Table of Contents

+ Add to Library

Previous Next

Chapter 5

  • Now so it happened, that while the great and good Peter Stuyvesant, followe_y his trusty squire, was making his chivalric progress through the eas_ountry, a dark and direful scheme of war against his beloved province wa_orming in that nursery of monstrous projects, the British Cabinet.
  • This, we are confidently informed, was the result of the secret instigation_f the great council of the league; who, finding themselves totall_ncompetent to vie in arms with the heavy-sterned warriors of the Manhattoe_nd their iron-headed commander, sent emissaries to the British Government,
  • setting forth in eloquent language the wonders and delights of this deliciou_ittle Dutch Canaan, and imploring that a force might be sent out to invade i_y sea, while they should co-operate by land.
  • These emissaries arrived at a critical juncture, just as the British Lion wa_eginning to bristle up his mane and wag his tail; for we are assured by th_nonymous writer of the Stuyvesant manuscript that the astounding victory o_eter Stuyvesant at Fort Christina had resounded throughout Europe, and hi_nnexation of the territory of New Sweden had awakened the jealousy of th_ritish Cabinet for their wild lands at the south. This jealousy was brough_o a head by the representations of Lord Baltimore, who declared that th_erritory thus annexed lay within the lands granted to him by the Britis_rown, and he claimed to be protected in his rights. Lord Sterling, anothe_ritish subject, claimed the whole of Nassau, or Lond Island, once the Ophi_f William the Testy, but now the kitchen-garden of the Manhattoes, which h_eclared to be British territory by the right of discovery, but unjustl_surped by the Nederlanders.
  • The result of all these rumors and representations was a sudden zeal on th_art of his Majesty Charles the Second for the safety and well-being of hi_ransatlantic possessions, and especially for the recovery of the Ne_etherlands, which Yankee logic had, somehow or other, proved to be _ontinuity of the territory taken possession of for the British Crown by th_ilgrims when they landed on Plymouth Rock, fugitives from British oppression.
  • All this goodly land thus wrongfully held by the Dutchmen, he presented, in _it of affection, to his brother the Duke of York, a donation truly royal,
  • since none but great sovereigns have a right to give away what does not belon_o them. That this munificent gift might not be merely nominal, his Majest_rdered that an armament should be straightway despatched to invade the cit_f New Amsterdam by land and water, and put his brother in complete possessio_f the premises.
  • Thus critically situated are the affairs of the New Nederlanders. While th_onest burghers are smoking their pipes in somber security, and the priv_ouncillors are snoring in the council chamber, while Peter the Headstrong i_ndauntedly making his way through the east country, in the confident hope b_onest words and manly deeds to bring the grand council to terms, a hostil_leet is sweeping like a thunder-cloud across the Atlantic, soon to rattle _torm of war about the ears of the dozing Nederlanders, and to put the mettl_f their governor to the trial.
  • But come what may, I here pledge my veracity that in all warlike conflicts an_oubtful perplexities he will every acquit himself like a gallant, noble-
  • minded, obstinate old cavalier. Forward, then, to the charge! Shine out,
  • propitious stars, on the renowned city of the Manhattoes; and the blessing o_t. Nicholas go with thee, honest Peter Stuyvesant.