The particulars of the English conquest in 1664, and the transactions
afterwards respecting the inhabitants on Delaware; The arrival of Franois
Lovelace, as governor, part of his administration, and description of the
King Charles the second, considering of what ill consequence a Dutch colony
must be in the heart of his dominions, and determining to dispossess them,
gave a patent to his brother the duke of York, for a great part of North-
America, in which were included the provinces New-York, New-Jersey, and
all other lands thereunto appertaining, with powers of government: And
though his reign was not enterprizing, the Duke's concern in this
property, and the aversion of both to the Dutch 1 made the reduction of
this country the first military stroke. Before there was any formal
declaration of war with Holland, Sir Robert Carre, was sent to America,
with a small fleet and some land forces, to put the Duke in possession
of the country; this appears by the date of the commission given on this
occasion, which was the 26th of April 1664, and the war with Holland was
not declared 'till some months after.
Thus the Dutch here, being unprovided for defence against a royal squadron
and land forces, rendered the expedition safe and easy, Carre had joined
with him in commission, Col. Richard Nicolls, George Cartwright, and
Samuel Meverike. They arrived at Hudson's River the latter end of 1664, at
which time the Dutch could have but very little notice 2 of the designed
rupture: The land forces consisting of three hundred men, were under the
command of Col. Nicolls. The Dutch governor, an approved soldier, who had
lost a leg in the service of the states, being unprepared for this attack,
and knowing perhaps the defects of the Dutch title, at least their present
incapacity of defence, was after some time prevailed on to surrender
quietly. The papers and messages that passed between him and the English
on this occasion, will give the reader a full insight into the manner and
terms of this surrender.
When the English arrived at New-Amsterdam, a proclamation was made and
spread through the country of the design of their coming, conceived in the
"By his Majesty's command.
"Forasmuch as his majesty hath sent us by commission, under his great seal
of England, amongst other things, to expel or to reduce to his majesty's
obedience, all such foreigners as have without his majesty's leave and
consent, seated themselves amongst any of his dominions in America, to the
prejudice of his majesty's subjects and the diminution of his royal
dignity: We his majesty's commissioners do declare and promise, that
whosoever of what nation soever, will upon knowledge of this proclamation,
acknowledge and testify themselves to submit to his majesty's government,
as his good subjects ought to do, shall be protected by his majesty's laws
and justice, and peaceably enjoy whatsoever God's blessing and their own
honest industry have furnished them with; and all other privileges with
his majesty's English subjects: We have caused this to be published, that
we might prevent all inconveniencies to others if it were possible,
however, to clear ourselves from the charge of all those miseries that
anyway may befall such as live here, and will not acknowledge his majesty
for their sovereign: Whom God preserve."
The Dutch governor Stuyvesant, upon notice of the arrival of the English in
the Bay, dispatched the following letter,
"Right honourable Sirs,
"Whereas we have received intelligence, that about three days since, there
arrived an English man of war, or frigate in the Bay of the North River,
belonging to the New Netherlands, and since that three more are arrived,
by what order or pretence is yet unknown to us; and having received
various reports concerning their arrival upon this coast, and not being
apt to entertain any prejudice intended against us, have by order of the
commander in chief of the New Netherlands, thought it convenient and
requisite, to send the worshipful the bearer hereof, that is to say, the
worshipful John Declyer, one of the chief council, the reverend John
Megapolensis, minister, Paul Leendelvandergrift, mayor of this town, and
have joined with them Mr. Samuel Megapolensis, doctor in physick, whom by
these presents I have appointed and ordered, that with the utmost respect
and civility, they do desire and entreat of the commander in chief of the
aforesaid men of war or frigates, the intent and meaning of their
approach, and continuing in the harbour of Naijacly, without giving any
notice to us, or first acquainting us with their design, which action hath
caused much admiration in us, having not received timely knowledge of the
same, which in respect to the government of the place, they ought, and
were obliged to have done; wherefore upon the considerations aforesaid, it
is desired and entreated from the general of the aforesaid men of war or
frigates, as also from our before deputed agents, whom we desire your
honours civily to treat, and to give and render unto them, the occasion of
your arrival here upon this coast, and you will give an opportunity (that
after our hearty salutes and wellwishes of your health,) to pray, that you
may be blessed in eternity, and always remain, right honourable sirs, your
honours affectionate friend and servant,
"By order and appointment of the governor and commander in chief of the
council of New Netherlands, the 19-29 of August, 1664.
"CORNELIUS RUYVEN, Secretary."
To this letter Col. Nicolls sent the answer following.
"To the honourable the governor and chief council at the Manhatans,3
"Right worthy Sirs,
"I received a letter by some worthy persons entrusted by you, bearing date
the 19-29th of August, desiring to know the intent of the approach of the
English frigates, in return of which I think fit to let you know, that his
majesty of Great-Britain, whose right and title to these parts of America
is unquestionable, well knowing how much it derogates from his crown and
dignity, to suffer any foreigners how near soever they be allied, to usurp
a dominion, and without his majesty's royal consent, to inhabit in these
or any other his majesty's territories; hath commanded me in his name, to
require a surrender of all such forts, towns or places of strength, which
are now possessed by the Dutch under your commands; and in his majesty's
name I do demand the town situate upon the island commonly known by the
name of Manhatoes, with all the forts thereunto belonging, to be rendered
unto his majestys obedience and protection unto my hands: I am further
commanded to assure you, and every respective inhabitant of the Dutch
nation, that his majesty being tender of the effusion of christian blood,
doth by these presents, confirm and secure to every man, his estate, life
and liberty, who shall readily submit to his government; and all those who
shall oppose his majesty's gracious intentions, must expect all the
miseries of a war which they bring upon themselves. I shall expect your
answer by those gentlemen, Colonel George Cartwright, one of his majesty's
commissioners in America, Captain Robert Needham, Capt. Edward Groves, and
Mr. Thomas Delavall, whom you will entertain and treat with such civility
as is due to them and yourselves, and you shall receive the same from,
worthy sirs, your very humble servant,
"Dated on board his majesty's ship the Guinea, riding before Naijack, the
20-30 of August 1664."
Stuyvesant now fully informed of the English general's business from
himself, returned in answer:
"That they were so confident of the discretion and equity of his majesty
of Great-Britain, that were his majesty truly informed of their right, he
would not have given such an order: That the Dutch came not into these
provinces by any violence, but by virtue of a commission from the states
general in 1614, when they settled the North River, near fort Orange, and
to avoid the invasions and massacres commonly committed by the savages;
they built a little fort there: That afterwards in the year 1662, and at
the present time, by virtue of a commission and grant to the governor of
the West-India company, and another in the year 1656 of the South River,
to the burgomasters of Amsterdam, they had peaceably governed and enjoyed
these provinces: That they were the first discoverers, had purchased the
land of the natives, princes of the country; and had continued in the
uninterrupted possession thereof: That they made no doubt that if his
majesty of Great-Britain, were truly informed of these passages, he was
too judicious to give any order that the places and fortresses in their
hands should be given up, especially at a time when so strict a friendship
subsisted between his majesty and the states general: That the offering
any act of hostility and violence against them, would be an infraction of
the treaty, which subsisted between his majesty of Great-Britain and the
states general: That as to the threats in the conclusion of general
Nicoll's letter, he had nothing to answer, only that they feared nothing
but what God should lay upon them."
Col. Nicolls, receiving this answer, found nothing was to be done by delay;
and being resolved to assert his master's right in the best manner he
could, directed an order to Capt. Hide to this effect:
"Whereas the governor and council of the Dutch plantation upon the
Manhatoes, in Hudson's River, have in answer to a summons returned their
resolutions to maintain the right and title of the states general and West-
India company of Holland, to their forts, towns and plantations in these
parts of America: I do therefore in prosecution of his majesty's service,
recommend to Captain Hugh Hide, commander in chief of the squadron, to
prosecute with the advice of the captains under his command, his majesty's
claim and interest, by all ways and means as they shall think most
expedient, for the speedy reducing the Dutch under his majesty's
obedience, and for so doing this shall be their warrant. Given under my
hand the 24th of August 1664, on board his majesty's
ship the Guinea."
It appearing by this order, and preparations in consequence of it, that the
English were not come for amusement only; Stuyvesant thought it best before
matters were carried too far, to propose one expedient more; this he did
by letter to Col. Nicolls, the 4th September.
"Upon our letter the day before yesterday, and upon the communication by
word of mouth, of our deputies, touching the just right and possession;
without dispute of my lords, the states general of the united provinces,
as also of our discovery of the news from Holland; which makes us not to
doubt but that the king of Great-Britain, and my lords the said states,
are at this hour agreed upon their limits: this had given us hope my lord
to avoid all dispute; that you would have desisted from your design, or at
least have given time that we might have heard from our masters; from
which expectation we have been frustrated by the report of our said
deputies, who have assured us by word of mouth, that you persist on your
summons and letter, of 20-30 August, upon which we have no other thing to
answer, but that following the order of my lords the states general, we
are obliged to defend our place; however that in regard that we make no
doubt, that upon your assault and our defence, there will be a great deal
of blood spilt; and besides it is to be feared greater difficulty may
arise hereafter; we have thought fit to send unto you, Mr. John de Decker,
counsellor of state; Cornelius Van Riven, secretary and receiver;
Cornelius Steenwick, mayor; and James Coussea, sheriff; to the end of
finding some means to hinder and prevent the spilling of innocent blood,
which we esteem my lord not to be your intention; praying that you will
please to appoint a place and hour, and send or cause your deputies to
meet there, with full commission to treat and seek out the means of a good
accommodation; and in the mean time to cause all hostility to cease: Upon
which, after recommending you to the protection of God, we remain, my
lord, your thrice affectionate friend and servant,
To this Col. Nicoll's replyed, in a letter directed to the honourable the
governor of the Manhatoes, as follows:
"Right worthy sir,
"In answer to yours of the 4th of September, new stile, by the hands of
John de Decker, counsellor of state, Cornelius Van Riven, secretary and
receiver, Cornelius Steenwick, burgo master, and James Causseau, sheriff,
I do think it once more agreeable to the kings intentions, and my duty to
his strict commands, to propose and receive all ways and means of avoiding
the effusion of christian blood; of which sincere intention, I suppose you
are already fully satisfied, and shall have no cause to doubt it for the
future; as also that I do insist upon my first summons and message to you,
for a speedy surrender of the towns and forts now under your command, into
his majesty's obedience and protection. You may easily believe that in
respect of greater difficulties which are ready to attend you, I should
willingly comply with your proposition to appoint deputies, place and time
to treat of a good accommodation; but unless you had also given me to
know, that by such a meeting you do intend to treat upon articles of
surrender, I do not see just cause to defer the pursuance of his majesty's
commands, my first demand and my last answer, of reducing your towns and
forts to his majesty's obedience; which, why you call acts of hostility, I
see no reason: However, since you have given yourself and messengers this
new trouble. I shall also take this fresh occasion, to assure you that I
heartily with health, peace and prosperity, to every inhabitant of your
plantations, and particularly to yourself, as being your affectionate
"Gravesend, 25th August 1664."
The Dutch governor finding Nicolls grew more resolute in his enterprize,
and the country in general for him, after having tried, in vain, what
other pacifick expedients he could, at last agreed to a surrender of the
fort and province under his government, and commisaioners were authorized
to treat upon the articles; those on the part of the English were, Sir
Robert Carre, knt., Colonel George Cartwright, John Winthrop, Esq.,
governor of Connecticut, and Samuel Willis, one of his 2 council, Capt.
Thomas Clarke, and Capt. John Punctwon, commissioners from the general
court of the Massachusetts, the persons named by governor Stuyvesant were,
John de Decker, Nicholas Varlett, commissary, concerning matters of
traffick, Samuel Megapolensis, Cornelius Steenwick, Stephen Courtland, and
The articles of this treaty as they are signed and confirmed by Col.
Nicolls and governor Stuyvesant, and subscribed by the commissioners, bear
date the 27th of August 1664 old stile, and are as follows:
"1. We consent that the states general, or the West India company, shall
freely enjoy all farms and houses, except such as are in the forts, and
that within six months they shall have free liberty to transport all such
arms and ammunition, as now do belong to them, or else they shall be paid
"2. All publick houses shall continue for the uses which now they are for.
"3. All people shall still continue free dennizens, and enjoy their lands,
houses, goods, ships wheresoever they are within the country, and dispose
of them as they please.
"4. If any inhabitant have a mind to remove himself, he shall have a year
and six weeks from this day to remove himself, wife, children, servants,
goods, and to dispose of his lands here.
"5. If any officer of state or publick minister of state have a mind to
go for England, they shall be transported freight free in his majesty's
frigates, when those frigates return thither.
"6. It is consented to that any people may freely come from the
Netherlands, and plant in this country, and that Dutch vessels may freely
come hither, and any of the Dutch may freely return home, or send any
sort of merchandize home in vessels of their own country.
"7. All ships from the Netherlands, or any other place and goods therein
shall be received here and sent hence after the manner which they formerly
were, before our coming hither for six months next ensuing.
"8. The Dutch shall enjoy the liberty of their consciences, in divine
worship and Dutch discipline.
"9. No Dutchman here, or Dutch ship here, shall upon any occasion be
pressed to serve in war against any Nation whatsoever.
"10. That the townsmen of the Manhatoes shall not have any soldiers
quartered upon them, without being satisfied and paid for them by the
officers, and that at this present, if the fort be not capable of lodging
all the soldiers, then the burgomaster by his officers, shall appoint some
houses capable to receive them.
"11. The Dutch here shall enjoy their own customs concerning their
"12. All publick writings and records, which concern the inheritances of
any people, or the reglement of the church or poor or orphans, shall be
carefully kept by those in whose hands now they are, and such writings as
particularly concern the states general, may at any time be sent to them.
"13. No judgment that hath passed any judicature here, shall be called in
question, but if any conceive he hath not had justice done him, if he
apply himself to the States General, the other party shall be obliged to
answer for the supposed injury.
"14. If any Dutch living here, shall at any time desire to travel or
traffick into England, or any place or plantation in obedience to his
majesty of England, or with the Indians, he shall have upon his request to
the governor, a certificate that he is a free Denizen of this place, and
liberty it to do.
"15. If it do appear that there is a publick engagement of debt, by the
town of Manhatoes, and a way agreed on for the satisfying of that
engagement, it is agreed that the same way proposed shall go on; and
that the engagements shall be satisfied.
"16. All inferior civil officers and magistrates, shall continue as they
now are, if they please, 'till the customary time of new election, and
then new ones to be chosen by themselves; provided that such new chosen
magistrates, shall take the oath of allegiance to his majesty of England,
before they enter upon their offices.
"17. All differences of contracts and bargains made before this day, by
any in this country, shall be determined according to the manner of the
"18. If it does appear that the West-India company, of Amsterdam, do
really owe any sums of money to any persons here; it is agreed that
recognition and other duties payable by ships going for the Netherlands
be continued for six months longer.
"19. The officers military and soldiers, shall march out with their arms,
drums beating, and colours flying, lighted matches; and, if any of them
will plant they shall have fifty acres of land set out to them; if any of
them will serve any as servants, they shall continue with all safety and
become free Denizens afterwards.
"20. If at any time hereafter the king of Great-Britain and the States of
the Netherland, do agree that this place and country be redelivered into
the hands of the said states, whensoever his majesty will send his
commands to redeliver it, it shall immediately be done.
"21. That the town of Manhatans shall choose deputies, and those deputies
shall have free voices in all publick affairs.
"22. That those who have any property in any houses in the fort of urania,
shall if they please, slight the fortifications there, and then enjoy all
their houses as all people do where there is no fort.
"23. If there be any soldiers that will go into Holland, and if the
company of West India in Amsterdam, or any private persons here, will
transport them into Holland, then they shall have a safe passport from
Col. Richard Nicolls, deputy governor under his royal highness, and the
other commissioners, to defend the ships that shall transport such
soldiers and all the goods in them from any surprizal or act of hostility
to be done by any of his majesty's ships or subjects.
"24. That the copies of the king's grant to his royal highness, and the
copy of his royal highness's commission to Col. Richard Nicolls, testified
by two commissioners more and Mr. Winthrop, to be true copies, shall be
delivered to the honourable Mr. Stuyvesant, the present governor, on
Monday next by eight of the clock in the morning, at the old Milne, and
these articles consented to and signed by Col. Richard Nicolls, deputy
governor to his royal highness, and that within two hours after the fort
and town called New Amsterdam, upon the island of Manhatoes, shall be
delivered into the hands of the said Col. Richard Nicolls, by the service
of such as shall be by him thereunto deputed by his hand and seal."
The articles agreed on, the fort and city of New-Amsterdam, were
surrendered. Some of the houses were then built of brick and stone, and in
part covered with red and black tile, and the land being high, it made an
agreeable prospect to those that visited it from the sea; Most of the
Dutch inhabitants remained, and took the oaths to the English government;
and they and their posterity have been loyal subjects ever since.4
Thirteen days after the surrender of New Amsterdam, Col. Nicolls, marched
up the country to Orange fort, and having taken it without much
resistance, he gave it the name of Albany, the duke of York's Scotch
title: But previous to the taking of this fort, the colonel and other
commissioners sent Sir Robert Carre with the ships under his command, on
an expedition into Delaware bay and river, to reduce the inhabitants
there. To this end they granted him their commission:
"Whereas we are informed that the Dutch have seated themselves at Delaware
Bay, on his majesty of Great-Britain's territories, without his knowledge
and consent, and that they have fortified themselves there, and drawn a
great trade thither, and being assured that if they be permitted to go on,
the gaining of this place will be of small advantage to his majesty: We
his majesty's commissioners, by virtue of his majesty's commission and
instructions to us given, have advised and determined to endeavour to
bring that place and all strangers there, in obedience to his majesty, and
by these do order and appoint that his majesty's frigates, the Guinea, and
the William and Nicholas, and all the soldiery which are not in the fort,
shall with what speed they conveniently can go thither, under the command
of Sir Robert Carre, to reduce the same, willing and commanding all
officers at sea and land and all soldiers to obey the said Sir Robert
Carre during this expedition. Given under our hands and seals, at the fort
in New-York, upon the isle of Manhatoes, the third day of September, 1664.
With this commission, instructions were delivered [to] Carre, respecting
the manner in which he was to conduct on his arrival in the bay of
"Instructions for Sir Robert Carre, for the reducing of Delaware bay, and
settling the people there, under his majesty's obedience.
"When you are come near unto the fort, which is possessed by the Dutch,
you shall send your boat on shore, to summons the governor and inhabitants
to yield obedience to his majesty, as the rightful sovereign of that tract
of land; and let him and them know, that all the planters shall enjoy
their farms, houses, land, goods and chattels, with the same priviledges,
and upon the same terms which they do now possess them; only that they
change their masters, whether they be the West-India company, or the city
of Amsterdam. To the Swedes you shall remonstrate their happy return under
a monarchical government, and his majesty's good inclinations to that
nation, and to all men, who shall comply with his majesty's rights and
titles in Delaware, without force of arms.
"That all cannon, arms and ammunition which belongs to the government,
shall remain to his majesty.
"That the acts of parliament shall be the rule for future trading.
"That all people may enjoy liberty of conscience.
"That for six months next ensuing, the same magisstrates shall continue in
their offices, only that they and all others in authority must take the
oath of allegiance to his majesty, and all publick acts be made in his
"If you find you cannot reduce the place by force, or upon these
conditions, you may add such as you find necessary on the place; but if
those, nor force, will prevail, then you are to dispatch a messenger to the
governor of Maryland, with a letter to him; and request his assistance,
and of all other English who live near the Dutch plantations.
"Your first care (after reducing the place) is to protect the inhabitants
from injuries, as well as violence of the soldiers; which will be easily
effected, if you settle a course for weekly or daily provisions by
agreement with the inhabitants; which shall be satisfied to them, either
out of the proffits, customs or rents be longing to their present master,
or in case of necessity from hence.
"The laws for the present cannot be altered, as to the administration
of Justice between the parties.
"To my lord Baltimore's son you shall declare, and to all the English
concerned in Maryland, that his majesty hath, at his great expence, sent
his ships and soldiers to reduce all foreigners in those parts to his
majesty's obedience; and to that purpose only, you are employed: But
the reduction of the place being at his majesty's expence, you have
commands to keep possession thereof for his Majesty's own behoof and
right; and that you are ready to joyn the governor of Maryland, upon his
majesty's interest on all occasions; and that if Lord Baltimore doth
pretend right thereto by his patent, (which is a doubtful case) you are to
say, that you only keep possession 'till his majesty is informed and
satisfied otherwise. In other things, I must leave you to your discretion,
and the best advice you can get upon the place."
In pursuance of this commission, Carre soon set sail, with the ships under
his command. On his arrival against New-Castle, (then called New-Amstel)
the Dutch and Swedes, following the example of their capital, New-
Amsterdam, capitulated and surrendered their fort. The articles were
signed and sealed by the English commanding officer, and six of the
principal inhabitants of the place, on behalf of themselves, and others.
"Articles of agreement between the honourable Sir Robert Carre, knight, on
the behalf of his majesty of Great-Britain, and the burgo-masters, on
behalf of themselves, and all the Dutch and Swedes, inhabiting on Delaware
bay, and Delaware river.
"1. That all the burgesses and planters will submit "themselves to his
majesty, without any resistance.
"2. That whoever, or what nation soever, doth submit to his majesty's
authority, shall be protected in their estates, real and personal
whatsoever, by his majesty's laws and justice.
"3. That the present magistrates shall be continue in their offices, and
jurisdiction to exercise their civil power as formerly.
"4. That if any Dutchman or other person shall desire to depart from this
river, it shall be lawful for him so to do with his goods, within six
mouths after the date of these articles.
"5. That the magistrates and all the inhabitants (who are included in
these articles) shall take the oaths of allegiance to his majesty.
"6. That all people shall enjoy the liberty of their consciences, in
church discipline as formerly.
"7. That whoever shall take the oaths, is from that time a free Denizen,
and shall enjoy all the priviledges of trading into any of his majesty's
dominions, as freely as any Englishman, and may require a certificate for
"8. That the schout, the burgomaster, sherif, and other inferior
magistrates, shall use and exercise their customary power, in
administration of justice within their precincts for six months, or until
his majesty's pleasure is further known."
"Dated October 1st 1664."
New-Amsterdam, Orange Fort, and the inhabitants up Delaware, being
reduced, the whole country was in a manner in possession of the English;
and things being in a quiet posture about New-York, Nicolls was
commissioned the 24th of October, 1664, by Cartwright and Mevericke, to
repair to Delaware bay, for government of the place, by deputing such
officers civil and military, and taking such other measures as he should
think proper, until the kings pleasure was further known.5 Thus things
rested 'till 1668; when Nicolls and his council at New-York, gave the
following directions for a better settlement of the government on Delaware:
"That it is necessary to hold up the name and countenance of a garrison in
Delaware, with twenty men and one commission officer. "That the commission
officers shall undertake to provide all sorts of provision for the whole
garrison, at the rate of 5d. per day, viz. wholesome bread beer, pork,
pease or beef, that no just complaint be made of either: That the
soldiers, (so far as conveniently they may,) be lodged in the fort, and
keep the Stockadoes up in defence: that the civil government in the
respective plantations be continued 'till further orders. "That to prevent
all abuses or oppositions in civil magistrates, so often as complaint is
made, the commission officer Capt. Carre, shall call the scout, with Hans
Block, Israel Holme, Peter Rambo, Peter Cock, Peter Aldrick, or any two of
them, as councellors to advise, hear, and determine by the major vote,
what is just, equitable and necessary in the case and cases in question.
"That the same persons also, or any two or more of them, be called to
advise and direct what is best to be done in all cases of difficulty,
which may arise from the Indians, and to give their councel and orders
for the arming of the several plantations and planters who must obey and
attend their summons upon such occasion.
"That two thirds at least of the soldiers remain constantly in and about
New-Castle at all hours.
"That the fines or preminures and light offences, be executed with
moderation, though it is also necessary that ill men be punished in an
"That the commission officer Capt. Carre, in the determination of the
chief civil affairs, whereunto the temporary beforementioned councellors
are ordained shall have a casting voice where votes are equal.
"That the new appointed councellors are to take the oath to his royal
"That the laws of the government, established by his royal highness, be
shewed and frequently communicated to the said councellors and all others,
to the end that being therewith acquainted, the practice of them may also
in convenient time be established; which conduceth to the publick wellfare
and common Justice.
"That no offensive war be made against any Indians, before you receive
directions from the governor for your so doing.
"That in all matters of difficulty and importance, you must have recourse
by way of appeal, to the governor and council at New-York." These
instructions bore date the 21st of April, 1668; within two months
afterwards, the government at New-York received advice, that some of the
tribe of the Mantas Indians, nigh Delaware, had murdered the servants of
one Tomm. Peter Aldricks and Peter Rambo, arriving soon after, confirm'd
that news, and further inform'd the government, that the Indians in those
parts desir'd, there should be an absolute prohibition upon the whole
river, of selling strong liquor to the Indians generally; by which it
seems the late murders had probably been the consequence of a drunken
frolick; this is the more likely, as the whole body of the Indians in the
first settled part of the lands on Delaware, afterwards through a long
course of experience, manifested an open hospitable disposition to the
English, and were in the general, far from any designs to their prejudice.
The governor and colonel Lovelace wrote to Carre, authorizing him to
convene those joined with him in commission for the management of civil
affairs, and with their advice to make all necessary rules and give orders
for the government of both christians and Indians; and because those
murders, and the restraining the Indians from strong liquors, might be
attended with difficulties, Carre was ordered, after consulting the
Indians on the best method of proceeding, to send the state of the matter
to the council at New-York.
Another disturbance that soon followed took up their attention for a while,
and seemd likely to prove an affair of some consequence against the
new-establishd government, but was prevented by the vigilance of the
persons in administration. A Swede at Delaware, who gave out that he was
the son of Coningsmarke, the Sweedish general, went up and down from one
place to another, spreading rumours to the disturbance of civil peace and
the laws, intending thereby to make a party strong enough to raise an
insurrection, and if possible, throw off the English allegiance; to him
was associated Henry Coleman, one of the Finns, and an inhabitant at
Delaware: The last left a good habitation, cattle and corn, and was well
versed in the Indian language; as they both kept very much among the
Indians their designs were the more suspected. The government however,
ordered a proclamation, that if Coleman did not surrender himself, to
answer what should be objected against him in fifteen days, his estate
should be secured to the king's use; whether he came in appears not, but
the other being a vagrant, more effectual measures were used, so that he
was soon in custody; all the rest who had a hand in the plot, were by the
government at York, bound to give security to answer for their conduct,
and an account of their estates ordered to be taken: The governor in the
mean time tells Carre in his letter upon this occasion, "That as for the
poor deluded sort, I think the advice of their own countrymen is not to be
despised, who knowing their temper well, prescribed a method for keeping
them in order, which is severity, and laying such taxes on them as may not
give them liberty to entertain any other thoughts but how to discharge
them. - I perceive the little Domine hath played the trumpter to this
disorder; I refer the quality of his punishment to your direction."
"At a council held at New-York, October 18, 1669 (PRESENT:
The Governor, Thomas Delaval, Ralph Whitfield, Thomas Willet, secry.),
this affair being taken into consideration, it was adjudged that
Conningsmarke, commonly called the long Finne, deserv'd to die, yet in
regard that many concern'd with him in the insurrection, might also be
involv'd in the premunire, if the rigour of the law should be extended,
and amongst them diverse simple and ignorant people, it was thought fit to
order that the long Finne should be severely whipt, and stigmatized with
the letter R, with inscription in great letters on his breast, that he
received that punishment for rebellion, and after to be secured 'till sent
to Barbadoes or some other remote plantation to be sold."
It was further ordered, that the chief of his accomplices should forfeit
to the king, one half of their goods and chattels, and a smaller mulct
laid on the rest to be left at discretion of commissioners, appointed to
examine the matter. In pursuance of this sentence, the long Finne was
brought fettered from Delaware, and put prisoner in the state-house at
York, the 20th December, and there continued a year, when a warrant was
signed, and he, in pursuance of it, transported for sale to Barbadoes.
At this council also came under consideration, the case of an Indian, who
had committed a rape on a christian woman; the council ordered that he
should be put to death if he could be found, and that application be made
to the Sachems of his tribe, to deliver him up, that justice might be
executed upon him. He had been once taken and condemned to death by the
commissioners at Delaware, but broke gaol.
One Douglass at the Hoarkill, after this, gave the new settlers a
considerable disturbance by seditious practices, but he was taken, sent to
gaol, and afterwards from thence to York, where he had his trial, and was
sent to the eastward, with a caution not to return into the government any
In the month call February 1669, Francis Lovelace 6 being then governor, a
commission and letters Lovelace of instruction were sent to the Hoarkill,
authorizing Hermanus Fredericksen, to be schout, Slander Matson, Otto
Walgast, and William Cleason to be commissaries, who were to keep good
orders there, and to try all matters of difference under £.10 amongst
themselves; this seems to be intended to save them the trouble of going to
New-Castle upon every trifling occasion; but for all matters above £.10
they were to apply themselves to New York, and so for all criminals.
Governor Lovelace gave also an order to captain Martin Prieger, to receive
the customs for all European goods imported at the Hoarkill, and on the
furrs and peltry exported from thence, viz. £.10 per cent.
"Whereas I am given to understand, that all European goods imported at the
Hoarkill in Delaware bay did heretofore pay custom at the rate of £.10 per
cent. and all furrs and peltry exported from thence at the same rate,
which turned to some advantage towards the support of the government upon
mature advice and consideration had thereof, I have thought fit to renew
the former custom, and do therefore hereby order and appoint captain
Martin Preiger, who is a person well versed in the trade of those parts
and very well known thereto both the christians and the Indians to be
receiver and collector of the customs at the Hoarkill, where by himself or
his deputy he is to receive 10 per cent. of all European goods imported
there, whether coming from this place, New-Castle in Delaware, or any
other part; and ten per cent. also for all furrs or peltry exported from
thence, according to former custom and usage on that behalf; and all
persons whatsoever trading thither, or from thence to any other place, are
to take notice thereof, and to obey this my commission, under the penalty
of confiscation of their goods if they shall presume to do otherwise, the
said Capt. Prieger standing obliged, to be answerable here, for all such
customs as shall be received by himself or deputy there, of which he is to
render unto me a due and exact account." It was very early to impose such
an extraordinary clog upon trade as 10 per cent. and no doubt hard upon
the young settlers to pay it, and the reason given for doing it (namely
that it had been done before) seems not so well calculated to render the
payment easy as might have been contrived; probably the chief cause was
that hinted at in the governor's letter to Carre, to "keep them under by
taxes, that they might not have liberty to entertain any other thoughts
but how to discharge them." The daily exigencies of the government in
those precarious times afforded a better present plea, tho' of no force
for continuing it afterwards; but after all, the government then more
military than civil, probably but little thought of a necessity to bestow
colouring upon their proceedings, however extraordinary, to a people whom
they could at any time compel to their measures; hard where that is the
case of necessity, but more hard and arbitrary when continued without that
necessity. These precedents introduced a similarity of taxation, which in
time proved intolerable grievances. But be their reasons to themselves. -
As the Hoarkills to the Swedes appeared a place of rather more consequence
than it's thought since, their account may be worth observation:
"Two leagues (says the manuscript in the British museum,) from cape
Cornelius on the west side of the river near its mouth, there is a certain
creek called the Hoeren Kill, which may well pass for a middling or small
river, for it is navigable a great way upward, and its road is a fine road
for ships of all burthens, there being none like it for safety and
convenience in all the bay, the right channel for sailing up the bay
passing near it.
"A certain person who for several years together had been a soldier in the
fort, informed us about the month of June, 1662, being then but lately
come from thence, concerning the Hoern kill or Harlot's creek; that along
the sea shore it was not above two leagues from the cape, and that near
the fort which is at the mouth of it, it is about 200 paces broad and
navigable and very deep to about half a league upwards, the pilots say
generally about six feet of water in, going in, but the canoes can go
about two leagues higher: There are two small islands in it, the first very
small the last about half a league in circumference, both overgrown with
fine grass, especially the latter, and are at about half a league distance
asunder, and the latter about a league from the channel's mouth: The two
islands are surrounded with a muddy ground, in which there grows the best
sort of oysters, which said ground begins near the first island, for the
mouth of the channel has a sandy bottom, being also very deep, and
therefore there are no oysters there: Near the smaller island and higher
up it is as broad again as at the mouth, near the said fort the channel
for a good way runs at an equal distance from the sea, having the breadth
of about two hundred paces of high downy land lying between them, near
the fort there is a glorious spring of fresh water, a small rill rising in
the south east part of the country, and falling from a rising hill, runs
through this downy land into the mouth of the Hoern kill, or Harlot's
creek, is for its goodness and fertility famed for the very best of New-
"The name of Hoernkill or Harlot's creek, had as we are informed, its rise
from the liberality of the Indians, for lavishly prostituting, especially
at that place, their maidens and daughters to our Netherlanders: Otherwise
it is by David Pietersz de Uries, who about the year 1630 first
endeavoured to settle there, called Swanendal."
The above description however, in the general true at the time it was
wrote, leaves room for a doubt, at least as to the origin of the name.8
The probability lies that it arose from the creeks winding much in the
shape of a horn; whence the Dutch (and not the Swedes) first took occasion
to call it the Hoernkill; this is the tradition of the inhabitants there.
Soon after English possession, it got the name of Lewis-Town, by which it
is mostly called: It is situate at the mouth of Delaware bay,9 and is the
general resort for pilots, waiting to convoy vessels up the river: Where
the creek is described deep and sandy, is now a mowing marsh: The channel
also by the Hoarkill, then used for vessels to pass, is diminished to
about a hundred yards breadth at the mouth: The two islands, one very
small, and the other but half a league in circumference, are now the first
supposed to be ten, and the last thirty times as large as there described;
and this alteration in about a hundred years.
1 Vid. Life of E. of Clarendon, Oxford printed at Clarendon printing
house. Vol. ii. p. 873, &c.
2 The first notice they had was from Thomas Willet, an Englishman, about 6
weeks before their arrival.
3 The Indian name, by which New-York island was formerly ca1led.
4 In the year 1751, as some workmen were digging down the bank of the
North River, in New York, in order to build a still-house, a stone wall
was discovered between four and five feet thick, near eight feet under
ground, supposed to have been the breast work of a battery.
5 In the begining of the year 1665, there was a comet visible to the
people on this continent: It had appeared in the November before, and
continued four months: It rose constantly ahout one oclock in the morning,
in the south-east. It was seen likewise in, England and in most other
parts of the world, at the same time.
6 He succeeded Nicolls in the government of New York in May 1667, and
continued governor 'till the colony was given up to the Dutch in the
summer, 1673. Nicolls had remained governor since the Dutch surrender
'till then, about two years and a half.
7 The whole country from New-York to Pennsylvania, being so called; 'tis
observable, that this author through the whole, gives the South river
greatly the preference.
8 C. Colden in his history of the five nations p. 11, relates a custom of
the same kind among them, but there does not appear sufficient foundation
to suppose these Indians originally justly chargeable with such a
practice, at least of the tribes generally; and the relation of the Swedes
is not in every instance to be depended on; bad as the Indians now appear,
and have many of them prov'd, they were formerly better; in a case
doubtful 'tis perhaps best to err on the charitable side.
9 The Delaware probably got its name from "the lord Delaware, who sailed
in a ship of 250 ton; in April 1618, with 200 people for Virginia, but
died at sea." Prince's N.E. Chronology, p. 54.