformed Church. The ordinance provided specifically as follows:
"It is likewise ordered and agreed that Capt. Henry Falkin shall have a
full share with any or all the ffreeholders aforesaid, in all the common
lands or woods, in the whole patent of the Town of Broockland aforesaid
beside a half share for his home lott. To have and to hold to him, his
heirs and assigns forever. It is likewise ordered that no person
whatsoever within the common woods, of the jurisdiction of Broockland
aforesaid, shall cutt or fall any oak or chesnut saplings, for firewood
during the space of four years from the date hereof, upon any of the
said common lands or woods within the jurisdiction of Broockland patent,
upon the penaltie of six shillings in money for every waggon load
abovesaid soe cutt, beside the forfeiture of the wood soe cutt as
abovesaid, the one half thereof to the informer, and the other half for
the use of the poor of the Towne of Broockland aforesaid."

At a later town meeting[37] trustees were appointed for the common
lands, and regulations adopted respecting the cutting of timber in the
public woods. These rules were adopted to prevent the unnecessary
cutting of timber and consequent waste. Among other things it was
ordered "that no shoemaker or others shall cutt or ffall any trees to
barke in the common woods, upon the penaltie of the payment of ffive
pounds ffor every tree so cutt." It will be noticed that the orthography
of that period was quite different from that in use in the present age.

The common woodlands, amounting to about 1550 acres,[38] were surveyed
and apportioned, each house in town receiving an interest in the wood,
and being provided with means of ingress and egress from the region so
apportioned. A conveyance dated in 1705 gives "alsoe all the rights and
privileges of the common woodlands of the town of Broockland aforesaid
to said house belonging as per record of said town may appear."

When, in 1703, the improved fenced lands of Breuckelin were surveyed, it
was found that Simon Aertson was the largest real estate owner, being
the happy possessor of 200 acres.

On the 28th of March, 1704, Fulton Street, then called the King's
Highway, was laid out by commissioners appointed by the General Assembly
of the Province of New York. The commissioners to whom this duty was
assigned were Joseph Hegeman, Peter Cortelyou, and Benjamin Vande Water.

The original plan or description of the road, being interesting and
peculiar, is here inserted. It was as follows:--

    "One publique, common and general highway, to begin from low
    water marke at the ferry in the township of Broockland, in Kings
    County, and from thence to run ffour rod wide up between the
    houses and land of John Aerson, John Coe and George Jacobs, and
    soe all along Broockland towne aforesaid, through the lane that
    now is, and ffrom thence straight along a certain lane to the
    southward corner of John Van Couwenhoven's land, and ffrom
    thence straight to Bedfford as it is now staked out, to the lane
    where the house of Benjamin Vandewater stands, and ffrom thence
    straight along through Bedfford towne to Bedfford lane, running
    between the lands of John Garretse Dorlant and Claes Burnse to
    the rear of the lands of the said Cloyse, and ffrom thence
    southerly to the old path now in use, and soe along said path to
    Philip Volkertses land, taking in a little slip of said Philip's
    land on the south corner, soe all along said road by Isaac
    Greg's house to the Fflackbush New Lotts ffence, and soe all
    along said ffence to the eastward, to the northeast corner of
    Eldert Lucas's land, lying within the New Lotts of Fflackbush
    aforesaid, being ffour rod wide, all along, to be and continue

Jacob Vande Water, who became town clerk of Breuckelen in 1691, held the
position until 1705, when he was succeeded by Henry Ffilkin. Ffilkin
held office until 1714. From 1691 to 1699, Joris Hanssen, Hendrick
Clausen, and Jan Gerbritse acted as trustees and commissioners of the
town. In 1699, the trustees and commissioners were Benjamin Vande Water,
Joris Hanssen, and John Garretse Dorlant. From 1700 to 1709, the
trustees were Hendrick Vechte, Jacob Hanssen, and Cornelius Vanduyk.

The first supervisor of the town was Joris Hanssen, and he held the
position from 1703 until 1714.

Jacob Vande Water, the clerk, owned property in the neighborhood of
Tillary and Raymond streets. His tract was mentioned in the patent
issued by Governor Dongan in 1686, ratifying previous grants. He took
the oath of allegiance to the Government at the time his patent was
ratified, having then resided in the colony twenty-nine years. In 1697,
he was appointed one of the freeholders to lay out and divide the common
lands, and acted in that capacity with Joris Hanssen and Jan Garretse
Dorlant, heretofore referred to as trustees. Vande Water was a man of
great importance in the little hamlet, and enjoyed the confidence of the

The officials of Brooklyn[39] who acted from 1700 were as follows:--

Hendrick Vechte was trustee from 1700 to 1726.

Jacob Hanssen was trustee from 1700 to 1708.

Cornelius Vanduyk was trustee from 1700 to 1726.

John Staats was trustee from 1709 to 1726.

Samuel Garritson (or Gerritse) was town clerk in 1714 and 1715.

Adrian Hegeman became town clerk in 1727, and served in that capacity
until 1752.

Joramus Rapelye (Rapalje), Jacobus Leffertse, and Rem Remsen, acted as
trustees from 1727 to 1752, a continuous and unbroken board.

Adrian Hegeman came from an old family, and was doubtless a son of
Adriaen Hegeman, who, as schepen or schout in 1661, signed the petition
to the Director-General of the Council of the New Netherlands, praying
that assistance might be given to pay Carol Van Beauvois for teaching
school, digging graves, running on errands as messenger, etc., referred
to in a previous chapter. His salary as clerk was thirty-three and one
third pounds per annum, or about $160 in our money.

On the death of Bellomont (in 1701) the administration devolved upon
Lieutenant-Governor Nanfan, until the appointment of a new Governor.
Nanfan at the time was temporarily absent in Barbadoes, and in
consequence a sharp and bitter contest took place as to the management
and control of the province. The anti-Leislerian party claimed that
Colonel William Smith, being senior member of the Council, should
exercise authority. The Leislerian or democratic party asserted that
the same course should be pursued as at the time Sloughter died, which
consisted in the election of a temporary chairman. The discussion
waxed warm, and would have led to disastrous results, had not
Lieutenant-Governor Nanfan opportunely arrived to quell the disturbance.

Nanfan was a strong exponent of the Leislerian policy, and warmly
espoused that party's cause. The Assembly convened by him possessed his
spirit, was actuated by the same motives, and enjoyed the confidence and
support of Leisler's friends.

During the absence of Nanfan and while the Government was without a
head, Peter Schuyler and Robert Livingston supported and sustained the
pretensions of Colonel Smith, senior councillor, to be considered the
temporary ruler of affairs. Livingston was one of Leisler's most
determined enemies, and had been execrated as such by Milburne in his
dying words. At this time Livingston held the very important office of
Secretary of Indian Affairs and Collector of Customs. The new Assembly
caused his removal, and required him to furnish his accounts for
examination. Not being able to produce them, he was denounced and
charged with being a defaulter. His expulsion from the Council
followed, together with confiscation of his property and effects for the
benefit of the province.

It seemed as if the enemies of Leisler were to be brought quickly to
punishment, and that the martyr's friends were to enjoy the sweets of
revenge. The feuds which existed between the two parties in the affairs
of the colony produced the same confusion in the municipal affairs of
the city. In the Board of Aldermen each party had its adherents, and the
contentions between the two equaled in intensity of hate the feeling
manifested between the contending parties in the war of the Rebellion.
Some of the aldermen refused to take the oath of office at the hands of
Mayor Noell, and he appointed others in their place. The friends of
Leisler refused to act or to recognize the power of the Mayor to make
new appointments. To enable an appeal to be taken to decide the
question, the Aldermen took a recess, and the city was virtually without
a government for a month. The court to whom the matter was referred held
that the Mayor possessed the authority to act in the premises by filling
vacancies, and thereupon the new officials took their seats. The Board
thus became equally divided between the two parties. The Mayor belonged
to the aristocratic or anti-Leislerian party, and had the casting vote.
This proceeding on the part of the Mayor created intense excitement, and
threatened the peace of the city.

Lord Cornbury, a nephew of Queen Anne, who had just ascended the throne,
was appointed to succeed Lord Bellomont. Bayard, who had labored to
secure the conviction and execution of Leisler and Milburne, having
prepared the act under which they were executed, upon hearing of the
appointment of Cornbury, transmitted papers to him and to Parliament,
strongly condemning the Leislerians and abusing Nanfan and his
administration. Nanfan, learning of the action of Bayard, immediately
arrested him and his associate, John Hutchins, for treasonable acts in
vilifying the administration. Bayard had the misfortune to be tried
under the same act which he had prepared for the benefit of Leisler. The
act provided "that any person who should endeavor by any manner or way,
or upon any pretense, by force of arms or otherwise, to disturb the
peace, good, and quiet, of the province, should be esteemed rebels and
traitors, and should incur the pains and penalties which the laws of
England had provided for such offenses."

Bayard had enforced this law without semblance of pity, but with rancor
and hatred in his heart toward Leisler and Milburne. His own hour had
come! As he had meted out to others, so he himself was to receive. He
could expect no clemency. Bayard was indicted for treason and rebellion,
for inciting the soldiers in the fort against the constituted
authorities, and for inducing his friends to sign libelous petitions and
addresses. Great exertions were made to secure his acquittal, without
avail. He was tried, found guilty of the offense, and sentenced to
death. Hutchins met with a similar fate. Leisler was not allowed
opportunity to appeal for a reprieve, but Bayard and Hutchins received
more merciful treatment. Governor Nanfan gave them a reprieve until the
matter could be presented to the King and his wishes ascertained. In the
mean time Lord Cornbury arrived, and exercised executive clemency by
their release. Bayard was again taken in favor by Cornbury, who
denounced the Leislerians and identified himself with the party in
opposition. The judge who passed sentence on Bayard was obliged to leave
the country, having by his conduct incurred the displeasure of the
Governor and Council.

Cornbury's administration was intolerant toward every religious and
educational advancement. He embraced every opportunity which presented
itself to rob and plunder the treasury, and enrich himself thereby.
Although his opportunities for enrichment were great, yet he possessed
no capacity for saving that which he secured. His recklessness and
licentiousness caused him to become deeply involved in debt, and
rendered him unpopular with the people; public sentiment was, indeed,
strongly against him. This fact, in connection with his general and
reckless disobedience of orders, caused his recall in 1708. His
creditors, who had looked upon his advancement to the position of
Governor as a golden opportunity to secure their claims, feeling keenly
the disappointment of not receiving their just dues, and becoming
greatly incensed against him, on his return to England had him arrested
and cast into prison, where he remained until the death of his father,
whom he succeeded in the peerage.

The condition of the negro slave at this time was one of degradation.
The negro's privileges were circumscribed, and strict laws were enforced
concerning his habits and movements. In order to pass the gates the
slaves were obliged to obtain permission of their masters, and were not
allowed to meet together. They could not own property, and there were no
means provided whereby they could obtain their freedom. If an owner
desired to give his slave his freedom, he was liable to pay a heavy fine
for transgressing the law. These burdens daily increased. The traffic in
slaves became more and more popular as a business.

In order to supply the demand, a public market for slaves was opened in
New York in 1711. It was located at the foot of Wall Street, and it was
the practice to bring all the slaves who were to be sold or hired to
this market, where they could be inspected as so many cattle by parties
desiring to bid. So strict were the ordinances passed concerning negroes
that they were not allowed to appear in the streets at night unless they
had a lighted lantern. All who violated this regulation were committed
to jail, and kept in confinement until a fine of eight shillings was
paid. The master or owner of the slave on paying this fine enjoyed the
privilege of requiring the authorities to give the offending slave
thirty-nine lashes at the public whipping-post. It was not unnatural
that these regulations should breed among the negroes at times a spirit
of rebellion. They committed many murders in retaliation for injuries

At Newtown, in 1707, an entire family was murdered by the slaves. On
being apprehended, the murderers acknowledged their offense, and gave as
a reason for committing the crime that they had been prevented from
going out on Sunday. The punishment instituted for the murderous acts of
slaves was calculated to fill them with fear and dread. They were even
"tied to stakes and burned alive, broken on wheels, or suspended to the
limbs of trees and left to perish." Seldom in the world's history has so
much inhumanity been manifested towards slaves as in the early days of
the colonies.

In 1706, Lord Cornbury issued the following proclamation to the justices
of the peace in Kings County:--

    By his Excellency, Edward, Lord Viscount Cornbury, Captain
    General and Governor in Chief of the provinces of New York and
    New Jersey, and the territories depending thereon in America,
    and Vice Admiral of the same, etc.: Whereas, I am informed that
    several negroes in Kings County have assembled themselves in a
    riotous manner, which if not prevented may prove of ill
    consequence; you and every one of you are therefore hereby
    required and commanded to take all proper methods for seizing
    and apprehending all such negroes in the said county, as shall
    be found to be assembled in such manner as aforesaid, or have
    run away or absconded from their masters or owners, whereby
    there may be reason to suspect them of ill practices or designs,
    and to secure them in safe custody, that their crimes and
    actions may be inquired into; and if any of them refuse to
    submit themselves, then to fire on them, kill, or destroy them,
    if they cannot otherwise be taken; and for so doing this shall
    be your sufficient warrant. Given under my hand at Fort Anne, in
    New York, the 22d day of July, 1706.


Furman, in his "Antiquities," refers to the condition of slaves on Long
Island, and bears testimony that as a general rule they were peaceable
and well behaved. He says that they were much attached to the families
to which they belonged. Many now living can bear testimony to this fact.
When slavery was abolished in New York it was provided that all who had
reached a certain age should remain with their owners and be provided
during life with proper support and care. The writer can now call to
mind many old negroes who never obtained their freedom. They loved to
talk of "massa" and the boys. They considered themselves a part of the
family, and often idolized their owners. The master had in them true,
warm friends, ever ready to fight his battles and take his part.

The aged negroes loved to sit in the chimney corner and tell to the
children the history of the family. They would narrate in glowing
language the incidents of the past, and always had eager listeners. They
were rarely sold or separated from the family. When a son or daughter
was married, a slave became a portion of the dowry or outfit. At times
when estates were divided it became necessary to dispose of them. Furman
says "that in an inventory taken on the 16th of December, 1719, in Kings
County, of the estate of a deceased person, a negro wench and child were
valued at £60, while five milk cows, five calves, three young bulls, and
two heifers were collectively valued at £20."

New York was visited during the time of Lord Cornbury with that terrible
scourge of the human race, yellow fever. It was brought from St. Thomas
and spread rapidly. Physicians seemed powerless to prevent its ravages.
It was an epidemic long remembered and dreaded by the citizens of New
York. All who could get away fled either to Jersey or Long Island. Lord
Cornbury, with his retinue, took up his residence in Jamaica, Long
Island. In order to afford suitable accommodations for so high a
dignitary as the Governor, the Presbyterian minister of the village
cheerfully gave up his parsonage to his use, removing himself to a
smaller and less pretentious house.


In return for this act of kindness, Cornbury was guilty of a very
contemptible trick toward the Presbyterian minister and church. The
Governor was an uncompromising supporter of the Established Church of
England, and was ready at all times to advance her interests. The
Presbyterian church of Jamaica was strong and prosperous. Its popularity
made the few Episcopalians in the village jealous and anxious to secure
the property. The presence of Cornbury induced them to take possession
of the building on a Sunday afternoon between services. This act
resulted in violence between the parties, each of which claimed title.
The pews were torn out, and the turmoil was only quelled by the
appearance of the Governor, who decided that the Episcopalians were
entitled to possession.

A law suit followed, and the Episcopalians kept possession until 1728.
The sheriff also seized the parsonage and land, and leased it for the
benefit of the Episcopal Church. Cornbury, having been kindly treated by
the minister, rewarded the act of courtesy by surrendering the house
into the hands of the Episcopal rector, who took possession and occupied
the house when Cornbury returned to New York.

Cornbury was succeeded in 1710 by Robert Hunter, who was a man of fine
abilities, good character, possessed of excellent business qualities,
and of a varied experience. He was one who in our day would pass for a
very good Yankee. He was born of humble Scotch parents, who had not the
means to supply him with an education. He was in a great measure a
"self-made" man. When very young he was apprenticed to an apothecary.
This employment not suiting his taste, he ran away and enlisted in the
army as a private. Possessing honesty and perseverance, and withal
having a desire to please his superior officers, he soon gained their
affection and good will, and was placed in the line of promotion. His
manliness gained him friends everywhere, and in a short time the poor
Scotch lad rose to the rank of a brigadier general. He was now thrown
into the society of the cultivated and refined.

Hunter married an heiress, through whose instrumentality he was
appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Virginia. He started for his new field
of labor in 1707, was captured by a French cruiser and taken back to
Europe as a prisoner. He was exchanged after having been a prisoner only
a short time. What at first seemed to be a hardship in his case proved a
blessing, and the precursor of higher honors. Upon being released the
Queen removed the gall from the bitterness he had endured by bestowing
upon him the position of governor of the provinces of New York and New

Hunter considered it a paramount duty on his part to enforce the
requirements of the Crown. In acting in accordance with their wishes he
was compelled to oppose every manifestation of republican feeling on the
part of the people, and to ally himself with the aristocratic party. He
chose his councillors from this party, but was careful to select men of
intelligence and power. Among his first advisers might be mentioned
Gerardus Beekman, Rip Van Dam, an honest and successful Dutch merchant;
Killian Van Rensselaer, whose family were patroons on the Hudson. The
Huguenots were represented in his Cabinet by John Barbarie and Frederic
Philipse. Hunter was deeply interested in the Huguenot element of the

Governor Hunter had a fixed desire to acquire additional territory for
his Queen. He projected an expedition to conquer Canada, and used his
influence to induce New England to join in the enterprise. This was in
1711. It was a measure which met with hearty acquiescence in New York.
The attention of the Assembly was brought to the subject, and at once an
appropriation of ten thousand pounds was made to defray the necessary
expenses. The Assembly issued bills of credit, and they may be said to
be the beginnings of paper money in our country, as such notes had never
before been used in the colony.

In 1712, after the failure of the expedition for conquest, rumors of an
intended negro rebellion were heard on every side. It was noticed that
the movements of the slaves were mysterious, and the general opinion was
that the slaves intended to cause a riot; and a natural alarm spread
through the communities on Manhattan Island and on the Brooklyn side of
the river. These fears were not unfounded. The smouldering fire burst
out into a flame. Property was destroyed, one house was burned, and
several white men were killed. It was resolved to make a general arrest
of the negroes. Nineteen were taken, tried, and executed for their
connection with the disturbance.

In 1713, the war between England and France terminated by the treaty of
Utrecht, which put an end to the effort to conquer Canada.

Hunter's health failing, in 1719, after a term of nine years, he was
obliged to seek a change of climate, and returned to England, leaving
the administration of affairs in the hands of his trusty friend, Peter
Schuyler. He bade adieu to New York in July, 1719, bearing with him the
good wishes of the people.

Schuyler's official career was short, lasting but one year. His
long residence and connection with public matters proved of service
to himself and the people he governed, and rendered his short
administration eminently successful. He exercised great influence with
the Indians, having ever shown himself to be their friend and protector,
and having on many occasions interceded with them, and thereby saved the
settlement from invasion and destruction. One of his principal and most
worthy acts was the restoration of friendship between the whites and
Iroquois Indians, which gave him deserved popularity.

The next governor was William Burnet, a son of the celebrated Bishop
Burnet. He arrived on the 17th of September, 1720, immediately assumed
control and entered upon his duties as governor of the combined
provinces of New York and New Jersey. He was a man of education and
ability, and above all things else was thoroughly honest. He readily saw
that the wisdom and prudence of Hunter had been beneficial to the
colony, and he resolved to follow the same course his predecessor had
pursued. One of his first acts was to continue the Assembly which had
been convened by Hunter, and he kept it in existence for eleven years.
The Assembly manifested its confidence and gratification by voting him a
revenue for the succeeding five years.

It was soon after the opening of Burnet's administration that the people
of Brooklyn and Kings County began to give signs of annoyance and
agitation over encroachments made by private owners upon the king's
highway leading from the ferry, and now represented by Fulton Street.
This highway, as we have seen, had been laid out in 1704, by the duly
constituted commissioners, and it was provided "that it was to be ffour
rod wide and to continue forever."

In April, 1721, the General Sessions of the Peace for Kings County held
its term, and, after a due consideration of the question, indictments
for encroaching on the "common highway of the King leading from the
ferry to the church," were found against John Rapalje, Hans Bergen, and
others. It appears very singular that these indictments were obtained at
the instance and upon the complaint of two of the indicted parties.

The complaint on which this indictment was obtained was as follows:--

    Flatbush, April 19, 1721. John Rapalje and Hans Bergen of the
    fferry desires of the Grand Jury that the Commissioners own
    being should be presented for not doing there duty in laying the
    King's highway according to ye law, being the King's highway is
    too narrow from the ferry to one Nicolus Cowenhoven living at
    Brooklyn, and if all our neighbours will make ye road according
    to law, then ye said John Rapalje and Hans Bergen is willing to
    do the same as aforesaid, being they are not willing to suffer
    more than their neighbors. As witness our hands the day and year
    first above written.


These men were governed by a desire that all should fare alike,
demanding that the law should be enforced without fear, favor, or

Some of the persons indicted, in connection with others who felt
aggrieved and feared that they also might be placed in a similar
unpleasant position, applied to the Colonial Legislature, and secured
the passage of a law on the 27th of July, 1721, "to continue the common
road or King's highway from the ferry toward the Town of Breuckland, on
the Island of Nassau, in the Province of New York." The preamble was as
follows: "Whereas, Several of the inhabitants on the ferry on the Island
of Nassau, by their petition, preferred to the General Assembly, by
setting forth that they have been molested by persecutions, occasioned
by the contrivance and instigations of ill and disaffected persons, to
the neighborhood, who would encroach upon the buildings and fences that
have been made many years, alledging the road was not wide enough, to
the great damage of several of the old inhabitants, on the said ferry,
the said road as it now is, has been so for sixty years past without any
complaint either of the inhabitants or travellers."

The remaining sections of the law established the road "forever," as it
then existed, from the ferry upward to the town of Breuckland, as far as
the swinging gate of John Rapalje, just above the property belonging to
James Harding. The unwillingness of the early settlers to part with
their land, when land was so cheap, accounts in a great measure for our
present narrow and crooked street. These early settlers, in their
opposition to the widening of the street, might have desired to preserve
some favorite fruit or shade tree. It has been given as a reason why
Broadway, New York, makes a turn or diverges at Grace Church, that a
Dutchman had a favorite cherry tree on the line of the thoroughfare as
proposed, and, if the street was continued in a direct line, the tree
would have felt the woodman's axe.

Another provision of this enactment was the privilege it gave that, if a
majority of the inhabitants of the town should "adjudge that part of the
road near to the ferry to be too narrow and inconvenient," they could
take proceedings to have it widened. In order to secure this
improvement, "they might cause the sheriff to summon a jury of twelve
men to appraise the value of land to be taken, and the amount of value
so ascertained should be levied upon the towne, and collected and paid
to the owners of the land so appropriated to street purpose."

This provision of the law was never enforced. The people seemed to rest
content with their narrow, winding, crooked lane, which in those days
resembled a cow-path. The "swinging gate" referred to, is said to have
been located on the rise of the hill at or near the junction of Sands
and Fulton streets.

The commissioners of highways laid out another important highway or road
on the 28th of March, 1704. It led to the public landing place at the
mills of Nehemiah Denton at Gowanus. The record of this road is as

    "One common highway to Gowanus Mill, to begin from the northeast
    corner of Leffert Peterses ffence, and soe along the road
    westerly as it is now in use, to the lane yt parts the lands of
    Hendrick Vechte, and Abraham Brower and Nicholas Brower, and soe
    all along said lane, as it is now in ffence to the house of
    Jurian Collier, and from thence all along the roade, now in use
    to the said Gowanus Mill, being in all four rod wide to the said
    lane, and that there be a convenient landing place for all
    persons whatsoever, to begin ffrom said southermost side of
    said Gowanus Mill house, and ffrom said house to run ffour rod
    to the southward, for the transportation of goods, and the
    commodious passage of travellers; and that said highway to the
    said Gowanus Mill ffrom said house of said Jurian Collier, shall
    be but two rod only, and where it is now in use said common
    highway to be and continue forever; and ffurther that the ffence
    and gate that now stands upon the entrance into said mill neck,
    shall soe remain and be alwayes kept soe enclosed with a ffence
    and hanging gate; and the way to said mill to be thorou that
    gate only, and to be alwayes shutt or put to, by all persons
    that passes thorou."

In 1709 another road[40] and landing place had been laid out at or near
the mill of John C. Friecke.

Brooklyn's political fortunes were at this period so intimately
connected with those of New York city that the political history of one
is, in general, the political history of the other; yet Brooklyn and
Kings County held sufficiently aloof to justify the omission of any
particular chronicle of the administration of Burnet and its quarrels
with the French, or the circumstances attending the Governor's transfer
to Massachusetts by George II.

The next Governor, John Montgomerie, was instructed to continue the
policy of Hunter, but he had not the firmness to do so.

The principal event in Montgomerie's administration, and one which is
held in lasting remembrance in New York, was the grant of an amended
charter to the city in 1730. This charter, as well as the Dongan
charter, of which it was an amendment, is one which has always been of
interest to Brooklyn, as it claimed to fix the limits of the city of New
York. The limits thus embraced in the charter extended to low-water mark
on the Long Island shore.[41]

On the death of Montgomerie, in 1731, the Governorship passed
temporarily to Rip Van Dam, senior member of the Council, in whose
accession the Dutch elements in New York and Kings County rejoiced

Colonel William Crosby, who became Governor in 1732, was guilty of
infamous tyrannies and usurpations, as in the Van Dam trial, and later
in the persecution of John Peter Zenger, publisher of the "Weekly
Journal," a newspaper started in opposition to the administration
"Gazette" and to voice the popular opposition.

Under Crosby's instigation the Council promulgated an order directing
that the papers containing the obnoxious articles should be burnt by the
hangman at the pillory. When this order was presented to the Quarter
Sessions the Aldermen protested strongly against it, and the court
thereupon refused to allow it to be entered on the records. The
Recorder, Francis Harrison, was the only one who attempted to defend it,
and he based its regularity upon former English precedents. The court
also refused to allow the hangman to execute the order, and it was
carried into effect by a negro slave, hired for the purpose. The negro
did his work in the presence of the Recorder and other partisans of the
government. The magistrates, with great and commendable unanimity,
refused to attend, and evidently considered that the whole proceeding
was but on a par with the former actions of the adherents of the Crown.

The burning of the papers did not satisfy the aristocratic party. They
desired to be avenged, and, thirsting for a victim, shortly after
caused the arrest of Zenger on the charge that he had been guilty of
publishing treasonable and seditious libels against the Government and
her representatives. He was imprisoned on this complaint, and, while in
jail awaiting the action of the grand jury, was treated in a cruel and
inhuman manner by his jailers. The ordinary courtesies usually granted
to unconvicted men were denied him. He was even refused the use of pen,
ink, and paper. The jail of the city at that time was in the City Hall,
in Wall Street. Here Zenger was imprisoned.

Application was made by his friends to have him submitted to bail, and
for the purpose of having the amount fixed, he was brought before the
court on a writ of _habeas corpus_. The court required him to give bail
in the sum of £400, with two additional sureties in the sum of £200
each. This was virtually a denial of bail, as he could not procure the
requisite amount. In his endeavor to get his bail reduced, he swore that
he was not worth, exclusive of his trade tools, the sum of £40. On this
affidavit he was remanded to his place of confinement.

The trial of Zenger occasioned great excitement on both sides of the
East River. The acquittal brought immense enthusiasm and lavish honors
on Andrew Hamilton, who brilliantly defended the popular publisher.

In the Assembly called in 1737, under Governor Clarke, Kings County was
represented by Samuel Garretson, Abraham Lott, and Johannis Lott.

Brooklyn's population in 1738 was 721. In the same year the population
of the other settlements was as follows: Flatbush, 540; Bushwick, 302;
New Utrecht, 282; Flatlands, 268; Gravesend, 235.

The breaking out of virulent smallpox in New York brought the Assembly
of 1745-46 to Brooklyn, a matter of momentous interest to the little
hamlet. The house of "Widow Sickle" was honored by the Assembly as a
place of meeting, and its great room was so occupied for several months.

During Governor Clinton's term smallpox appeared a second time in New
York (in 1752), and the Colonial Assembly again sought quarters in
Brooklyn in which to hold their deliberations. The Legislature chose a
house on Fulton Street near Nassau. It was at this important session
that, on the 4th of June, 1752, the Colonial Commissioners canceled
bills of credit, issued by the Colony of New York, amounting to the sum
of £3,602 18s. 3d. The Assembly manifested no little acrimony toward the
Governor and displayed a growing feeling of independence.

This independence of the representatives of the people appeared with
increasing frequency, and signs of it so preyed upon gloomy Sir Danvers
Osborne, who succeeded Clinton, that he hanged himself with a
handkerchief in his garden, shortly after his inauguration, leaving
Lieutenant-Governor DeLancey[42] to assume control of the government.

Meanwhile one phase of Long Island's relations to New York should not
escape notice. The position of Long Island made it natural that New York
should look to it as in a measure a bulwark against attack from the sea,
and various governors displayed an interest in repairing those harbor
fortifications which rested on the Island.

Governor Clarke addressed the Legislature, in 1741, in the following
terms: "There is great reason to apprehend a speedy rupture with France;
your situation ought therefore to awaken you to a speedy provision
against that event, in fortifying the town in a better manner than it is
at present by erecting batteries in proper places upon some of the
wharves facing the harbor, others upon the side of the Hudson River
adjoining the town, and one at Red Hook, upon Long Island, to prevent
the enemy from landing at Nutten Island."

Governor Clinton, on April 30, 1744, assured the Legislature in a
special message that "it was absolutely necessary there should be a
battery of six guns at Red Hook, on Nassau Island, which would
effectually prevent the enemy's lying there, to bombard the city, or
their landing any force or artillery on Nutten Island. In case of any
such attack upon us, this battery might be easily supplied and
maintained by the force of the country."

Of life on Long Island and throughout the Colony during the period
immediately preceding the Revolution we find many interesting glimpses
through the medium of newspapers of the time.

The "Weekly Post Boy" of June 18, 1753, contained an advertisement which
was of interest to the citizens of Long Island:--

    Notice is hereby given that the Ferry House from Long Island to
    Staten Island, commonly known by the name of the Upper Ferry,
    otherwise Stillwell's Ferry, is now kept by Nicholas Stillwell,
    who formerly occupy'd the same; he has two good Boats well
    accommodated for the safe Conveyance of Man or Horse across the
    Narrows. He also proposes to carry, if required, travellers
    either to Staten Island, Elizabethtown Point, Amboy, or New
    York, and that at the most reasonable terms. He continues to
    keep good entertainment for travellers.


John Lane advertised in the "Mercury" June 18, 1753, as follows:--

    This is to inform the Publick that John Lane now keeps the ferry
    at Yellow Hook, 6 miles below New York ferry on Long Island, and
    has provided good boats, well fitted, with proper hands, and
    will be ready at all times (wind and weather permitting) to go
    to Smith's Ferry on Staten Island, with a single man only. There
    will be good entertainment at said house, where all gentlemen
    travellers and others may expect the best of usage, for
    themselves and horses, from their very humble servant,

      JOHN LANE.

    N. B. Travellers are desired to observe in going from Flat Bush
    to said ferry to keep the mark'd trees on the right hand.

The Free and Accepted Masons are referred to by the "Mercury" as having
observed in due form the anniversary of St. John. Its account of the
proceedings is as follows: "Sunday the 24th ult., being the Anniversary
of the Festival of St. John the Baptist, the Ancient and Right
Worshipful Society of Free and Accepted Masons, of this City, assembled
at Spring Garden, the next Day, and being properly cloathed, made a
regular Procession in due Form, to the Kings Arms Tavern in Broad
Street, near the Long Bridge, where an elegant Entertainment was
provided; and after drinking his Majesty's and several other loyal
Healths, the Day was concluded in the most social manner, and to the
entire satisfaction of all the Company."

The following peculiar advertisement appeared in the "Post Boy" in

    "By a person lately arrived in this Town, Painting upon Glass
    (commonly call'd burning upon Glass) is performed in a neat and
    curious Manner so as to never change its Colour; Perspective
    Views neatly colour'd for the Camera Obscura.

    "N. B. Young gentlemen and ladies are instructed in either of
    the above, so as to be capable to perform it themselves in a
    little Time, at a reasonable Rate. By the same person, Land
    Surveyed, Designs for Buildings, Plans and Maps neatly drawn.
    Enquire at Mr. John Ditcher's Tallow Chandler and Soap Boiler in
    the Sloat."

It would appear that Bedloe's Island at that time was private property,
and was considered by the owner to be very valuable. He advertised:--

    "To be Let, Bedloe's Island, alias Love Island, together with
    the Dwelling House and Light House, being finely situated for a
    tavern where all kinds of Garden Stuff, Poultry, &c., may be
    easily raised for the shipping outward bound, and from where any
    Quantity of pickled Oysters may be transported; it abounds with
    English Rabbits."

The "New York Gazette" of July 23, 1753, made an announcement, of
interest to Presbyterians, that--

    "Inasmuch as it was yesterday the declared Intention of the
    Presbyterian Church in this City to make use of the Version of
    Psalms Known by the Name of Mr. Watt's in their publick Worship,
    this may serve to acquaint all concerned, that an Impression of
    these Psalms was done here in the year 1750, in order to supply
    two or three neighboring congregations, which are now almost all
    sold off, and a new Impression begun, which would have been
    finished as Leisure Time permitted; but as there is likely to be
    a small Demand quickly for them, the Impression will be now
    proceeded in immediately, and finished with all Dispatch; so
    that in a very few Weeks they will be ready. And all such
    Families of this City, as shall take three or more of them at
    once, shall at any time before the 1st of November next, have
    them at the wholesale price of 2s. per Book, and singly 2s.
    4d., plain bound, and others who incline to have them neatly
    bound will have them at the Difference for the Binding. On
    Notification some time ago, that the new Version of Psalms by
    Tate and Brady was to be introduced into that Church, an
    Impression was immediately made of them, which fell upon the
    Printer's Hands; he presumes, therefore, that all such as
    occasioned his Damage in these, will prefer the Purchasing of
    these of him to any other. N. B.--The above Impression of Tate
    and Brady's Psalms is a pretty good one, and to be sold bound
    very cheap."

In these days the Scottish settlers kept alive the remembrance of home.
Their quarterly meeting received the following notice:--

    "The members of the Scots Society, in this City, are desired to
    take Notice, that their Quarterly Meeting is on Wednesday
    evening, the 1st of August next, at the House of Mr. Malcolm
    McEwen, near the City Hall."

On the 4th of June, 1753, we have seen that notice was given of the
drawing of a lottery for the benefit of the Presbyterians. On the 23d of
July following, notice was published that, "By a law passed the last
sessions, a publick Lottery is directed for a further provision toward
founding a College for the Advancement of Learning within this Colony,
to consist of 5,000 tickets at Thirty shillings each, 1,094 of which are
to be fortunate."

There was to be one prize of £500, and the lowest was £5. The notice
continued: "Fifteen per cent. to be deducted from the Prizes: As such a
laudable Design will greatly tend to the welfare and Reputation of this
Colony, it is expected the Inhabitants will readily be excited to become
Adventurers. Publick notice will be given of the precise Time of putting
the Tickets in the Boxes, that such Adventurers as shall be minded to
see the same done, may be present at the doing thereof. The Drawing to
commence on the first Tuesday in November next, or sooner if full, at
the City Hall of New York under the Inspection of the Corporation, who
are impowered to appoint two or more of their Body to inspect all and
every Transaction of the said Lottery; and two Justices of the Peace, or
other reputable Freeholders of every county in this Colony, if they see
cause to dispute the same at their next general Sessions of the Peace.
Publick notice will be given fourteen Days before the Drawing. The
managers are sworn faithfully to execute the Trust reposed in them, and
have given Security for the faithful Discharge of the same. Such as
forge or counterfeit any Ticket or alter the Number, and are thereof
convicted, are by the Acts to suffer Death as in the cases of Felony.
The Prizes will be published in this paper, and the Money will be paid
to the Possessors of the Benefit Tickets as soon as the Drawing is
finished. Tickets are to be had at the Dwelling House of Messieurs
Jacobus Roosevelt and Peter Van Burgh Livingston, who are appointed
managers. The managers would acquaint the Publick, that upwards of one
thousand Tickets are already engaged to the Hand in Hand and American
Fire Companies in this City, to whom the Tickets are already delivered.
The Prosperity of the Community greatly depending upon the regular
Education of Youth, it is not doubted but that the Lottery will soon
fill; Those therefore that Design to become Adventurers are desired
speedily to apply for Tickets or they may be disappointed."

An advertisement announces the sale of "Joyce's great wound balsam," a
"corrector for coughs and colds," and other things, at Edward Joyce's
shop "near the Brooklyn ferry." Israel Horsfield offers "two negro men,
one of which has served with a ship carpenter, and is a good caulker,
and has lately served with a brewer and maltster, and is very handy."
The widow Rapalje at the Brooklyn ferry was robbed, in 1768, of "a gold
ring, seven silver spoons, one pair of gold sleeve-buttons, two
Johannesses, two doubloons, two New York £5 bills, and about £40 in
Jersey bills and dollars." A negro named Cæsar was the thief, and, being
found guilty, he was executed.

In August, 1771, Ares Remsen, at the Wallabout, offered 20 shillings
reward for a "negro man, Newport, Guinea-born, and branded on the breast
with three letters." On Sunday, February 24, 1773, "the coldest day for
more than half a century," the harbor and river were so full of ice
"that many people walked over to Brooklyn and back again." By a notice
in the "Mercury" of February 21, 1774, it appears that a ferry was
established from Coenties Market, New York, to the landing-place of P.
Livingston, Esq., and Henry Remsen, on Long Island, and another from Fly
Market, and a third from Peck Slip "to the present ferry-house at
Brooklyn." The Livingston landing was near the foot of the present
Joralemon Street. "St. George's Ferry," as this was called, was operated
for not more than two years.

Speaking of Brooklyn affairs "Rivington's Gazette" (March 31, 1774),
says: "Many persons have been misled by an opinion that the church
proposed to be erected by lottery, at Brooklyn, is to be under the
ministry of the Rev. Mr. Bernard Page. It will be a truly orthodox
church, strictly conformable to the doctrine and discipline of the
Constitutional Church of England as by law established, and under the
patronage of the Rev. Rector and Vestry of Trinity Church."

It was at Tower Hill, on the Heights, near St. George's Ferry, that a
tavern was opened in May, 1774, and according to an advertisement, in
August following, there was to be "a bull baited on Tower Hill, at three
o'clock in the afternoon, every Thursday during the season."

Meanwhile the relations of the American colonists with Great Britain had
begun to show more than a slight strain. George III. ascended the throne
in 1760. In 1765 Grenville became the Prime Minister of England.
Grenville held that England had a right to impose taxes and regulate the
affairs of the colonies without consulting their wishes in the premises.
As a result of his efforts in this direction, an act was passed
providing for a tax on articles which had previously been entered free
of duty. To enforce the same the powers and jurisdiction of the courts
in admiralty were enlarged. These acts were looked upon by the colonists
as tyrannical. At first, the people could not believe the report. When
they came to realize the facts, their indignation knew no bounds.
Meetings were held nightly, and the measures were denounced in severe
terms as unjust and tyrannical. This feeling was not confined to the
city of New York alone, but was manifest in all the settlements of the
colony. Protests were prepared and freely signed against the proposed
Stamp Act, and urging the immediate repeal of the Sugar Act, which had
recently become a law.

The Assembly in its session in March, 1764, passed stringent resolutions
in opposition to the invasion of their vested rights, and forwarded a
forcible memorial to the ministry in opposition to the enforcement of
the obnoxious acts. It should be borne in mind that the Assembly was
composed of delegates or members from the twelve counties included in
the province of New York, three of which counties were on Long
Island.[43] The County of Kings was represented by Simon Boerum and
Abraham Schenck. At this time Abraham Lott, Jr., of Kings County, was
Clerk of the Assembly. The members from Kings County received
seventy-five cents per diem, and were paid by their constituents, and
the same sum per day for the time consumed in their journey to New York,
also paid by their constituents. The language used in the remonstrance
of the Assembly was bold and decided. It did not beg the question, but
was spirited, severe, and just in its condemnation of the overt acts of
Parliament. The Assembly and the citizens were destined to be severely
punished for the bravery they displayed in the defense of their
rights. The action of the Assembly resulted in the total suspension
of legislative prerogatives, and deprived the people of their
representation in the government of the colony. The neighboring colonies
also sent petitions on the subject to Parliament. These were received
because they were couched in feebler language, and after consideration
were rejected. To the credit of New York it must be said that she
presented her objections in a bold and fearless manner. Her Assembly
spoke in trumpet tones that gave no uncertain sound. The import and
meaning of her protest could not be misunderstood, and showed her people
to possess something of Roman fortitude and firmness. Had the sister
colonies at the outset manifested the same vigorous spirit as was
displayed by the descendants of the defenders of Leyden, Parliament
would not have dared to pass the reprehensible acts. The inhabitants of
New Amsterdam kindled the fire which was to produce a revolutionary
flame of glory. It was well for the country that the citizens of New
York so early manifested patriotic feeling, and the spirit which was
inwrought in them furnished the leaven which was destined to infuse
itself into the New England and other colonies, and to ultimately bear
fruit in independence.

In March, 1765, Parliament set further torch to the colonial spirit by
passing the celebrated Stamp Act. When the time came for the enforcement
of this act the country gave unmistakable signs of its resentment, and
New York was conspicuously rebellious in mood.

At last the eyes of Parliament were opened. They saw that it was useless
to attempt to force the colonists to submit to the outrageous measure,
and reluctantly repealed the act on February 20, 1766. The news of the
repeal was received in New York May 20, 1766,--three months after the
action of Parliament. Its reception filled the community with joy. The
bells of the city rang forth joyful peals of praise and thanksgiving. In
honor of the event, bonfires were kindled in prominent places, and a
public dinner was given by the corporation. Again, on June 4, 1766,
being the anniversary of the King's birthday, another celebration was
had by the patriots on the commons, near where the City Hall now stands.
A barbecue was held, whereat roast ox, beer, and punch were provided in
sufficient quantities to supply the wants of all. The greatest
enthusiasm prevailed. A liberty pole was erected, amid the cheers of the
people, which bore the inscription, "The King, Pitt, and Liberty." Every
citizen felt proud that he had asserted his manhood, and had secured a
recognition of his rights. This standard of liberty was destined to have
an eventful history and to figure conspicuously at a later day.

During these trying times the Kings County officials were: Jeremiah
Vanderbilt, Sheriff, who held office from 1763 to 1766; Samuel
Garritson, Common Pleas Judge, who served in that capacity from 1749 to
1767; Abraham Lott, Jr., of Kings County, who was Clerk of the Assembly
from 1751 to 1767; William Nicoll, of Suffolk County, who was Speaker of
the Assembly, holding that office from 1761 to 1768. Kings County was
represented in the Assembly by the following sterling men:--

Abraham Lott, from 1737 to 1750.

D. Vanderveer, from 1750 to 1759.

Abraham Schenck, from 1759 to 1768.

Simon Boerum, from 1761 to 1775.

Simon Boerum was also Clerk of Kings County from 1750 to 1775.

Governor Moore, having failed to control the Assembly, manifested his
spite toward that body by formally dissolving them on the 11th of
February, 1768, and directing a new election for members. His
instructions were to secure the return of more pliable men than those
composing the previous legislature. The people were not subservient to
dictation, and, daring to maintain their principles, took good care to
assert their manhood by electing men of firmness and decision.

In the new body Kings County was represented by Simon Boerum, John
Rapalje, and Abraham Schenck. Queens County sent Daniel Kissam and
Zebulon Seaman. Suffolk County elected Eleazor Miller and William
Nicoll, second. Of these members so returned, all but John Rapalje were
members of the recently dissolved Assembly. It may be supposed that such
material would not readily submit to the exactions of the Crown. Philip
Livingston, of New York, was chosen Speaker.

The new Assembly met in October, 1768, and at once proclaimed its
independence and its contempt for royal dictation by opening a
correspondence with the Assembly of Massachusetts. This was a direct and
open violation of the commands which had been issued by his Majesty the
King, which was that the colony should hold no correspondence with other
provinces. A circular had been sent to the Assembly in New York from
Massachusetts, in which the aid and assistance of New York was earnestly
besought for coöperation in securing the removal of grievances which
were common to all the colonies.

In the next Assembly the tone was so different as to excite the
resentment of the patriots. Shortly afterward the soldiery and the
people came into collision in trifling but significant ways. The
so-called battle of Golden Hill was prophetic of the approaching

When Dunmore apprised the English government of the events which had
taken place, he was careful to attribute them to party violence,
encouraged by factious opposition to the Crown and the Established
Church of England. He endeavored to make it appear that the contentions
arose from the objections of the popular leaders to the enforcement of
the laws passed by Parliament. Judging from the tenor of his report, one
would be led to suppose that the soldiers were actuated solely by a
desire to maintain and uphold the dignity of the government. They were
specially commended for their exertions in subduing the rebellion.

Lord Dunmore, after a brief term in office, was succeeded in the office
of Governor by William Tryon.

The "tea party" of April 23, 1774, illustrated the temper of the people.
Other incidents of a less picturesque kind indicated not less clearly
the determination to shake off the yoke of foreign control.


_Built in 1785_]

The General Assembly of New York, having at the time of its adjournment
refused to comply with the recommendation of the Colonial Congress to
elect delegates to attend another meeting of that body, to be held in
the city of Philadelphia, May 10, 1775, a call was issued by the
Committee of Sixty, in March, addressed to the several counties
throughout the colony, directing them to elect deputies to a provincial
convention, to be held in the city of New York, on the 20th of April,
for the purpose of choosing delegates to represent the colony in the
Continental Congress. This convention, on the day appointed, met at the
Exchange, in New York. Philip Livingston, one of the Committee of Sixty,
was chosen president. Livingston, at this time, owned a very large tract
of land in the neighborhood of Hicks and Joralemon streets, on which he
had erected a handsome residence. In that body Kings County was
represented by Simon Boerum, Denys Denice, Theodorus Polhemus, Richard
Stillwell, and J. Vanderbilt. All of these men were well known, and
enjoyed the confidence of their constituents.

At a meeting held on the 5th of May, a committee of one hundred of the
first and foremost citizens of New York and Kings County was chosen to
administer affairs during the political crisis. This committee was
composed of such men as John Jay, the brave Welshman Francis Lewis,
whose bold signature was appended to the Declaration of Independence,
and who for many years resided and owned property in Brooklyn; Philip
Livingston, the fearless; James Duane and John Alsop, who were members
of the Colonial Congress of September, 1774, which met in Philadelphia;
William Walton, whose house in Pearl Street was rendered famous as an
ancient landmark; Augustus Van Horne, a stalwart Dutchman; Abraham
Duryea, Samuel Verplanck, Abraham Brasher, Leonard Lispenard, Nicholas
Hoffman, Lewis Pintard, Nicholas Bogart, Isaac Roosevelt, Gabriel H.
Ludlow, Abraham Brinkerhoff, Henry Remsen, Benjamin Kissam, Jacob
Lefferts, James Beekman, John Berrien, John Lamb, the daring and
intrepid Richard Sharp, Jacob Van Voorhis, Comfort Sands, who afterward
lived in Brooklyn; Peter Goelet, and James Desbrosses.

Just previous to the assembling of the Provincial Congress in New York,
a general town meeting was held in Brooklyn. The official record of that
meeting is as follows:--

    At a general town meeting, regularly warned at Brooklyn, May 20,
    '75, the magistrates and freeholders met and voted Jer. Remsen,
    Esq., into the chair, and Leffert Lefferts, Esq., clerk.

    Taking into our serious consideration the expediency and
    propriety of concurring with the freeholders and freemen of the
    City and County of New York, and the other colonies, townships
    and precincts within this province, for holding a Provincial
    Congress to advise, consult, watch over and defend, at this very
    alarming crisis, all our civil and religious rights, liberties
    and privileges, according to their collective prudence:

    After duly considering the unjust plunder and inhuman carnage
    committed on the property and persons of our brethren in the
    Massachusetts colony, who, with the other New England colonies,
    are now deemed by the mother country to be in a state of actual
    rebellion, by which declaration England hath put it beyond her
    own power to treat with New England, or to propose or receive
    any terms of reconciliation until those colonies shall submit as
    a conquered country--the first effort to effect which was by
    military and naval force; the next attempt is, to bring a famine
    among them by depriving them both of their natural and acquired
    right of fishing. Further, contemplating the very unhappy
    situation to which the powers at home, by oppressive measures,
    have driven all the other provinces, we have all evils in their
    power to fear, as they have already declared all the provinces
    aiders and abettors of rebellion; therefore, first,

    _Resolved_, That Henry Williams and Jer. Remsen, Esq., be now
    elected deputies for this township, to meet, May 22, with other
    deputies in Provincial Convention in New York, and there to
    consider, determine and do, all prudential and necessary
    business. Second,

    _Resolved_, That we, confiding in the wisdom and equity of said
    convention, do agree to observe all warrantable acts,
    associations and orders, as said Congress shall direct.

    Signed, by order of the town meeting.


Lieutenant-Governor Colden, who occupied the post of Governor during
Tryon's absence in England, died in September, 1776, at his home at
Spring Hill, Flushing, Long Island, aged 88 years.




  Kings County at the Opening of the Revolution. Participation in
    Events leading to the Crisis. Military Officers. Long Island
    Tories. The Continental and Provincial Congresses. Fortifying.
    Declaration of Independence. General Greene on Long Island.
    Draft in Kings County. Landing of the British at Gravesend. The
    Battle of Brooklyn. The Night Retreat. British Occupation of the
    County. Temptations to Disloyalty toward the American Cause, and
    Action of the People under British Pressure. The County in
    Congress. Losses in the Battle. Incidents. Prisoners billeted on
    the Inhabitants of Kings County. Long Island Refugees.
    Conspicuous Figures of the Period. Peace.

The position of Kings County, while actually close to the rapidly
growing city on Manhattan Island, was relatively so much aloof in many
of its interests from that storm centre of colonial activity in the
middle colonies, that it was natural, perhaps, that there should be less
enthusiasm over the independent cause than in New York itself, or than
in certain other regions less sequestered geographically and by local

But the quiet Dutch towns, if slow to anger under British rule,
nevertheless acquired a definite patriotic energy as time advanced, in
spite of peculiarly discouraging conditions introduced by British
occupations. There may have been the appearance of lethargy, but Kings
County's quietude in the face of excitement elsewhere did not mean a
want of sympathy, but resulted from a special strain of suppression.
"Many fowling-pieces," writes Stiles, "were cut down and fitted with
bayonets, and those who had two guns loaned to those who had none."[44]
The MS. of General Jeremiah Johnson, whose name is indelibly associated
with the history of the Wallabout, tells us that Elijah Freeman Payne,
the teacher of the Wallabout School, left his pupils to join the
American forces at Boston.[45] The incident was typical.

Kings County watched, and also, as we have seen, participated in the
events which led up to the crisis of active war.

When movements on the part of the British troops led the Continental
Congress to consider the raising of men for common defense, the quota of
the colony of New York was fixed at 3000, which number the Continental
Congress directed them to raise. In obedience to this direction four
regiments were raised, the Provincial Congress placing them under the
command of Colonels Alexander McDougall, Gozen Van Schaick, James
Clinton, and Holmes. The veteran Lamb received an appointment to command
a company of artillery.

In Brooklyn an association was formed for mutual protection, and
meetings were held weekly for the purpose of drilling, under the
supervision of competent officers. Enthusiasm began to manifest itself.
Every gun and bayonet was brought into requisition, and put in order and
burnished for the coming fray. The meetings for drilling and instruction
in the manual of arms, which were held at the Wallabout and other parts
of Brooklyn, created much interest among the young men who opposed the
Tory party, and prepared them for the service which they were soon after
called upon to render.

In March, 1776, the following Brooklyn officers had taken
commissions:--Half of Brooklyn: Barent Johnson, captain; Barent
Lefferts, first lieutenant; Jost Debevoise, second lieutenant; Martin
Schenck, ensign. Half of Brooklyn: Fer'd Suydam, captain; John T.
Bergen, first lieutenant; William Brower, second lieutenant; Jacob
Stellenwerth, ensign. Kings County was further represented by Rutgert
Van Brunt, colonel; Nich. Cowenhoven, lieutenant-colonel; Johannes
Titus, first major; John Vanderbilt, second major; Geo. Carpenter,

The names of the military officers of this period were and have remained
familiar in the history of Brooklyn. The Johnson estate was in the
present seventh and nineteenth wards, being in the neighborhood of Kent
Avenue, Hewes Street, and Bedford Avenue, a narrow strip also extending
along Graham Street to Myrtle Avenue. The Lefferts property was in
Flatbush and Bedford. The Schenck farm was situated on the site of the
Wallabout Bay, and a portion of it is now occupied as the site of the
United States Marine Hospital. The Suydam tract was situated in what was
then known as Bushwick, and the Debevoise estate was also in the same
section of the city. The Cowenhoven property was situated in what is now
the heart of the city. The old house stood in a hollow near where the
Atlantic avenue railroad depot now stands. It was an old-fashioned
Dutch house, whose massive beams and quaint mantelpieces attracted
considerable attention some twenty years ago when it was taken down. The
history of this mansion and its occupants would form a very interesting
chapter in the history of Brooklyn. The Bergen property was situated at
Gowanus. The Vanderbilt farm was in the twentieth ward, between Clermont
Avenue and Hamilton Street.

In consequence of the requisition made for troops, the colony of New
York presented the appearance of military activity. Steps were taken to
erect fortifications. The colony at this time had two governments, each
of which was antagonistic to the other, and each one proclaimed the acts
and resolutions of the other void and of no effect. Tryon represented
the Crown as colonial governor, and the brave General Nathaniel
Woodhull, of Long Island, as president _pro tem._ of the Provincial
Congress, also acted as governor, and was so recognized by the party of
patriots. Between these claimants for power, a collision soon occurred.
The Provincial Congress desired to obtain the removal of the guns on the
Battery to the fortifications on the Highlands. Captain John Lamb, the
invincible, was directed by the Provincial Congress to secure their
removal, and on the 23d of August proceeded, with some of his faithful
liberty boys and other citizens, to execute the order. With his band was
Alexander Hamilton, then a lad of eighteen, whose life was dedicated to
the sacred cause of freedom.

During the early part of the campaign the Tory party had many friends
on Long Island. When the British evacuated Boston through the
instrumentality of Washington, who succeeded in compelling them to
leave, and occupied their deserted quarters, it was supposed that the
defeated Royalists would endeavor to retrieve their fortunes by an
effort to gain possession of New York. The policy and actions of the
troops were closely watched by Washington, who readily saw that the
object was to make New York the seat of government, to surround it with
a large force, and thereby cut off all communication with the southern
colonies. Thus they expected to divide the country and prevent
assistance being sent from one section to another. Had this plan been
successfully accomplished a continual fire could have been kept up both
north and south. Scouts and rangers would have been used to prey upon
the people, doing great damage, and intercourse between the different
colonies would have been effectually prevented. In order to avoid this
calamity, Washington accepted the offer made by General Lee, who
proposed to raise a force for the defense of New York. General Lee
immediately collected 1200 efficient men, and proceeded to New York,
where he arrived in January, 1776, to the great gratification of the
patriots, who did not expect to receive so valuable an addition to their

Lee was no novice. A man of executive ability and military skill, he saw
at once that energetic measures were necessary in order to tread under
foot the existing latent love of royalty, which only needed a little
encouragement to burst forth into living activity. It is a singular
coincidence that on the very day General Lee entered New York with his
forces, the British fleet which had been expected arrived at Sandy Hook,
under command of Sir Henry Clinton. The British officer did not seem to
like the appearance of things in New York, and for some inexplicable
reason changed his course somewhat toward the coast of Virginia.

General Lee had realized the height of his ambition in being in command
of so important a station. At once steps were taken to garrison and
fortify the city and its suburbs.

Long Island and Staten Island were justly looked upon as the natural
protectors of the harbor of New York, and prudence dictated the
advisability of erecting fortifications and posting troops in these
localities to watch the approach of belligerent vessels. The patriots
were actuated by one spirit, and widely rendered aid and assistance to
the heroic commander. Scouts were placed at prominent points at the
Narrows, and fortifications erected at Red Hook Point and elsewhere.
Some 400 troops were sent to Brooklyn, and performed patrol duty from
the settlement at the Wallabout to Gowanus.

Lee was not permitted to remain very long in command in New York, being
transferred, March 6, 1776, to the command of the Department of the
South. The transfer did not please him. He was possessed of the
egotistical idea that the people of New York desired his presence, and
believed him to be the only man who could successfully cope with the
forces of the enemy. In this he was greatly mistaken. The people were
ready to follow any leader who would inspire confidence.

Lee was succeeded by General Lord Stirling, who vigilantly carried
on the work initiated by his predecessor. He, too, saw and appreciated
the fact that, if New York was to be successfully defended, the
approaches on Long Island should be properly garrisoned. To accomplish
this desirable end, he appointed Colonel Ward to erect suitable
fortifications on Long Island, and placed him in command of a regiment
of 519 men.

The second Provincial Congress, which at this time was holding its
second session, with Nathaniel Woodhull as president, issued an order to
the authorities in Kings County, directing them to give Colonel Ward
assistance in the work, and "to turn out for service at least one half
the males (negroes included) every day, with spades, hoes, and
pickaxes." The inhabitants of Kings County were also required to furnish
all the necessary lumber and wood for the barricades and fortifications.
The directions given to Colonel Ward were full and explicit. Beside
erecting fortifications and providing defenses, he was also required to
detail men for the particular duty of preventing communications between
the British ships in the harbor and the shore. To make this effectual
they either destroyed the small rowboats or rendered them unseaworthy,
and seized all suspected pilots who were supposed to be identified with
the Royalists by sentiment or self-interest.

Kings County horsemen were honored with the important office of a corps
of observation. It became their duty to observe the approach of the
British fleet at Sandy Hook from prominent points on Long Island, and to
give information of the appearance of suspicious vessels. The Kings
County horsemen occupied the west end of the county, and the Brooklyn
light horse, under the command of Captain Waldron, were employed on the
southern coast of the county, in which service they were employed about
a month, when they were relieved by Colonel Hand, April 10, 1776, with a
regiment of riflemen. These riflemen took their station at New Utrecht.
A battery of eight guns was also erected on Brooklyn Heights.

Onderdonk, referring to Captain Waldron's company, gives the following
names of members as being connected with it: Adolph Waldron, captain;
William Boerum, first lieutenant; Thomas Everitt, second lieutenant;
Jacob Sebring, Jr., cornet; Isaac Sebring, quartermaster; Samuel
Etherington, John Reade, Rob. Galbraithe, Rem. A. Remsen, Daniel Titus,
Jos. Smith, Jacob Kempor, Nich. Van Dam, Geo. Powers, William Everitt,
John Hicks, William Chardavogne, and Thomas Hazard.

Waldron, the captain of the little company, was a very popular man, and
for a long time kept a famous hostelry at the Brooklyn Ferry. During
many years he was the proprietor of the ferry between Brooklyn and New

William Boerum was a well-known citizen, and has left behind him a host
of descendants. After the war he served in the Legislature. George
Powers was a butcher, and had a stand at one time in the famous old Fly
Market. He owned considerable property in the neighborhood of State and
Powers streets. The latter street was named in his honor.

The name of George Powers appears as secretary of the first independent
meeting-house erected in Brooklyn in 1785. He was a warm-hearted,
generous man, donating large sums to the cause of religion and charity.
He retired from business in 1790, and thereafter devoted his time to
raising stock on his lands in Brooklyn. It is reported in one of the old
journals that in the month of February, 1793, "a calf was brought to the
Oswego market (on Broadway and Maiden Lane), yesterday, raised by Mr.
George Powers, of Brooklyn, but twenty-two months old, the four quarters
of which weighed 744 pounds; hide, 100 pounds; tallow (rough fat), 87
pounds; total, 931 pounds." In March, 1812, the following notice
appeared: "Fat Beef for St. Patrick's Day. The three year old steer
exhibited at the Coffee House (corner of Wall and Pearl streets), this
day, supposed to be one of the best ever seen of his age, and fatted by
George Powers, at Brooklyn, will be offered for sale by (one of his
apprentices) David Marsh, at No. 38 Fly Market, on Saturday next."

Powers, who was a warm friend of George Hall, the first mayor of
Brooklyn, died full of years, honored and respected by all who knew him.
The estate he left behind him was estimated to be worth half a million.

John Hicks lived near the ferry, on Fulton Street. He was a large landed
proprietor. Hicks Street derives its name from his family. He
subsequently was one of the proprietors of the old ferry to New York.
The Remsen family were well known in the community. It is a remarkable
fact that during the entire time from 1727 to 1776, the Board of
Trustees of Kings County had a Rem Remsen for one of its members. A
period of fifty years presents a remarkable instance of family
succession in one office.

Waldron's troop was first enlisted in the service of General Greene, who
ordered them to seize and take possession of all the fat stock of the
disaffected inhabitants who sympathized with the Tories, and to deliver
the stock so taken to Commissary Brown, on Long Island. The troop was
subsequently employed under General Woodhull in the same capacity.

Early in January, 1776, the Continental Congress had passed a
resolution, "that it be recommended to the Committee of Safety of the
Province of New York to appoint proper persons to inquire into the
propriety and practicability of obstructing or lessening the depth of
the water in the Narrows, or at any other place at the entrance of New
York, or of any way of fortifying that pass so as to prevent the
entrance of the enemy."

On the 26th January, 1776, a committee was appointed by the Continental
Congress to consult with General Lee and the Committee of Safety in
reference to the immediate defense of the province.

The importance of defending and protecting the approaches to the harbor
of New York was fully attested by Congress on March 14, 1776, when 8000
men were voted for its defense. On the following day the Governors of
Connecticut and New Jersey were requested to hold their militia in
readiness for that service, to be paid, when on duty, as Continental
troops. Congress went still further, and on the 9th of April directed
$200,000 to be sent to New York for the use of the Continental troops in
the province.

Previous to its dissolution the second Provincial Congress made
provision for the election of delegates to serve in the third Congress
of the colony, to meet in the city of New York, May 14, 1776. This
election was held in April. At the election so held, Nicholas
Cowenhoven, John Lefferts, Lefferts Lefferts, Theodorus Polhemus,
Jeremiah Remsen, Rutger Van Brunt, John Vanderbilt, and Jeremiah
Vanderbilt were chosen to represent Kings County. Nearly all of these
men represented the county in previous assemblies, and were able and
experienced legislators.

Prior to the election, and on the 10th of March, a regiment of
Continental troops numbering 1000 men took possession of and occupied
Governor's Island. They at once constructed a redoubt on the west side
of the island, and erected fortifications with a view to holding in
check any vessel which might seek an entrance into the harbor. Another
regiment was stationed on the shores of Brooklyn, and rendered Red Hook
Point, on the north shore of Gowanus Bay, famous as a Revolutionary
landmark. At this place a redoubt was also constructed, on which were
placed several guns of eighteen-pound calibre. Thus was the entrance to
the harbor at two important points effectually protected. This latter
fort was appropriately named Fort Defiance. The regiment which was
placed here was in command of Captain Foster. The location was not as
good as the one on Governor's Island, as vessels were able to make a
detour and escape injury from the former, whilst the latter, being so
much nearer the city and in the direct sailing course, could more
effectually prevent approach.

Shortly afterward (on April 14), Washington, as Commander-in-Chief of
the Continental army, arrived in New York and made his headquarters at
Richmond Hill, in the neighborhood of Varick Street. His appearance in
the city encouraged the patriots to new efforts, quickened their zeal,
and led to the completion of the plans so ably instituted by Generals
Lee and Stirling. Washington inspired the confidence of the masses,
increasing their faith by his earnestness and determination. The
strong and confident were rendered more fearless, and the weak and
faint-hearted were encouraged to activity.

The people, from a lukewarm and indifferent state, rapidly changed their
opinions and became enthusiastic in the cause of independence. These
feelings were intensified by numerous newspaper articles and pamphlets
which appeared from time to time, denouncing Great Britain and
demanding recognition as an independent confederacy. Among these was
a paper entitled "Common Sense," by Thomas Paine, then a citizen of
Philadelphia. Its author was at the time unknown, but the sentiments of
the pamphlet met an approving response in every patriotic heart.
Forcible and pointed in expression, its truths left a lasting
impression, sending a thrill of pleasure through the community, who
heartily approved of its bold and daring utterances. So popular did it
become that several of the colonies adopted it as their watchword, and
recognizing the force of its reasoning, petitioned the Continental
Congress to take immediate steps to secure its ratification by at once
declaring themselves free and independent. It was a suitable precursor
of the Declaration of Independence, paving the way for the indorsement
of that document.

The third Provincial Congress, elected in April, was directed to meet in
New York on the 14th of May, but, in consequence of a quorum not being
in attendance, the members present adjourned from day to day until the
18th of May, when a quorum having been secured, the body organized and
proceeded to business. The session was a short one, continuing only
until June 30, when it adjourned by reason of a fear which was
entertained that the city would be attacked. Nathaniel Woodhull was
elected President of the Congress.

While this body was in session the Continental Congress at Philadelphia
was considering important subjects. In the latter body the keynote of
independence was struck on the 7th of June, 1776, when General Richard
Henry Lee rose in his seat and introduced a resolution declaring "that
the united colonies are and ought to be free and independent States,
that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and
that their political connection with Great Britain is and ought to be
totally dissolved." The resolution was a surprise to many of the
members, and led to an earnest debate which lasted for several weeks. At
that time some of the delegates supposed that they were merely banded
together for mutual protection, and were not authorized to take so
advanced a step without having received instructions from their
constituents. In the existing state of affairs many lacked the courage
to act, thinking that if they voted in favor of the resolution their
action might not meet with the approval of those they represented. They
feared also that if the measure were adopted, and in the end proved a
failure, they would be called upon to meet a traitor's doom. They were
but human. Such men are always to be found in political life. When the
prospect of accomplishment looks bright, they are fearless and bold, but
when a shadow of disappointment falls, and success is not certain, their
courage is weakened, and they are unwilling to lend their aid to what
they consider a forlorn hope. The resolution passed by a bare majority.
The Congress contained representatives from thirteen colonies, and the
vote stood seven in favor to six opposed. This vote, however, did not
indicate the exact feeling which existed amongst the members, as those
who voted in opposition did so in most if not in all cases because they
had received no instructions or directions from their constituents.

The resolution having been passed, a committee, consisting of Thomas
Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R.
Livingston, was appointed to prepare and draft a declaration of

Washington was in command in New York about a month, and in the early
part of May, 1776, left for Philadelphia. General Putnam was placed in
command at New York, and General Greene was assigned to Brooklyn to take
charge of the fortifications. Washington was led to visit Philadelphia
to consult with the Continental Congress upon the necessary measures to
be adopted in order to carry on the campaign. This conference led to the
issuance of an order authorizing the commander-in-chief to direct the
building of as many fire rafts, galleys, boats, and batteries as might
be required for the immediate defense of the port of New York, the
Hudson River, and the Sound.

The Provincial Congress of New York, at its session in May, declared the
province to be independent of Great Britain, but did not adopt a formal
constitution until the following year.

Meanwhile the Continental Congress was not inactive. The committee to
which was referred the important duty of drafting the Declaration of
Independence worked faithfully, and on the 28th of June, 1776, the paper
prepared by Thomas Jefferson was presented for the consideration of the

The document was finally adopted on the 4th of July. It was not signed,
however, until August. The representatives from New York who signed it
were William Floyd of Suffolk County, Philip Livingston of New York,
Francis Lewis, who, as we have seen, at one time lived in Brooklyn and
owned a large estate there, and Lewis Morris of Westchester. Robert R.
Livingston's name should have been appended, but he was called to New
York to attend the Provincial Congress before it was engrossed and ready
to receive the signatures of the members, and thus his name does not
appear on the immortal document. However, as one of its framers he will
be forever identified with this glorious manifesto.

Just prior to the adoption of the Declaration, New York was placed in a
critical position. On the 23d of June, General Howe with a large fleet
appeared before the city, and on the 2d of July took possession of a
portion of Staten Island, where he found many adherents of the cause of
royalty. Soon after he was joined by his brother, Admiral Lord Howe,
with a large fleet from England, and also by Sir Henry Clinton, with the
troops under his command. He was thus placed in command of an army
consisting of 24,000 well-disciplined men from England. This was not
all. The Tory inhabitants flocked to his standard, and although not in
many respects as efficient soldiers as the troops from England, still
their knowledge of the country rendered them invaluable as aids in
prospecting and giving information.

Washington had no such force. To cope with this army he had only 20,000
volunteer recruits, whose knowledge of military tactics was but limited,
and many of whom were incapacitated for service. Moreover, had they been
disciplined, he had neither the arms nor the ammunition necessary to
properly equip them.

Meanwhile provision had been made for the election of delegates to the
fourth Provincial Congress of New York. As New York was in a state of
siege, it was deemed best to assemble at the court house in White
Plains, twenty-six miles from New York. The body met on the 9th of July.
Kings County was represented by Theodorus Polhemus. On the first day of
the session the Declaration of Independence was read and unanimously
adopted. On the following day the title of the body was changed from
that of the Provincial Congress of the Colony of New York to that of the
Convention of the Representatives of the State of New York. It continued
to sit at White Plains until the 27th day of July, when it adjourned to
meet at Harlem on the 29th.

It is needless to say that the news of the adoption of the Declaration
of Independence occasioned much excitement and enthusiasm in New York
and Brooklyn.

Steps were taken to fortify New York and prevent the entry of the enemy.
Guns were placed on the Battery, and barricades erected at prominent
points on the East and North rivers. The authorities were not content
with erecting and planting guns on the water sides, but also
appropriated the various hillocks for fortifications. One of these was
known as Rutger's, and stood at the brow of the New Bowery, at or near
its present junction with Chatham Street. Fortifications and barricades
were also constructed at Jersey City and on Brooklyn Heights. The site
of Fort Greene, now a beautiful park, was considered a very important
position, and a line of works was hastily constructed which extended
from the Wallabout to Gowanus Bay, thereby securing a complete chain of
defense to the rest of the island.

Within these fortifications 9,000 men were encamped ready to obstruct
the approach and forward movements of the English troops. The
fortifications on Long Island were erected under the direction of
General Greene, who had been assigned to the command of the American
forces in this section. General Sullivan, his assistant in the work,
rendered valuable aid to his superior officer.

At this time, General Woodhull, who was President of the Representative
Convention of New York, feeling that his place was in the saddle, and
that he could render better service in the field at the head of troops
than in the Legislature, donned his military equipments, and repaired to
Long Island to engage in the service.

While the Convention of Representatives was in session at White Plains,
a resolution was passed on the 19th of July, requiring that every
fourth man in Kings County should be drafted into service. Thereupon the
militia of the county sent a letter to the convention urging that body
to excuse a draft, and stating that the entire militia would turn out to
drive stock into the interior, and also guard the coast line. The letter
was signed by the following well-known citizens: John Vanderbilt,
Lambert Suydam, Barnet Johnson, John Titus, John Vanderveer, Rem
Williamson, Bernardus Suydam, and Adrian Van Brunt, captains.

This request was not granted. The refusal was based upon the fact that,
while many of the leading men in the county warmly espoused the
patriotic cause, many were disaffected and inclined to the side of
royalty. These latter looked upon the war as calculated to unsettle the
country and injure their prospects. They thought that under the dominion
of the Crown they would have peace, and be enabled to pursue the even
tenor of their way undisturbed. The object of the militia in offering
their services was to prevent a conscription. It will be noticed that
they proposed simply to act as a home guard, and made no pretense of
willingness to render general service for the good of the infant
nation. Though at the commencement of the war they manifested great
lukewarmness, yet this state of feeling was not destined to last very
long. The scales were to drop from their eyes, they were to be impressed
with a sense of duty, and in the near future make ample amends by
courage and fearlessness for the lack of spirit manifested at the

Among those connected with the Kings County troop of horse, on duty in
August, were: Daniel Rapalje, first lieutenant; Jacob Bloom, second
lieutenant; Peter Vandervoort, ensign; Honbeck Johnson, sergeant; John
Blanco, trumpeter; Roger Suydam and John Vanderveer, privates.

These men went over from Long Island and performed duty in the
neighborhood of Harlem. A portion of the troop of horse were stationed
on Long Island, being officered as follows: Lambert Suydam, captain;
Peter Wyckoff, quartermaster; Hendrick Suydam, clerk; with John
Nostrand, Jacob Suydam, Isaac Snedeker, Isaac Boerum, John Ryerson,
Rutgert Van Brunt, Charles De Bevoise, Benjamin Seaman, Roelof Terhune,
Andrew Casper, Thomas Billing, Martin Kershaw, Peter Miller, and
Hendrick Wyckoff, privates.

Amongst these names will be recognized the ancestors of many of the
prominent Wallabout, Bushwick, and Brooklyn families. The Rapaljes,
Vandervoorts, Nostrands, Boerums, and Ryersons resided at the Wallabout,
and early manifested an interest in the cause of liberty.

The feeling of disaffection on the part of many of the citizens of Long
Island was so apparent to the Convention of Representatives that, in
refusing the request to exempt them from a draft, that body considered
it necessary to appoint a committee to visit Kings County for the
purpose of ascertaining the true state of public feeling in the county,
with power to take from all disaffected citizens such arms as they might
possess, to secure their persons, and, if deemed necessary, "to destroy
the crops and lay the whole country waste," and thus prevent them from
affording aid and comfort to the enemy. The committee entered upon their
labors with energy and dispatch. They ascertained that the reports were
in a great measure true. By their direction Tories were arrested and
disarmed. The action of the committee produced a beneficial effect
amongst the people, and, had they not taken the forcible measures they
did, the first battle of the Revolution after the Declaration of
Independence, which was fought on Long Island soon after, to wit, on the
27th day of August, would in its results have proved still more

General Greene made ample provision to protect and defend Long Island
against the enemy. As we have already seen, he caused a line of
fortifications to be constructed through the centre of the present city
of Brooklyn, extending from Wallabout Bay on the north to Gowanus Bay on
the south.

Conspicuous among the fortifications so constructed was the redoubt on
Fort Greene, which was called Fort Putnam in honor of that brave officer
General Israel Putnam, who figured with distinction not only in Brooklyn
but elsewhere, and subsequently gained for himself the name of Breakneck
Putnam for his daring exploit in Connecticut when he dashed down the
celebrated defile, and thereby escaped capture.

At this time Fort Putnam, now Washington Park (Fort Greene), was covered
with large trees, and belonged to the Cowenhoven estate. The old Bedford
Road skirted its northeasterly line, and its prominence was a valuable
position for placing guns. It is worthy of note in this connection that
Edward T. Backhouse, a descendant by marriage of the original owner,
when representing the old eleventh ward of Brooklyn in the Common
Council, in the middle of the present century, took an active interest
in securing the preservation of this historic spot and its conversion
into a place of public resort. He aided materially, with Francis B.
Stryker, late Mayor, Silas Ludlow, John W. Hunter, John H. Baker, and
others, in having it set apart for a park, and properly embellished.

Another means of protection was the construction of intrenchments
extending from Fort Putnam to the old Wallabout Road, at a point about
where Hampden Street intersects the present line of Flushing Avenue.
Before Flushing Avenue was opened, at this point, the easterly end of
the Navy Yard property, the old Wallabout Road diverged from its course,
describing a half circle.

General Greene was not content with providing against invasion from the
northeast, but also turned his attention to the section lying to the
south of Fort Greene. He saw the necessity of erecting intrenchments
along the high land extending from Fulton Avenue southerly to the old
Gowanus Road, at the creek which made up from the bay where Freeck's
mill stood. This spot can be easily fixed. Many remember the old mill
pond and the bridge across the creek at Butler Street, near where Bond
Street has been extended.

Another small redoubt, which stood like a warning sentinel, was erected
a short distance west of the fort, about where DeKalb Avenue now
intersects Hudson Avenue. South Brooklyn was not forgotten. At that time
the section bounded by Smith and Clinton streets on the east, and Degraw
and Third Place on the north, was high ground, and from its owner's name
was called Bergen Hill. This prominence commanded a view of the East
River and Gowanus Bay. Here Greene erected a redoubt, on which he
mounted several guns. In later times, when the hill was removed, to give
place to streets and palatial residences, the remains of soldiers buried
during the Revolutionary War were taken up. A fort was also built on
Cobble Hill, which was nick-named "Corkscrew Fort." This hill was on the
spot where since has been erected the Athenæum, corner of Clinton and
Atlantic streets.

All these works were effectively built and evinced great military and
engineering skill. English officers at the time of the evacuation
referred to their strength of material and advantageous location. It
would appear that Greene and his assistants thoroughly familiarized
themselves with the topography of the country, and made military
provision accordingly. A British officer, in his experiences published
during the war, expressed in strong terms his surprise that the
Americans should retreat from bastions so impregnable.

Hitherto all had been preparation. The storm clouds had been gathering,
and were soon to break with unwonted fury. A great Revolutionary battle
was to be fought on the virgin soil of Long Island, and was to result

At the outset, Great Britain, having complications on the European
continent, was very anxious to conciliate and secure peace. When Admiral
Howe was sent with his fleet to New York he was directed by his
government to treat for peace with the rebellious subjects. Acting upon
his instructions, after landing at Staten Island, and placing his fleet
in close proximity to the city, he opened negotiations to this end. At
the start he made a great blunder, by mistaking the character of the
general-in-chief with whom he had to deal. An autocrat in temper and
disposition, and infused with the traditional pride of a British
commander, he neglected to address Washington by his military title. He
looked upon the people as rebels, and not as an independent nation, and
addressed the commander of the American forces as George Washington,
Esq. The letter was returned unanswered. Another missive directed to
George Washington, Esq., met the same fate. The spirit thus manifested
by Washington in refusing to receive or reply to any letters, unless
addressed to him as the head of an independent army, representing a
nation seeking to throw off the yoke of despotism and break its chains,
proved to Admiral Howe that his mission of peace was too late, and that
if England desired to retain her possessions in the new world she would
have to do so at the point of the bayonet.

Howe made his last effort to secure peace on the 17th day of August.
Failing, he at once commenced warlike preparations. Washington realized
the necessity of careful and energetic action. He anticipated that the
rebuff he had administered to the admiral's overtures would lead to an
immediate attack upon New York. In order to circumvent the attack, and
prevent aid and assistance to the enemy from the Tories in the city, he
at once caused the removal of the adherents of the Crown to Connecticut,
where they were placed under the surveillance of that sturdy patriot,
Governor Trumbull. Measures were adopted to weaken and destroy existing
Tory sentiments in New Jersey and Long Island. The legislative
committee, assisted by a committee from the Continental Congress, went
to work to disarm all suspected persons on Long Island, and to suppress
every exhibition of Tory spirit. The public records were placed in the
care of Congress, then in session in Philadelphia; and women and
children, and all persons not needed for the defense of the city, were
quickly removed to safe quarters. A corps of riflemen was stationed at
Fort Hamilton to prevent the landing of the enemy in that quarter, to
watch the approach of their fleet, and to give information as to their

Washington, however, was mistaken as to the intentions of the enemy.
Howe, instead of making a bold attack upon New York, resolved upon
another course. He well knew that Long Island was filled with Tory
sympathizers, and he thought that he might reach New York across Long
Island, and be able to take with him many recruits gathered on his way
from among the disloyal inhabitants. Within five days after the refusal
of Washington to reply to his insulting letter, Howe prepared his fleet
for action, and with it set sail for Gravesend Bay, where he landed on
August 22.

The fleet arrived early in the morning. General Sir William Howe led an
army of 30,000 well-disciplined soldiers. The landing was effected
without opposition. A part of the forces was under the command of Earls
Cornwallis and Percy, Sir William Erskine, Count Duness, and Generals
Grant, De Heister, and Knyphausen, and was composed of many Hessians who
had been hired at a set price per head to do military service against
the American rebels.

Howe held possession of the southwestern part of the Island. His
presence caused consternation among the patriots, who sought the
American lines for protection, while those who were weak in the faith,
or favored the cause of royalty, joined his standard.

The small body of riflemen who had been stationed at Fort Hamilton could
not prevent the landing of the invaders. They, however, destroyed the
growing crops so that the enemy would derive no benefit from the
cereals, and, having done this, sought safe quarters between Brooklyn
and Flatbush. Meanwhile Howe was not idle. Establishing his headquarters
at New Utrecht, he employed his men in reconnoitring. Skirmishers were
sent out from time to time, who succeeded in capturing many straggling
soldiers, and withal securing much plunder. General Sullivan, who was in
command of the American forces, had but 5000 men. These lacked the
ability to contend against the numbers opposed to them. Most of
Sullivan's men were volunteers, unused to the hardships of camp life,
and without experience in military tactics. Notwithstanding the
disparity of numbers, Sullivan made diligent preparation to resist the
onward progress of the enemy should they attempt to press forward to New
York. Washington at this time was with the main body in New York,
laboring earnestly to defend the lines of that city, and obstruct the
progress of the enemy should they attempt to lay siege to the town.

On the 25th of August Washington sent large reinforcements to Brooklyn.
At the same time General Sullivan was removed from the command of the
army, and General Putnam dispatched to take his place. Washington
supposed that the enemy would attack Long Island and New York at the
same time. Putnam on assuming command received strict injunctions to
guard all the passes, and thereby prevent advance movements on the part
of Howe. Sullivan had planned the intrenchments, and having studied the
ground in conjunction with General Greene, he knew where to station his
sentinels. The country was thickly covered with wood from the Narrows to
Jamaica. The American camp could be reached only by three accessible
passes. One of these wound round the western edge of the Narrows;
another crossed the range to Flatbush; and the other passed through
Flatlands, crossing the Bedford and Jamaica roads. Sullivan had erected
breastworks near these passes, and at each stationed several regiments.
Scouts were also employed to watch the roads leading to the passes, and
give the alarm in case the enemy approached. Putnam did not manifest
much ability upon taking command of the army. Instead of strengthening
the outposts, which were a sure protection against the progress of the
enemy and the annihilation of his camp, and which had been wisely chosen
by his predecessor, he saw fit to remove the patrol, and thereby
weakened his own position, gave the enemy an unobstructed road to the
American camp, and insured the disaster which attended the battle that
followed, causing demoralization not only in his own ranks, but also
throughout the entire army, which in a great measure became disheartened
by the terrible defeat on Long Island. Had General Greene, who had
served as the superior officer to Sullivan, not been prostrated by
sickness, and been enabled to remain in command, instead of being
replaced by Putnam, no such disaster would have occurred. He knew the
character of the country, and the importance of holding the passes, and
would not have readily yielded up their possession.

Meanwhile General Howe, the commander of the British forces, issued a
proclamation, wherein he gave notice, on behalf of his Majesty's
government, to all persons who had been forced into rebellion, that, on
delivering themselves up at the headquarters of the army, they would be
received as faithful subjects, and be given permission to return to
their dwellings, and be protected in person and property. And further,
that "all those who choose to take up arms for the restoration of order
and good government within this Island shall be disposed of in the best
manner, and have every encouragement that can be expected." This offer
was accepted by some lukewarm people; but to the honor of the majority
be it said, its terms and conditions were, in general, indignantly

General Clinton, whose forces had joined those of Howe, soon saw the
unprotected state of the passes. The information he acquired as to their
unguarded condition he at once communicated to Howe, who thereupon held
a consultation with him, and planned measures to entrap the patriots.
They arranged a plan of attack. On the 26th the Hessian troops, under
command of General De Heister, took the road leading to Flatbush through
the hills, while General Grant, with another division, took the shore
road. These movements were intended to deceive Putnam, and enable
General Clinton, with the main body, to direct his efforts to gain
possession of the pass at Bedford, and thereby flank the American lines.
The manoeuvre was successful. Putnam, learning of the advance of
Generals De Heister and Grant, dispatched a strong force under Lord
Stirling to guard the river road, and another under General Sullivan to
impede the progress of De Heister at Flatbush. Putnam did not comprehend
the movements of the enemy, and did not learn the advantage they had
gained by their military skill until General Clinton had accomplished
his purpose, by gaining the position he desired, and had opened a heavy
fire upon Sullivan's rear. Sullivan saw that he was surrounded. After
vainly attempting to break through the lines of the enemy and secure the
lost ground, his troops became confused and broke ranks, taking refuge
in the neighboring hills. They could not escape, and the greater part,
with their faithful officer, were soon discovered and secured as
prisoners of war.

The contest with General Grant on the shore road was far more animated
and vigorous. Lord Stirling, who had command of the American troops, was
posted on the slope of the hills just north of Greenwood Cemetery, and
firmly maintained his ground against Grant, until the latter received
reinforcements. Early on the morning of the 27th, General Grant reached
the lower pass, and encountering a regiment under command of Major Bird,
was compelled to retreat. General Putnam, who had been apprised of the
retreat, directed Lord Stirling to hold the invaders in check. Stirling,
in obedience to the order, started with two regiments for the Narrows. A
Connecticut regiment was also placed under marching orders, and
followed to render him support and assistance.

Stirling soon met Major Bird retreating before the fire of the enemy. He
formed his brigade in line of battle, judiciously placing some of his
men on the brow of the hills in order to rake the enemy with hot shot.
Another body was stationed near "Battle Hill," now a portion of
Greenwood. It is said that some riflemen were stationed on this
eminence, and, when Earl Cornwallis approached with his command, these
riflemen commenced a deadly fire, each shot proving the death-blow of an
officer. Their aim was so effective and disastrous that they could not
long escape. The bravery manifested by these men cost each one his life,
as the hill was quickly surrounded, and the sure marksmen dispatched.
Furman has graphically pictured this event. He says: "In this battle
part of the British army marched down a lane or road, leading from the
British tavern (at Valley Forge) to Gowanus, pursuing the Americans.
Several of the American riflemen, in order to be more secure, and at the
same time more effectually to succeed in their designs, had posted
themselves in the high trees near the road; one of them, whose name is
now partially forgotten, shot the English Major Grant; in this he passed
unobserved. Again he leveled his deadly rifle and fired; another English
officer fell. He was then marked, and a platoon ordered to advance and
fire into the tree, which order was immediately carried into execution,
and the rifleman fell to the ground dead. After the battle was over, the
two British officers were buried in a field near where they fell, and
their graves fenced in with some posts and rails, where their remains
still rest. But 'for an example to the rebels,' they refused to the
American rifleman the rites of sepulchre; and his remains were exposed
on the ground till the flesh was rotted and torn off his bones by the
fowls of the air. After a considerable length of time, in a heavy gale
of wind, a large tree was uprooted; in the cavity formed by which some
friends to the Americans, notwithstanding the prohibition of the
English, placed the brave soldier's bones to mingle in peace with their
kindred earth."

Before the beginning of this attack, General Stirling addressed his men,
urging them to be courageous, and told them: "Grant may have his 5000
men with him now;--we are not so many; but I think we are enough to
prevent his advance further on his march than that mill-pond."

The battle soon started in earnest. As the golden sun on that August day
slowly uplifted itself above the horizon, and began its movement towards
the west, the armies were engaged in deadly conflict. Skirmishing
continued for two hours. The fire from Kichline's riflemen, who were
stationed behind a hedge, proved disastrous to the British, who were
compelled in consequence to relinquish their position. No sooner did
they retire than a Pennsylvania regiment under Atlee retook the lost

Stirling was now closely pressed by General Grant, whose brigade had
formed in two lines opposite Stirling's right. Stirling soon saw that
Grant had been reinforced, and felt that further resistance would be in
vain. He had but two courses to adopt: one was to surrender at once, or
attempt to escape across the creek, which was spanned by the remains of
a burnt mill-dam. Preferring to make an effort to escape, he selected a
portion of the Maryland brigade to cover his flight, and directed the
balance to retreat. With great courage he then charged with fixed
bayonets upon the regiments commanded by Cornwallis. The charge was
repeated four times. Again they charged, and as the enemy was on the
point of yielding, General De Heister came up, flushed with his victory
over Sullivan, and commenced an assault on his rear. With such a force
against him Stirling was compelled to surrender. Some attempted to
escape by cutting their way through the ranks of the enemy, and perished
in the effort. The Americans lost in this battle 1200 men, 1000 of whom,
including Lord Stirling and General Sullivan, were taken prisoners.
About 400 of the British were killed, wounded, and taken prisoners.

Historians have always differed as to the loss of the Americans in the
battle of Brooklyn. Colonel Trumbull was commissary-general during the
engagement, and was employed, when the retreat was determined upon, in
procuring vessels in which to remove the army. By virtue of his position
he possessed peculiar facilities for knowing the true state of affairs.
Two days after the retreat he wrote the following letter to his father,
giving an account of Washington's masterly effort:

    NEW YORK, September 1, 1776.

    HONORED SIR,--We have been obliged to retreat from Long Island
    and Governor's Island, from both of which we got off without
    loss of men. We left a great part of our heavy artillery behind.
    The field train is off. We are in hourly expectation that the
    town will be bombarded and cannonaded, and the enemy are drawing
    their men to the eastward of Long Island, as if they intended to
    throw a strong party over on this island, near Hell Gate, so as
    to get on the back of the city. We are preparing to meet them.
    Matters appear to be drawing near a decisive engagement. General
    Sullivan is allowed to come on shore, upon his parole, and go to
    Congress, on the subject of exchange of himself, Lord Stirling,
    and a large number who are prisoners; by the best accounts we
    yet have, we have lost in last week's defeat about 800 men
    killed and missing; how many of each is not yet known. I rather
    expect that they will push in a body of troops between the town
    and our party at and near Kingsbridge. If they do, we shall have
    them between two fires, and must push them to the last
    extremity, or be killed or taken prisoners. The result is in the
    hands of the Almighty Disposer of all events.

      I am, honored sir, your dutiful son,


While the battle was raging with so much fury, Washington was in New
York, watching the movements of the British fleet. He was filled with
anxiety and alarm, as he considered that an important crisis had
arrived. Becoming satisfied during the day that there was no intention
on the part of the fleet to attack the city, he passed over to Brooklyn
and took his station at Fort Putnam.

Here he witnessed the terrible rout and slaughter which befell Sullivan,
with no means at his command to send succor or assistance. He also
beheld the heroic conduct of the men under Stirling, and was convinced
that resistance on their part was in vain. As Washington noticed the
bravery of the Maryland troops in the bayonet charge, he exclaimed,
"Good God, what brave fellows I must this day lose."

Thus terminated the battle on the 27th. The slaughter had been terrible
on both sides. The flower of the American army was destroyed, and many
valuable and efficient officers were taken prisoners. General Howe felt
jubilant over his success, and made preparations to advance upon the
American lines. Within those lines were 3000 brave men who were
encouraged by the presence of Washington. Had an attempt been made to
take their fortifications, they would not have been yielded without the
destruction of hosts of the invaders. As Howe did not know the strength
of the Americans, he deemed it prudent not to make the attempt, and
encamped for the night. It was not singular, under the circumstances,
that Washington should feel alarmed. He was satisfied that resistance
would be useless, and that something must be done to save the remnant of
his army.

The Hessians, who had been hired by the British Government, were trained
soldiers. Of the men so procured the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel furnished
12,000 infantry, the Duke of Brunswick 3900, and the Count of Hanau 360.
War was their profession, and in its destructive work they seemed to
take great delight. In the engagements on Long Island they took an
active part, and manifested their disposition by showing no quarter. The
sight of blood served to madden them, and led them on to renewed acts of
diabolism and ferocity. Nothing satisfied their rapacity. After the
retreat of the Americans from Long Island, and its occupation by the
British, many of these Hessians took possession of and were quartered in
the large old-fashioned Dutch houses, and made themselves free with
everything on which they could lay their hands.

The morning of the 28th of August arrived. A thick mist enshrouded the
earth with gloom. Washington did not manifest any despondency, and as
he inspected the works and defenses had a cheerful word of encouragement
for the men. Early in the morning several regiments of Massachusetts
soldiers crossed to the island, and were received with manifestations of
joy by the weary toilers of the day and night past. With this addition
the force of the Americans numbered 9000 men. The battle was now renewed
by the British, who commenced a heavy cannonade on the American works.
Providence seemed to smile upon the American cause. The clouds poured
forth rain in torrents, which, while it produced much physical
discomfort to the patriots, who were compelled to stand knee deep in
water, served also to restrain and prevent the enemy from engaging in
the conflict.

Washington realized the necessity of immediate action. A council of
officers was summoned, and by his advice the conclusion was reached to
evacuate the island. The council convened by Washington to deliberate
upon this important subject was composed of the commander-in-chief,
General Washington; major generals Putnam and Spencer, brigadier
generals Mifflin, McDougall, Parsons, Scott, Wadsworth, and Fellows. In
Stiles's account of the battle of Long Island, he says that "the old
Cornell House, afterwards known as the Pierrepont Mansion, which
formerly stood on the line of the present Montague Street, near the
little iron footbridge which spans the carriageway, was the headquarters
of Washington during this important contest. It was a spacious and
costly house having large chimneys, from which it was known as the 'Four
Chimneys;' and upon its roof a telegraph was arranged by which
communication was held with New York."

Stiles maintains that both Lossing and Onderdonk erred in stating that
the council met in the Dutch church on Fulton Street, but that they met
in this old house. In supporting his opinion he quotes the authority of
Colonel Fish, the father of Governor Hamilton Fish, and one of
Washington's military family, who in 1824, during Lafayette's visit to
Brooklyn, called the attention of the distinguished visitor to the fact,
and designated the very positions in the room occupied by the members of
that council.

The business brought before the council was very important, and the
execution of the scheme adopted required military skill and strategy to
insure success. It would not have answered to retreat during the day,
as their movements would have been noticed and checkmated by the enemy.
It was resolved to effect the withdrawal of the troops that night. Every
move required the utmost caution and secrecy. As boats were needed to
transport the troops, and the collecting together of them might excite
the suspicion of the British, it was reported that the Americans
intended to attack the enemy in the rear, and to accomplish this end had
determined to transport troops to the line of Queens County at Hell
Gate. This plan was adopted to deceive the enemy. In pursuance of the
resolution of the council, orders were issued to move every available
boat to Brooklyn, and have them in readiness for embarkation at
midnight. So cautious were the officers conducting this retreat that all
orders were given in whispers, and communicated to the men in the same
manner. The state of the weather favored the movements of Washington.
During the day rain had fallen in copious showers. As the mantle of
night covered the earth, a heavy fog appeared, which, with the drizzling
mist, served to deceive the enemy, and render them less vigilant. In
order to mislead the British officers and soldiers, Washington kept
several companies marching to and from the ferry landing, while their
associates were embarking. Washington himself superintended the
embarkation of the troops, who began to move about ten o'clock. The
darkness of the night aided materially in the accomplishment of the
work. To add to the deception, fires were kept burning until the last
moment. All the troops were safely embarked. The boatmen labored
cheerfully during the night watches, and when at last the fog passed
away, and they beheld the clear cerulean sky above them, they also
rejoiced that a kind Providence had directed their boats to a safe
harbor on the shores of the upper part of the city of New York.

The elements, time, and circumstances, favored Washington in his
masterly retreat. On one side he had to fear the forces of Howe, who
might pursue and cut off his retreat, and on the other hand, if he
succeeded in putting off from the land, he stood in imminent danger from
the British fleet, which, if his movements were discovered, would soon
send him and his faithful band to a watery grave. Again, he was liable
to be exposed by some stray British soldier or spy.

A woman Tory, Mrs. Rapalje, living near the ferry, noticing the
collection of boats and the movements of the troops, suspected that a
retreat had been determined. Anxious to apprise her friends, the Tories,
of the undertaking, she at once sent her negro slave to give General
Clinton the information. Fortunately for Washington, the slave was
captured by a Hessian soldier, who, not understanding the English
language, could not comprehend the importance of the message, and kept
the slave in the guard-house until morning, when he sent him to
Clinton's headquarters. When Clinton received the message the birds had

The story was communicated to Howe, who received it with blank
astonishment. At first he could not accept it as true. The scouts
reported that a dead silence rested upon the American camp. Howe now
feared that the story might be too true, and that, "while he slumbered
and slept," Washington had escaped. At last one of the guard crept close
to the works, and found that they had been abandoned. The alarm was
given, the crestfallen British took possession, and, like Pharaoh of
old, pursued, to find that those they sought had landed safely on the
other side.[47]


_From the map by Gen. Jeremiah Johnson_]

Howe now took possession of the deserted works. All the towns of Kings
County were in possession of the army, who had strong garrisons in each.
Meantime Howe made his headquarters at Newtown. During the continuance
of the war thereafter, and for a period of over seven years, Kings
County remained under the absolute control and domination of the

Howe now made another effort to restore the colonies to the mother
country. The disaster and repulse which the Americans received in
Brooklyn led him to suppose it a favorable opportunity to accomplish his
mission of peace. He communicated with the Continental Congress, and
opened negotiations with a promise of pardon to all who would lay down
their arms. He also added a promise that the obnoxious laws which had
led to the struggle should be repealed.

The proposition came too late. No concession but acknowledgment of
independence would satisfy the people. A conference was held at Staten
Island, whereat Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Francis Rutledge, the
commissioners appointed by Congress to attend the negotiations, refused
to listen to any terms of peace, except such as should recognize the
full and complete independence of the colonies. Howe, having failed in
his effort, issued another proclamation to the people, and resolved to
proceed and take the city of New York.

The battle of Brooklyn cost the Americans the loss of that brave
general, Nathaniel Woodhull, who for nearly a year had acted as the
President of the Provincial Congress of New York. He was in command of a
part of the forces, and was captured on the 28th of August by a party of
Tories under command of Captain De Lancey, near the village of Jamaica.
Notwithstanding the fact that he was a prisoner, and entitled to
respectful treatment, he suffered great indignities at the hands of his
captors, who inflicted numerous sabre wounds, which resulted in his
death. He was at first taken to the Presbyterian Church in Jamaica,
where for the night he was confined with other patriots. In the morning
he was placed on a hay-boat, and taken down Jamaica Bay to New York Bay,
and landed at New Utrecht. Reaching the latter place he began to fail
very rapidly, and the officers, seeing his days were numbered, allowed
him to be carried to the house of Nicasius De Sille, where he died as a
true soldier, breathing blessings on his countrymen, and willingly
giving his life in the cause he loved so well.

Woodhull was the hero of Long Island. He rendered important service in
the formation of the state government, and was always a leader who
secured and retained the respect and confidence of his constituents.

The occupation of Long Island by the British did not accomplish the
results anticipated. The victory gained was barren. The authorities at
home did not see in it anything to commend. In the light of present
knowledge it was passing strange that Generals Howe and Clinton and
Admiral Howe should have committed so fatal a blunder as to attempt the
subjugation of the city of New York by a passage of the army across Long
Island. The situation of Manhattan Island, extending into the bay, with
a wide expanse of water on each side, presented an inviting field for an
attack upon the city. Admiral Howe, with his large and well-equipped
fleet, could have readily besieged New York, and forced Washington with
his little band of patriots to evacuate the place. As it was he weakened
his force, and enabled Washington to concentrate his army. Long Island
being isolated from the main land was of but little consequence to
either side. Had Howe with his fleet besieged the city, and landed the
military forces, their success would have been complete, as the
Americans were not prepared to resist the invasion. Such a policy would
have resulted disastrously to the patriotic cause. As we have already
stated, the battle of Brooklyn was never looked upon by British
authorities as at all creditable. Whatever glory gathers round the
engagement centres in the exhibition of military skill displayed by
Washington in the management of the masterly retreat of the American
army from Long Island, and its safe arrival in the city of New York.

Yet Washington was greatly distressed and disheartened by the defeat at
Brooklyn. In referring to the battle in one of his letters written
shortly after the disaster, he expressed his feelings in unmistakable
terms. He says: "The check our detachment sustained on the 27th has
disappointed too great a proportion of our troops and filled their minds
with apprehension and despair. The militia, instead of calling forth
their utmost efforts to a brave and manly opposition, in order to repair
our losses, are dismayed, intractable, and impatient to return. Great
numbers of them have gone off! in some instances by whole regiments, by
half ones, and by companies, at a time." Washington was well-nigh
discouraged by the state of affairs. He had enlisted with the purest
motives, and ever manifested a spirit of self-sacrifice. He regretted
that the same spirit did not abide with those who had with him enlisted
in the service.

Howe, having full possession of the American fortifications on Long
Island, determined to use the fleet under command of his brother,
Admiral Howe. The vessels were brought within gunshot of the city. The
Rose, carrying forty guns, passed through Buttermilk Channel and
anchored in Turtle Bay, in the neighborhood of Forty-second Street and
East River, to aid the other vessels then in the Sound by a concert of
action against the city.

Washington, noticing the movements of the ships of war, and foreseeing
that the condition of his army would not permit a defense, resolved to
leave the city. Before doing so he summoned a council of his officers,
who coincided with him in his views of the situation. This was on the
12th of September. An order was issued at once for the removal of the
military stores across the Harlem River, and a force was stationed at

General Putnam was left in command of the city with about 4000 men. The
main body under Washington was stationed at Harlem Heights. Washington
was now surrounded with difficulties which required great ability to
overcome. The enemy had the men and means to move on his works, and
against their attack he could offer but feeble resistance. It was a dark
and doleful hour in our history. In order to make no mistake it became
necessary to adopt a decisive policy, and to arrange plans whereby the
advance movements of the enemy might be circumvented. He considered it
of the utmost importance to ascertain the intentions of Howe and
Clinton. A council of war was called, and it was resolved to send a man
who could be trusted into the enemy's ranks to gain the desired

In this emergency Nathan Hale, a young and brilliant officer,
volunteered his services. Procuring the necessary disguise, Hale started
on the mission fraught with so much danger. Passing over to Long Island,
he entered unnoticed and unobserved the enemy's line, succeeded in
making drawings of their works, and gained full and complete information
as to all their intended movements.

As he was returning, he was recognized as belonging to the rebel army,
and was arrested, and conveyed to the Beekman house, on the corner of
Fifty-first Street and First Avenue, where General Howe had his
headquarters. He was at once tried, convicted as a spy, and sentenced to
be hung on the following day at daybreak. It was a mercy to him that his
execution was fixed so speedily, as in the mean time he was placed in
the keeping of that heartless scoundrel, Cunningham, whose after deeds
as provost marshal of New York have rendered his name forever infamous.
Hale was kept in confinement during the night by the marshal, who
refused to give him a light and writing materials to enable him to send
a last message of love to his aged parents and friends. A kindly
disposed lieutenant afterwards furnished him with pen and paper.
Cunningham, however, in the morning manifested the natural atrocity of
his disposition by rudely tearing into pieces before his eyes the
letters which he had written, and at the same time declaring "that the
rebels should never know that they had a man in their army who could die
with so much firmness."

On the morning of September 22, 1776, Cunningham ordered the execution
to proceed, and at the same time required Hale to make a dying
confession. In the nobility of his liberty-loving nature, Hale said: "I
only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." These
brave words were his last. He was suspended on an apple-tree, and his
remains were committed to the grave without any ceremony. He did not
perish; his name will live as that of one of the heroes of the
Revolution. In the American army he was universally beloved, and his
untimely end filled the hearts of his friends with deep-seated hatred to
their foes, and a renewed determination to be avenged.

In this connection the following may not be uninteresting. It is an
extract from a letter from New York, dated September 1, 1776:[48]

"Last Monday we went over to Long Island, and about midnight we were
alarmed by the return of some of our scouting parties, who advised us
that the _English_ were in motion, and coming up the island with several
field pieces; it was generally thought not to be the main body, but only
a detachment, with a view to possess themselves of some advantageous
heights, upon which near three thousand men were ordered out, consisting
chiefly of the Pennsylvania and Maryland troops, to attack them on their
march. The Delaware and Maryland battalions made one party. Colonel
Atlee with his battalion, a little before us, had taken post in an
orchard, and behind a barn, and on the approach of the enemy he gave
them a very severe fire, which he bravely kept up for a considerable
time, until they were near surrounding him, when he retreated to the
woods. The enemy then advanced towards us, upon which _Lord Stirling_,
who commanded, immediately drew us up in line, and offered them battle
in the true _English_ taste. The British army then advanced within three
hundred yards of us, and began a heavy fire from their cannon and
mortars, for both the balls and shells flew very fast, now and then
taking off a head. Our men stood it amazing well; not even one of them
showed a disposition to shrink.

"Our orders were not to fire until the enemy came within fifty yards of
us; but when they perceived we stood their fire so coolly and
resolutely, they declined coming any nearer, though treble our number.
In this situation we stood from sunrise to twelve o'clock, the enemy
firing upon us the chief part of the time, when the main body of their
army, by a route we never dreamed of, had utterly surrounded us, and
drove within the lines or scattered in the woods all our men except the
_Delaware_ and Maryland battalions, who were standing at bay with double
their number. Thus situated, we were ordered to attempt a retreat by
fighting our way through the enemy, who had posted themselves and nearly
filled every field and road between us and our lines. We had not
retreated a quarter of a mile before we were fired upon by an advanced
party of the enemy, and those upon our rear were playing upon us with
their artillery. Our men fought with more than _Roman_ courage, and I am
convinced would have stood until they were shot down to a man. We forced
the advanced party which first attacked us to give way, through which
opening we got a passage down to the side of a marsh, seldom before
waded over, which we passed, and then swam a narrow river, all the time
exposed to the fire of the enemy. The companies commanded by Captains
Ramsey and Scott were in the front, and sustained the first fire of the
enemy, when hardly a man fell.

"The whole right wing of our battalion, thinking it impossible to pass
through the marsh, attempted to force their way through the woods, where
they were almost to a man killed or taken. The Maryland battalion has
lost two hundred and fifty-nine men, amongst whom are twelve officers:
Captains Veazey and Bowie, the first certainly killed; Lieutenants
Butler, Sterritt, Dent, Coursey, Muse, Prawl; Ensigns Coates and
Fernandez; who of them killed or who prisoners is yet uncertain. Many of
the officers lost their swords and guns. We have since abandoned Long
Island, bringing off all our military stores.

"Generals Sullivan and Stirling are both prisoners. Colonels Atlee,
Miles, and Piper are also taken. There are about one thousand men
missing in all. We took a few prisoners. By a lieutenant we took, we
understand they had about twenty-three thousand men on the Island that
morning. Most of our Generals were upon a high hill, in our lines,
viewing us with glasses. When we began our retreat, they could see the
enemy we had to pass through, though we could not. Many of them thought
we would surrender in a body without firing. When we begun the attack,
General _Washington_ wrung his hands and cried out, _Good God! What
brave fellows I must this day lose_. Major Guest commanded the
_Maryland_ battalion, the Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel being both at
York. Captains Adams and Lucas were sick. The Major, Captain Ramsey and
Lieutenant Plunkett were foremost and within forty yards of the enemy's
muzzles, when they were fired upon by the enemy, who were chiefly under
cover of an orchard, save a force that showed themselves, and pretended
to give up, clubbing their firelocks until we came within that distance,
when they immediately presented, and blazed in our faces; they entirely
overshot us, and killed some men away behind in our rear. I had the
satisfaction of dropping one of them the first fire I made. I was so
near I could not miss. I discharged my rifle seven times that day, as
deliberately as I ever did at a mark, and with as little perturbation."

Washington, in a letter dated September 4, 1776, addressed to General
Schuyler, fixes the number in killed, wounded, and prisoners on the
American side in the Long Island battle at from seven hundred to one
thousand men.[49]

In writing to the Massachusetts Assembly, under date of September 19,
1776, Washington states that the number in killed and wounded of the
enemy could not be ascertained, "but that it was pretty considerable and
exceeded ours a good deal." He also says that the Americans lost eight
hundred men, three fourths of whom were taken prisoners, thereby leaving
only two hundred killed.[50]

English writers upon this subject place the loss on the American side at
between three and four thousand. These figures greatly overstep the
mark, and were doubtless gathered from the reports of those commanding
generals who desired to make it appear to the home authorities that a
substantial victory had been secured.

The loss in the battle of Brooklyn is fixed by the best authorities at
not over a thousand men. This, as we have seen, is the number fixed by
Washington himself, both in his letters and official reports. Johnson,
in his admirable and exhaustive narrative of the campaign of 1776,
concurs in this view. These figures appear to be a correct estimate of
the loss sustained. Certainly if as many had been killed as reported by
British officials, some tradition or evidence would exist as to the vast
number requiring burial after the battle, and subsequent to the
evacuation. The neutral inhabitants remaining on the island would have
found abundant occupation in consigning so many to mother earth. This
alone would have rendered the occasion memorable.

The loss on the Tory side appears from the returns made by General Howe
to have been:--Commissioned officers: three generals, three colonels,
four lieutenant-colonels, three majors, eighteen captains, forty-three
lieutenants, and eleven ensigns; staff officers: one adjutant, three
surgeons, two volunteers; privates: one thousand and six. This includes
nine wounded officers and fifty-six wounded privates.[51]

In the annals of the Revolutionary period in Brooklyn, a conspicuous
place is occupied by the famous Rising Sun tavern. It stood (and still
stands) at the junction of the Bedford and Jamaica turnpikes in East New
York, and was an old-fashioned farm-house of the Dutch type. This famous
tavern, from its prominent position on the King's highway, was a resort
for the burghers and farmers of the island. The host, William Howard,
was very popular amongst the people, and the old landmark, so prominent
in the early history of Kings County, has long been an object of

At this house, the day before the battle of Brooklyn, an important
meeting in reference to the war was held. The house was situated within
five miles of the American intrenchments, which were in the neighborhood
of Bridge and Fulton streets. The American army rested quietly, not
dreaming of the impending danger. Meanwhile the British army was not
inactive. It was encamped at Flatbush. Just after midnight it occupied
the roads leading to East New York, and pushed forward to that suburban
spot. The guides who had been employed lost their way, and General Howe
found it absolutely necessary to obtain more trustworthy leaders. In
consulting upon the subject, it was determined that William Howard, the
keeper of the tavern, being familiar with the different passes, was the
best man to secure in the emergency. The approach of the army had not
been observed by the occupants of the wayside hotel. Suddenly the
bar-room door was forced open, and the terrified family were aroused
from their slumbers. The guard sought and found the astonished
innkeeper, and quickly brought him before the august generals Howe,
Cornwallis, and Sir Henry Clinton. It was their desire to use this man
to guide them over the hills and through the woods to the little hamlet
at Bedford, where it was supposed a large body of Americans were
encamped, whom the invaders desired to outflank, and by a circuitous
route, if possible, gain the plain beyond, and thus cut off their rear.
Howard was perfectly familiar with the intricate pathways. The interview
between Howard and the British officers was brief and to the point.
William Howard had a son then only fourteen years of age. The events of
the evening left a vivid impression on the lad's mind. In after years,
in referring to the adventures of that night, he said: "It was about two
o'clock in the morning of the 27th of August that I was awakened by
seeing a soldier by the side of my bed. I got up and dressed, and went
down into the bar-room, where I saw my father standing in one corner,
with three British soldiers before him, with muskets and bayonets fixed.
The army (numbering about sixteen thousand men) was then lying in the
fields in front of the house. General Howe asked for a glass of liquor,
and, after receiving it, entered into conversation with William Howard,
and said: 'I must have some one to show me the Rockaway path around the

To this remark Howard replied: "We belong to the other side, General,
and can't serve you against our duty." General Howe then said: "That is
all right, stick to your country, or stick to your principles; but,
Howard, you are my prisoner, and must guide my men over the hill."
Howard, in the nobility of his nature, objected to being a party to the
betrayal of his countrymen, but was silenced by the General, who finally
said: "You have no alternative. If you refuse, I shall have you shot
through the head."[52]

It was a painful task for Howard to thus pave the way for the
destruction of the American army. He was led out under a guard, which
was directed to shoot him should he attempt to make his escape. The
entire march was conducted in a cautious, noiseless manner, and every
precaution taken to be in readiness for an attack. They succeeded in
reaching the road below the Bedford pass, and flanked the position
supposed to be occupied by the American troops.

Young Howard, who accompanied his father, in giving an account of the
march, says: "On reaching the turn in the Jamaica road, my father and
myself were released and sent back to the tavern, which we found
surrounded by the guard."

It may be well to state here that the Rockaway path was a narrow pass
across the hill, forming now a portion of Evergreen Cemetery, and led
from the Jamaica road to Bushwick lane, now the main entrance to the

In the legal documents of the time, the roads were called the King's
highways. The Brooklyn and Jamaica road, which passed through the hills
near East New York, was known as the King's highway. General Howe named
it, "the pass through the hills."

The name of the Clove road originated from the fact that it passed
through the clove or cleft of the hills. By the British army it was
distinguished as the Bedford pass. The valley through which the Flatbush
road passed, being densely covered with wood, was called Valley Grove.

The enemy, having crossed over from Long Island and effected a landing
in New York city on the 15th of September, immediately pushed forward
to meet and drive before them the forces of Washington, which movement
on their part culminated in the battle of Harlem Heights. In that
engagement, which was short and fierce, the Americans lost, in killed,
16 privates, whilst the damage done to the enemy was 74 killed and 274
wounded. Governor Clinton, who witnessed the battle, wrote of it: "It
has animated our troops, given them new spirits, and erased every bad
impression the retreat from Long Island had left in their minds. They
find that they are able with inferior numbers to drive their enemy, and
think of nothing now but conquest."

Shortly after the occupation of New York by the British, and on the 21st
of September, the city was visited by a great fire, which quickly
reduced a large part of it to ashes. It is estimated that 500 houses
were obliterated. Trinity Church was destroyed, and the Lutheran chapel,
situated on the corner of Rector Street, met the same fate. St. Paul's
Church, the oldest religious edifice now standing in New York city, was
saved by the energy and superhuman exertions of the citizens. Long may
this old landmark resist the vandalism of the age. The fire was looked
upon as the act of an incendiary. The Tory element of the community,
believing that it was caused by the Sons of Liberty, accused them of the
act. Several citizens were arrested as accessories, but were
subsequently discharged, as no evidence could be produced on which to
hold them.

During this time the Continental Congress continued to hold its sessions
in the city of Philadelphia.

On the 31st of August, Washington sent a letter to Congress wherein he
gave an explicit statement of the result of the council of war held on
Long Island, and the reasons which led him to withdraw the troops from
that locality. By reason of this decision New York city, and all its
fortifications, was ultimately given up to the British fleet and army.
The new occupants, upon taking possession, adopted measures to fortify
and strengthen it against invasion from the American forces.

After the occupation of New York by the British army, large numbers of
Tories, who had been compelled to forsake the place by reason of the
stringent measures adopted by the Committee of Safety against all who
sided with royalty, again returned to the city and were warmly welcomed
by the new authorities. Amongst the number who returned to their old
haunts was Rivington the printer, whose vituperations against the Sons
of Liberty had in former times called down upon him the wrath and enmity
of the patriots. The returning Tories held high carnival in the city.
They seemed to think that the cause of the Americans was lost, and that
soon they would have undisputed control of public affairs.

Kings County, which never had manifested a strong patriotism, contained
many who did not greatly lament the triumph of the British. The retreat
of the American army from Long Island served to strengthen the
convictions of the Tory adherents, and induced them to embrace the
opportunity afforded of forsaking what they conceived to be the "lost
cause," and give in their adhesion to the Crown of England. Moreover, as
we shall see by later explanation, there was a peculiarly heavy pressure
placed on the loyalty of Kings County.

It was under this pressure that in November some of the largest
freeholders in the county of Kings met together and resolved to accept
the terms offered by Howe in his proclamations. In order to gain favor
with the British authorities, an address was prepared in the Uriah Heep
style, in which it was stated:--

    "We, therefore, whose names are hereto subscribed, freeholders
    and inhabitants of Kings County, in the province of New York,
    reflecting with the tenderest emotions of gratitude on this
    instance of his Majesty's paternal goodness and encouraged by
    the affectionate manner in which his Majesty's gracious purpose
    hath been conveyed to us by your Excellencies, who have thereby
    evinced that humanity is inseparable from that true magnanimity
    and those enlarged sentiments which form the most shining
    characters, they beg leave to represent to your Excellencies,
    that we bear true allegiance to our rightful sovereign George
    the Third, as well as warm affection to his sacred person,
    crown, and dignity, to testify which we and each of us have
    voluntarily taken an oath (in the church at Flatbush) before Wm.
    Axtell, Esq., one of his Majesty's council for this province, in
    the following words: '_I do solemnly promise and swear that I
    will be faithful and bear true allegiance to his Majesty King
    George the Third, and that I will defend his crown and dignity
    against all persons whomsoever. So help me God._' And that we
    esteem the constitutional supremacy of Great Britain over these
    colonies, and other depending parts of his Majesty's dominions,
    as essential to the union, security, and welfare of the whole
    empire; and sincerely lament the interruption of that harmony
    which formerly subsisted between the parent state and these her
    colonies. We therefore hereby pray that your Excellencies would
    be pleased to restore this country to his Majesty's protection
    and peace."[53]

This was certainly a model epistle, and clearly demonstrated the
character of the men who endorsed its sentiments, or pretended to
endorse them, by appending to it their names. As the common people had
expressed themselves so freely, the leaders, not to be outdone in giving
evidence of submission to royalty, a short time afterwards presented to
Governor Tryon an address couched in terms of detestation of the
rebellion, and of warm admiration for the Crown. It was a craven
document, evincing cowardice and lack of true manliness. It ran as

    "We, the members of the Provincial Congress, the County
    Committee, and the Committees of the different townships,
    elected by the inhabitants of Kings County, feel the highest
    satisfaction in having it in our power to dissolve ourselves
    without danger of the county being dissoluted, as it was by
    repeated threats some short time ago. We do hereby accordingly
    dissolve ourselves, rejecting and disclaiming all power of
    Congress and committees, totally refusing obedience thereto, and
    revoking all proceedings under them whatsoever, as being
    repugnant to the laws and constitution of the British Empire,
    and undutiful to our sovereign, and ruinous to the welfare and
    prosperity of this county. We beg leave to assure your
    Excellency we shall be exceeding happy in obeying the legal
    authority of government, whenever your Excellency shall be
    pleased to call us forth, being of long experience well assured
    of your Excellency's mild and upright administration."

This paper was signed on December 3 and 4. Amongst the parties who
appended their signatures to this obsequious missive are the following,
many of whom will be recognized as prominent in the annals of the

    Philip Nagel
    W^m Johnson
    Evert Suydam
    Richard Stillwell
    Johannes E. Lott
    Rem Cowenhoven
    Nich Cowenhoven
    Joost Duryea
    Jeremiah Vanderbilt
    Stephen Voorhies
    Denyse Denyce
    Engelbert Lott
    I. Hubbard
    Garret Wyckoff
    Richard Stillwell, Jr.
    Rutgers Van Brunt
    Adrien Hegeman
    Abram Laguare
    Derick Remsen
    Abram Voorhies
    Adrian Voorhies
    Petrus Van Pelt
    Leffert Lefferts
    Wilh^s Stoothoof
    Casper Crisper
    Isaac Cortelyou
    Petrus Lott
    Johannes De Bevoice
    Isaac Denyce
    Johannes Bergen
    John Vanderbilt
    Theodorus Polhemus
    W^m Van Brunt
    Jacobus Vanderwenter
    Cor^s Wyckoff
    Jeremias Remsen[54]

That these men, who had served in official stations in councils of the
state, and who had witnessed for a dozen years the aggressions of the
Crown, should so far submit to British authority, and be willing to
resume the yoke when an opportunity was presented by concerted action to
throw off the shackles which bound them to the mother country, is
perhaps sufficient evidence of the strain produced by the peculiar
situation in Kings County.

The militia, who had rendered but little service to the patriots, now
followed the example set them by their leaders, and, to gain favor with
the British officers, voluntarily raised and contributed the munificent
sum of £310 8s towards defraying the expenses of raising and equipping a
new battalion to be employed in the service of the Tories. Howe and
Tryon rejoiced greatly over these manifestations on the part of the
people of Kings County. Such acts encouraged them greatly in their
labors, and led them to suppose that the war was being carried on by a
few zealous but hot-headed fanatics, who desired to enrich themselves by
a continuance of the rebellion. They believed that they could control
the rich, who did not wish to part with their property to be used in a
prolonged campaign, and the poor, who did not desire to be separated
from their families by compulsory service in the army. General Howe and
Governor Tryon, whose position of late years had become merely nominal,
gladly accepted these evidences of obedience to their mandates, and were
careful to scatter amongst them the assurance that "his Majesty has
observed with great satisfaction the effusions of loyalty and affection
which break forth in the address of his faithful subjects, upon their
deliverance from the tyranny and oppression of the rebel committees; and
the proof given by the inhabitants of Kings County of their zeal for the
success of his Majesty's measures by so generously contributing towards
the expense of raising Colonel Fanning's battalion cannot fail of
recommending them to his Majesty's favor."[55]

No one, upon hearing of these manifestations on the part of the people
of Kings County, would for a moment wonder that the leaders of the
rebellion against kingly authority should at times feel discouraged and
disheartened. However, with so many who were faithless, there were some
who still were true to the honored cause. The name of Major Barent
Johnson, father of the late General Jeremiah Johnson, stands
conspicuously amongst those who were not ashamed to acknowledge
allegiance to the infant republic. Johnson was ever distinguished as a
patriot, and attested his love of liberty, not only by words but also by
actions. On every occasion he fearlessly and boldly advocated the
revolutionary movement, and was one of the officers of the Kings County
militia who would not truckle to power, and who refused "to sell his
heritage for a mess of pottage." When the American army retreated from
Brooklyn he followed their fortunes, and was encamped with them at
Harlem in 1776, and ever testified his love of country by his
willingness to serve her in her hour of danger and trial. In the early
part of 1777 he was taken prisoner while accompanying the American army
to New Jersey. Subsequently he obtained a parole from General Howe
through assistance of a brother Mason, and returned to his home in Kings
County. He resided on the old farm in the present nineteenth ward of the
city, so long known as the residence of General Jeremiah Johnson. He did
all he could to aid the American cause. "In order to help on the cause
to which he was devoted, he shrank not from personal and pecuniary
risks, but suggested loans from friends in his county to the American
government, and himself set the example by loaning, first, £700, and
afterwards sums amounting to $5000; all the security for which was a
simple private receipt, given, too, in times of exceeding peril and
discouragement,--a noble and memorable deed."[56]

There were many signs during 1776 that Kings County's disaffection was
recognized. At the session of the Provincial Congress held June 21, the
subject of preventing Kings County from giving aid to the enemy was
discussed, and resulted in the passage of the following resolution:--

    _Resolved_, That it be recommended to the general committee of
    Kings County, immediately to take effectual measures that all
    boats and craft in the bay, on the south and southwest sides of
    said county, be drawn up or on the upland, to such a distance
    from the water as to prevent as much as possible the disaffected
    persons in that county from keeping up a communication with the
    enemy; and that the oars and sails belonging to the said boats
    and craft be secured in the most effectual manner.

At this session Kings County was represented by Mr. Lefferts and Mr.

On the 10th of August the Provincial Convention (to which name that of
the former Congress had been changed), directed that one half of the
militia of Kings County and Queens County be "immediately ordered to
march and put themselves under the command of the officer commanding the
Continental troops on Nassau Island, to be continued in service until
the first day of September next, unless sooner discharged by order of
this Convention."

The Convention, having received information that the inhabitants of
Kings County had determined not to oppose the enemy, thereupon adopted
the following resolution:--

    _Resolved_, That a committee be appointed to repair forthwith to
    said county, and enquire concerning the authenticity of such
    report, and in case they find it well founded, that they be
    empowered to disarm and secure the disaffected inhabitants; to
    remove or destroy the stock of grain; and if they shall judge
    necessary, _to lay the whole country waste_. And for the
    execution of these purposes, they are directed to apply to
    General Greene, or the commander of the Continental troops in
    that county, for such assistance as they shall want.

The committee appointed in accordance with this resolution consisted of
Mr. Duer, Colonel Remsen, Mr. Hebert, and Colonel DeWit.[57]

On the 13th of August the Convention, in pursuance of the resolution
passed on the 10th of August, relative to the Kings County militia,
appointed Colonel Jeromus Remsen of Queens County, Lieutenant-Colonel
Nich^s Cowenhoven of Kings County, and Major Richard Thorne of Queens
County, as officers of the militia ordered to be drafted from Kings and
Queens counties, and placed them under the command of the officer
commanding the Continental troops on Nassau Island.

The Convention of Representatives of the State of New York met again on
the 21st of August. The first subject which engaged its attention was
the character of the credentials presented by the delegates from Kings
County. The convention, upon examination and due deliberation, came to
the conclusion that the same were defective, in that they did not state
"whether any, or what power was given to the representatives therein
named." Considering that the representatives so elected should be
expressly authorized to assist in framing and establishing a new form of
government, and thereby give in their adhesion to the independence of
America, the Convention ordered that the said Committee of Kings County
be immediately informed of said defect, to the end that a new election
might be held, whereat delegates clothed with full power in the premises
might be returned.

The Convention of Representatives on the 29th of August passed a
resolution recommending to the inhabitants of Long Island "to move as
many of their women, children, and slaves, and as much of their live
stock and grain, to the mainland, as they can," at the same time
"assuring them that Convention would pay the expense of moving the

There is much significance in the letter of John Sloss Hobart to the
Committee of Safety, dated October 7, 1776, fairly stating the causes
which led to the apparent submission of the citizens of Long Island to
the British Crown. He shows that the measures adopted were from
necessity and not from choice. He says:--

    "Upon the retreat of the army from the island they viewed
    themselves as abandoned by the Convention, and expecting the
    enemy hourly amongst them, a general removal appeared
    impracticable; besides, to quit their pleasant habitations, and
    throw themselves, with their tender connections, upon the
    charity of an unknown world, was a degree of apathy to which
    they had not yet arrived. In a fit of despair they laid down
    their arms, and made an unconditional submission to what they
    supposed the inquiring army;[58] the people at large being thus
    brought to terms, they found it less difficult by threats to
    induce the individuals who had formerly held commissions under
    the Crown of Great Britain to resume the execution of their
    offices; being well led into the snare, every measure tended to
    draw the _net_ closer about them. Notwithstanding which, I am,
    from the best authority, informed that they are accused by Mr.
    Tryon and his minions of having submitted only the better to
    cover their intention of removing, and that, unless the young
    men do voluntarily take up arms against their country, an
    inveterate and disappointed soldiery will be let loose upon
    them. These considerations induce me earnestly to wish that some
    measure may be taken to induce the people to quit the island, by
    offering a support to those who cannot maintain themselves--the
    aged and infirm must be maintained at public expense."

This letter reveals the true condition of affairs, and forcibly states
the motives which led the inhabitants of Long Island to submit to the
aggressions of the British.

At the session of the Committee of Safety, held on the 26th of November,
some of the inhabitants of the State of Connecticut presented claims for
expenses incurred in removing stock and the poor inhabitants from Long
Island. A committee was therefore appointed to collect and state these
accounts, together with the names of the persons bought of, the quantity
of stock, and the names of the persons to whom they belonged, together
with the place of their present residence, and report the same to the
convention of this State as soon as possible.

This subject was again brought to the attention of the Committee of
Safety on the 3d of December, 1776. At that meeting the following letter
was prepared and signed by the vice-president and transmitted to Colonel
H. B. Livingston:--

    "SIR,--The Committee of Safety have received accounts from
    different towns in Connecticutt, with their demands for
    transporting stock and effects from Long Island. Some are sent
    in by private persons, as employed by you for that purpose. I am
    directed to desire you to send me as particular an account as
    you can of the stock and other effects you have brought off Long
    Island, with the number of cattle, sheep, and other stock, the
    names of the persons to whom they belonged, and in what manner
    the same was disposed of, and to whom; with such vouchers for
    the same as you have taken. You will likewise inform us of the
    number of families brought off by your order, with the names of
    the heads of each family, as far as in your power, with any
    other particulars you may think necessary respecting the
    transportation and disposing of the same."


In January, 1777, the American prisoners in New York were paroled and
billeted on the inhabitants of Kings County, Congress agreeing to pay a
weekly stipend of two dollars for each for board.[59]

Colonel Graydon, in his memoirs, presents a very vivid picture of the
scenes and incidents connected with the sojourn of the prisoners amongst
the island farmers. He says that "the officers of Colonel Mayan's and
Colonel Sher's regiments were quartered at Flatbush. He, with another
officer, was placed in the house of Jacob Suydam." It was a large house,
with many additions erected at different times, with doubtless a strange
and weird appearance. He states that "they were civilly received, but
that their presence was not welcome to the Low Dutch, who did not like
to have their regular habits interfered with. Had they been sure of
receiving the two dollars a week, it might have reconciled them. They
were, however, a people who seemed thoroughly disposed to submit to any
power that might be imposed on them; and whatever might have been their
propensities at an earlier stage of the contest, they were now the
dutiful and loyal subjects of his Majesty George III. Their houses and
beds were clean, but their living was extremely poor. A sorry wash, made
up of a sprinkling of Bohea and the darkest sugar on the verge of
fluidity, with half-baked bread (fuel being amongst the scarcest
articles in Flatbush), and a little stale butter constituted our
breakfast. At our first coming a small piece of pickled beef was
occasionally boiled for dinner, but to the beef, which was soon
consumed, there succeeded _clippers_ or clams; and our unvaried supper
was supan or mush, sometimes with skimmed milk, but more generally
buttermilk blended with molasses, which was kept for weeks in a churn,
as swill is saved for hogs. I found it, however, after a little use,
very eatable, and supper soon became my best meal. The table company
consisted of the master of the house, Mr. Jacob Suydam, an old bachelor;
a young man, a shoemaker of the name of Rem Hegeman, married to Jacob's
niece, who with a mewling infant in her arms never failed to appear. A
black boy, too, was generally in the room; not as a waiter, but as a
sort of _enfant de maison_, who walked about and took post in the
chimney corner with his hat on, and occasionally joined in the
conversation. Rem Hegeman and Yonichy, his wife, gave themselves no
airs, nor was harmony with Uncle Jacob ever interrupted but once, when
soured a little he made a show of knocking down Lieutenant Forrest with
a pair of yarn stockings he had just drawn from his legs, as he sat in
the chimney corner one evening preparing for bed; but moments of
peevishness were allowable to our host, for we had been consuming his
provisions while he had never seen a penny of our money. The religion of
the Dutch, like their other habits, was unostentatious and plain; a
simple silent grace before meat prevailed at the table of Jacob Suydam.
When we were all seated, he suddenly clapped his hands together, threw
his head on one side, closed his eyes, and remained mute and motionless
for about a minute. His niece and nephew followed his example, but with
such an eager solicitude that the copied attitude should be prompt and
simultaneous as to give an air of absurdity to what otherwise might have
been very decent."[60]

Graydon refers to the peculiarities of the Dutch in their habits,
customs, and manners. One which seemed to strike him with considerable
force was the custom of never asking people to "sit down to the table,
but to sit 'by.'"

Judging from the Colonel's narrative, the American prisoners must have
had a good time at Flatbush. Although at times the enforced inactivity
was irksome, the prisoners were favored with the presence of many
estimable ladies who did much to render their forced stay agreeable.

Meanwhile, the Convention of Representatives held short sessions on the
5th and 6th of December, 1776, and again on the 11th of February, 1777,
when they resolved to adjourn to Kingston, which at once became the
capital of the State. On the 6th of March, a state constitution was
framed, and provision made for a temporary form of government by
electing a council of safety. Abraham Ten Broeck, of Albany, was
president of the Convention at the time of the passage of these
important measures. Theodorus Polhemus was the only member from Kings
County at this convention.

In accordance with the resolution passed April 20, 1777, providing for
an _ad interim_ government, a council of safety was appointed, and the
Convention of Representatives was dissolved on the 13th of May, 1777.
Owing doubtless to the disturbed condition of affairs in Kings County,
that county was not represented in the committee.

The Council of Safety, at its session on the 27th of June, in response
to the petition of Obadiah Jones and other refugees from Long Island,
reported the following resolutions:--

    _Resolved_, Thereby provided His Excellency Governor Trumbull
    shall approve thereof, Obadiah Jones, John Hulbart, and Thomas
    Dearing, or any two of them, do give permits to such refugees
    from Long Island as reside in Connecticut as they shall think
    proper, and at such times and under such restrictions as they
    may judge prudent, to pass to Long Island to get off their

    _Resolved_, That Obadiah Jones, John Hulbart, and Thomas
    Dearing, or any two of them, be, and they are hereby authorized
    and directed to remove, at the expense of this state, to the
    county of Dutchess, within the same, all such refugees from Long
    Island, now in Connecticut, as are unable to maintain
    themselves, and are willing so to be removed.

    _Resolved_, That one hundred pounds be advanced to the said
    gentlemen to enable them to execute the above resolutions; and
    that they account with the auditor-general of this state for the
    expenditure thereof.

    _Ordered_, That the treasurer of this state pay the said sum of
    one hundred pounds unto Mr. Paul Reeve, to be by him conveyed
    and delivered to said gentlemen or one of them.

    _Resolved_, That the persons so to be removed shall, on their
    arrival in Dutchess County, be under the care of and supplied
    with the necessaries by Mess. Abraham Schenck and Gerlim Van
    Veelon, commissioners for superintending and providing for such
    of the inhabitants of this state in the said county as have been
    driven from their habitations by the enemy.

Kings County was not represented at the first meeting of the new Senate
at Kingston in September. In the Assembly which met and organized,
William Boerum and Henry Williams represented Kings County. These
gentlemen, owing to the peculiar condition of affairs in Kings County,
and the impossibility of holding an election, were appointed by the
Convention, on May 8th, to represent the county. The members of the
Senate and Assembly for the counties of New York, Queens, Suffolk, and
Richmond, were appointed in like manner.

The Provincial Convention having instituted the office of
auditor-general, for the purpose of settling certain accounts, the
appointment to this office was given to Comfort Sands, July 24, 1776,
who held the place until March 23, 1782, when he resigned. In 1797 the
office was abolished, and that of comptroller was instituted in its
place. Comfort Sands, who filled the important position of auditor,
deserves more than a passing notice. During his life he took a deep
interest in Brooklyn affairs, and owned considerable property in the
village. He purchased a part of the property belonging to John Rapalje,
whose wife, we have seen, sent her negro servant to apprise General Howe
of the premeditated retreat from Brooklyn on the 29th of August, 1776.
Rapalje's property extended along the water front from the Ferry to the
Navy Yard. He was an influential man, and during colonial times had
frequently been a member of the Assembly. When the war commenced in
earnest, his family became identified with the Tory element. A bill of
attainder was passed against him October 27, 1779, and he was banished.
When the British occupied Long Island, he returned to his home,
remaining until 1783, when, with his family, he removed to England. His
estates having been confiscated, Comfort and Joshua Sands, on the 13th
of July, 1784, purchased 160 acres of them, bordering on the East River,
for, £12,450, paid in state scrip.

It might be well to state here that John Rapalje was clerk of Kings
County in 1775, and continued in that office during the British
control. His successor, Jacob Sharp, Jr., did not assume the office
until 1784. When Rapalje removed to England, he carried with him the
town records. These documents were very valuable.

A few years after the declaration of peace Rapalje's granddaughter
visited America, hoping to regain possession of her father's land, upon
the technical point that the confiscation had taken place subsequent to
the treaty of peace. The advice of counsel was taken, whose opinions
were adverse to her claim, and she abandoned the effort and returned to
Europe. When Mrs. Weldon, the granddaughter, came to America, she
brought with her the missing records, and sought to sell and dispose of
them for $10,000. The inhabitants looked upon the price as fabulous, and
refused to accept the offer. Had they been wise, they would have
asserted their rights, and by legal proceedings secured the property,
which belonged to the town. By reason of the abstraction of these
documents a hiatus has been created in the history, and much valuable
information lost. The documents were taken back to England. Even at this
late date they probably might be secured from the descendants of the

Comfort Sands, who by this purchase became interested in Brooklyn, was
born at Sands Point, L. I., in 1748. After serving a clerkship he went
into business on his own account in 1769. When he resigned his position
as auditor, he resumed business in New York. Having served in the
Provincial Congress, at the close of the war he was again called into
service. He was a member of the Assembly in 1784-85, 1788, and 1789.

Egbert Benson, of Queens County, was appointed attorney-general by an
ordinance of the Constitutional Convention, May 8, 1777. The council of
appointment afterwards ratified the act, and on the 15th of January,
1778, granted and issued to him a commission. He filled this responsible
trust until May 14, 1789. Egbert Benson was a man of culture. He
graduated at Columbia College in 1765. He was a classmate of Robert R.
Livingston, with whom he was ever on intimate terms. They served
together in the different conventions for the common cause. He was
subsequently judge of the New York Supreme Court, and justice of the
United States Circuit Court, New York.

The treaty of peace between the American and British commissioners was
signed on September 3, 1783. On November 25, following, the British
troops formally evacuated New York and Brooklyn, and the flagstaff of
the Pierrepont mansion on the Heights, which had been used for signaling
during the battle of Brooklyn, once more floated the American flag.


[1] See appendix in second volume for explanation of system of Dutch
family names.

[2] _American Ancestry_, vol. v., 1890.

[3] _A History of Long Island, from its First Settlement by Europeans,
to the year 1845, with Special Reference to its Ecclesiastical
Concerns._ By Nathaniel S. Prime. 1845.

[4] Richard M. Bayles, in _Long Island Magazine_, September, 1893.

[5] At the time of the discovery the Iroquois, or League of the Five
Nations, claimed to have subdued and mastered all the Indian tribes from
the Atlantic to the Mississippi. The Iroquois occupied in particular the
middle and upper region of New York State. The earliest of the general
histories of this remarkable confederacy was written by Cadwallader
Colden, who died on Long Island in 1776.

[6] _New York Historical Society's Collections_, vol. iii. p. 324.

[7] _Antiquities of Long Island_, p. 29.

[8] Among Brooklyn's manufactures in recent years rope-making has taken
a prominent place.

[9] _A History of the City of Brooklyn, including the Old Town and
Village of Brooklyn, the Town of Bushwick, and the Village and City of
Williamsburgh._ By Henry R. Stiles. 1867.

[10] Van Twiller.

[11] _Address before Long Island Historical Society_, 1880.

[12] "The Ladye Moodye, a wise and anciently religious woman, being
taken with the error of denying baptism to infants, was dealt with by
many of the elders and others, and admonished by the church of Salem
(whereof she was a member); but persisting still, and to avoid further
trouble, etc., she removed to the Dutch against the advice of her
friends."--_Governor Winthrop's Journal._

[13] Also described as a Council of Eight.

[14] The function of the schepen resembled that of the squire or petty
justice, particularly in communities so small as not to have a

[15] By the wording of contracts dated November 22, 1646 (New York Col.
MSS. ii. 152), it appears that Teunissen was called "Schout of
Breuckelen" before this date.

[16] As we have seen, Rapalje, who made one of the earliest purchases
(1636), did not begin living on his Wallabout farm until probably 1655.

[17] "No other figure of Dutch, nor indeed of Colonial days is so well
remembered; none other has left so deep an impress on Manhattan history
and tradition as this whimsical and obstinate, but brave and gallant old
fellow, the kindly tyrant of the little colony. To this day he stands in
a certain sense as the typical father of the city."--Theodore Roosevelt,
_New York_, p. 26.

[18] Bayard Tuckerman, _Peter Stuyvesant_, p. 62.

[19] Stiles, _History of Brooklyn_, vol. i. p. 229.

[20] "Among the Dutch settlers the art of stone-cutting does not appear
to have been used until within comparatively a few years, with but few
exceptions, and their old burying-grounds are strewn with rough
head-stones which bear no inscriptions; whereas the English people,
immediately on their settlement, introduced the practice of perpetuating
the memories of their friends by inscribed stones. Another reason for
not finding any very old tombstones in the Dutch settlements is that
they early adopted the practice of having family burying-places on their
farms, without monuments, and not unfrequently private burials, both of
which the Governor and Colonial Legislature, in 1664 and 1684, deemed
of sufficient importance to merit legislative interference, and
declared that all persons should be publicly buried in some parish
burial-place."--Furman, _Antiquities of Long Island_, p. 155.

[21] _New York_, p. 29.

[22] A Dutch war-ship sold twenty negroes into the colony of Virginia in
August, 1619.

[23] The call of the Breuckelen Church to Dominie Selyns was by him
accepted, and approved by the Classis of Amsterdam, February 16,
1660(-61).--_Brooklyn Church Records._

[24] Mr. Campbell and other recent writers, actuated doubtless by some
resentment toward the complacency of New England, have unquestionably
exaggerated in certain respects the essential position of Holland in
educational advancement, and offered a somewhat stronger plea for the
leadership of the Dutch in popular education on this continent than a
strictly judicial examination of the case seems to justify; but there
can be no reasonable doubt in the minds of impartial students that
serious misconceptions have existed, and that these justify the
championship of the Dutch, of which Mr. Campbell's _The Puritan in
Holland, England, and America_ is so brilliant an example. The early
claims for English and for Puritan educational traditions not only
ignored but excluded the Dutch, and it was inevitable that the effort to
do justice to Holland's remarkable services for popular education should
result in occasional overstatement.

[25] _Democracy in Europe_, vol. ii. pp. 67-72.

[26] _Public School Pioneering in New York and Massachusetts._

[27] _New York Colonial Documents_, vol. i. p. 112.

[28] The river farm, which included the "Kiekout" bluff, is first found
in the possession of Jean Meserole, who came from Picardy, France, in
1663, and from whom is descended Gen. Jeremiah V. Meserole, President of
the Williamsburgh Savings Bank, first colonel of the Forty-seventh
Regiment, N. G. S. N. Y.

[29] So named from Dirck Volckertsen, surnamed "the Norman," to whom was
granted in 1645 land on the East River between Bushwick Creek and
Newtown Creek, now within the seventeenth ward of the city of Brooklyn,
and still known as Greenpoint. Volckertsen lived in a stone house on the
northerly side of Bushwick Creek near the East River. The house was
standing until after the middle of the present century.

[30] Early section names within the township of Breuckelen were Gowanus,
Red Hook (lying west of the Ferry), the Ferry, Wallabout, Bedford,
Cripplebush. All of these, save the last, have survived as designations
of regions in the present city.

[31] When, in 1660, it was deemed necessary to prepare defenses for
Breuckelen and New Utrecht against attacks from the Indians, De Sille
was directed to make the necessary surveys. Under Stuyvesant De Sille
held the important position of attorney-general. He was a man of ability
and influence. The position he held under Stuyvesant demonstrated the
fact that his attainments were appreciated. He was born in Arnheim. His
ancestors were natives of Belgium, who fled to Holland to escape
religious persecution, and whose devotion to the interests of their
adopted country was manifested on many occasions in the noble stand
taken by the Dutch Republic to maintain its independence against the
Spanish invasion. He came to New Netherland in 1653, commissioned by the
West India Company to reside at New Amsterdam, and by his counsel aid
and assist the Governor in his duties. He was directed to give his
advice on all subjects relating to the interests of the colony. It is
said that he built the first house in New Utrecht. It was at his house
that the brave General Woodhull, the hero of Long Island, who gave his
life for his country, breathed his last.--S. M. O.

[32] _Journal of a Voyage to New York and a Tour in Several of the
American Colonies in 1679-80._ By Jasper Dankers and Peter Sluyter of
Wiewerd, in Friesland. Translated from the original manuscript in Dutch
for the Long Island Historical Society, and edited by Henry C. Murphy,
Foreign Corresponding Secretary of the Society. Brooklyn, 1867.

[33] "No man has been more maligned or misunderstood than Jacob Leisler.
Historians have deliberately misjudged him, drawing their conclusions
from the biased reports of the few aristocrats who hated or the English
officials who despised him. Jacob Leisler was one of the earliest of
American patriots. His brief and stormy career as Provincial Governor of
New York was marked by mistakes of judgment, but his mistakes were more
than overbalanced by his foresight and statesmanship. He acted as one of
the people for the people. He summoned a popular convention, arranged
the first mayoralty election by the people, attempted the first step
toward colonial union by endeavoring to interest the several provinces
in a continental congress, and sought to cripple the chief adversary of
the English in America, France, by the masterly stroke of an invasion of
Canada. That he failed is due to the jealousy, the timidity, and the
short-sightedness of his fellow colonists. But he builded wiser than he
knew; for, though he died a martyr to colonial jealousy and English
injustice, his bold and patriotic measures awoke the people to a
knowledge of their real power, and prepared them for that spirit of
resistance to tyranny which a century later made them a free
republic."--Elbridge S. Brooks, _The Story of New York_, p. 74.

[34] "The government of the colony was at once put on the basis on which
it stood until the outbreak of the Revolution. There was a governor
appointed by the king, and a council likewise appointed; while the
assembly was elected by the freeholders. The suffrage was thus limited
by a strict property qualification. Liberty of conscience was granted to
all Protestant sects, but not to Catholics; and the Church of England
was practically made the state church, though the Dutch and French
congregations were secured in the rights guaranteed them by treaty. It
was, then, essentially a class or aristocratic government,--none the
less so because to European eyes the little American colony seemed both
poor and rude."--Theodore Roosevelt, _New York_, p. 71.

[35] There are varying views of Kidd's character and career. Thus
Berthold Fernow writes in the _Narrative and Critical History of
America_ (vol. v. p. 195): "To-day that which was meted out to Kidd
might hardly be called justice; for it seems questionable if he had ever
been guilty of piracy."

[36] The assessment rolls of the five Dutch towns in 1675 showed the
following proportions in the number of persons assessed: Breuckelen, 60;
Midwout, 54; Boswyck (Bushwick) 36; Amersfoort, 35; New Utrecht, 29.

[37] The peculiar methods employed by the citizens of Brooklyn at that
time in electing their officials cannot be better illustrated than by
the presentation of a report of one of those town meetings as follows:--

    Att a towne meeting held this 29th day of April, 1699, at
    Breucklyn, by order of Justice Michael Hanssen ffor to chose
    town officers ffor to order all townes business and to deffend
    theire limits and bounds, and to lay out some part thereoff in
    lotts, to make lawes and orders ffor the best off the
    inhabitants, and to raise a small tax ffor to defray the towne
    charges, now being or hereafter to come, to receive the townes
    revenues, and to pay the townes debts, and that with the advice
    off the justices off the said towne standing the space or time
    off two years. Chosen ffor that purpose by pluralitie of votes.
    Benjamin Vande Water, Joras Hanssen, Jan Garritse Dorlant.

      By order off inhabitants aforesaid,
        J. VANDE WATER, _Clarke_.

[38] Furman's _Notes_, p. 45.

[39] The total assessment value of real and personal estate in Brooklyn
in 1706 was £3,122 12d, or about $15,610, and the tax on the same was
£41 3s 7-1/2d, or about $205. The tax levied in the County of Kings was
£201 16s 1-1/2d, or about $1,005.

[40] The description of this road in the records is as follows: "One
common highway to begin ffrom the house of Jurian Collier to the new
mill of Nicholas Brower, now sett upon Gowanus Mill neck soe called, as
the way is now in use, along said neck to said mill to be of two rods
wide, and that there shall be a landing place by said mill in the most
convenient place ffor the transportation of goods, and the commodious
passing of travellers; and said highway and landing place to be, remaine
and continue forever."

[41] For comment on Brooklyn's claims, see appendix.

[42] To DeLancey belongs the honor of signing the charter of Columbia
College in New York, first known as Kings College, an institution in
which Brooklynites have always taken a deep interest. Among her
graduates from Brooklyn may be mentioned the ex-mayor, ex-senator, and
ex-minister to the Hague, Henry C. Murphy, who graduated in 1830. The
Hon. Alexander McCue, of the City Court, was the valedictorian of the
class of 1845. Ex-supervisor William J. Osborne, Henry C. Murphy, Jr.,
George I. Murphy, Richard M. De Mille, John Lockwood, of Lockwood's
Academy; George W. Collard, the erudite professor of languages in the
Polytechnic; Stewart L. Woodford, and Edgar M. Cullen all graduated from
Columbia. Beside these might be mentioned John L. Lefferts, Van Brunt
Wyckoff, ex-mayor Edward Copeland, who graduated in 1809; the late
Samuel E. Johnson, ex-county judge, who graduated in 1834, and the late
Rev. Stephen H. Meeker, who for fifty years was pastor of the old
Bushwick Church. Among the clergy who enjoyed her academic shades might
be mentioned the late Rev. Dr. Dwight, who for many years was pastor of
the Joralemon Street Dutch Church; the Right Rev. Henry Ustick
Onderdonk, at one time rector of St. Ann's Church and subsequently
bishop of Pennsylvania; Rev. Dr. Samuel Roosevelt Johnson, formerly
rector of St. John's Church; the Right Rev. Dr. George F. Seymour,
formerly rector of St. John's Church and now bishop of Springfield. Of
the legal profession who have graduated from her law school might be
mentioned William H. Ingersoll, Edward B. Barnum, Henry Broadhead, Abel
Crook, William Leggett Whiting, Philip L. Wilson, Henry S. Bellows,
Merwin Rushmore, F. A. Ward, D. D. Terry, L. Bradford Prince, Daniel W.
Northup, and a host of other well known members of the bar. Of the
medical profession the number from Brooklyn is legion.--S. M. O.

We may now add to the roll a conspicuous name, that of ex-mayor Seth
Low, now president of Columbia.

[43] Kings, Queens, and part of Suffolk.

[44] _History of the City of Brooklyn_, vol. i. p. 243.

[45] The school remained closed until 1777.

[46] Onderdonk, _Kings County_, p. 120.

[47] The wife of John Rapalje was a well-known Tory. So far did she
manifest her predilections in favor of the Tory cause as at all times to
boldly proclaim her sympathies for the King. At the time the act was
passed prohibiting the use of tea, she, with her proverbial pertinacity
and obstinacy, persisted in its use, and so continued while the American
army was in the occupation of Brooklyn. On this account she became a
marked woman. Her conduct caused much discussion, and drew down upon her
the umbrage of the Whig militia, who fired a cannon ball into her home
while she was drinking her favorite beverage. The ball passed close to
her head and lodged in the wall. This action not only seriously annoyed
the lady, but served to stir within her bosom the spirit of revenge, and
she eagerly awaited an opportunity to gratify her spite. When she saw
the preparations for the retreat of the army her heart rejoiced, for she
fancied that the moment had arrived when she could mete out punishment
to her enemies.--S. M. O.

[48] Force's 5th series, vol. ii. p. 107.

[49] Force, 5th series, vol. ii. p. 167.

[50] Force, 5th series, vol. ii. p. 399.

[51] Force, 5th series, vol. iii. p. 1057.

[52] _Corporation Manual of Brooklyn_, 1866.

[53] Onderdonk, _Kings County_, sec. 829.

[54] Onderdonk, _Kings County_, sec. 830.

[55] Onderdonk, _Kings County_, sec. 830.

[56] Rev. Dr. S. R. Johnson's _Memorial Discourse on General Jeremiah

[57] _Journal of Provincial Convention_, p. 567.

[58] So in the original _Journal of Committee of Safety_, p. 671.

[59] Onderdonk's _Revolutionary Incidents_, sec. 832.

[60] Onderdonk's _Incidents of Kings County_, p. 174.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Simple typographical errors were corrected.

Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant
preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.

The "appendix" to which reference occasionally is made appears in Volume

"[Illustration]" used by Transcribers to represent actual illustrations
in source book; other words in [square brackets] were printed that way
in source book.

Contractions originally printed as superscripts are represented here
by preceding them with the caret symbol, e.g., W^m (William).

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A History of Brooklyn and Kings County - in two volumes, Volume I." ***

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