We treated in our preceding discourse of the discovery of some rivers in Virginia; the studious reader will learn how affairs proceeded. The West India Company being chartered to navigate these rivers, did not neglect so to do, but equipped in the spring [of 1623] a vessel of 130 lasts, called the New Netherland whereof Cornelis Jacobs of Hoorn was skipper, with 30 families, mostly Walloons, to plant a colony there. They sailed in the beginning of March, and directing their course by the Canary Islands, steered towards the wild coast, and gained the westwind which luckily (took) them in the beginning of May into the river called, first Rio de Montagnes, now the river Mauritius, lying in 40½ degrees. He found a Frenchman lying in the mouth of the river, who would erect the arms of the King of France there; but the Hollanders would not permit him, opposing it by commission from the Lords States General and the directors of the West India Company; and in order not to be frustrated therein, with the assistance of those of the Mackerel which lay above, they caused a yacht of 2 guns to be manned, and convoyed the Frenchman out of the river, who would do the same thing in the south river, but he was also prevented by the settlers there. This being done, the ship sailed up to the Maykans, 44 miles, near which they built and completed a fort named "Orange," with 4 bastions, on an island, by them called Castle Island. . . .
Respecting these colonies, they have already a prosperous beginning; and the hope is that they will not fall through provided they be zealously sustained, not only in that place but in the South river. For their increase and prosperous advancement, it is highly necessary that those sent out be first of all well provided with means both of support and defense, and that being freemen, they be settled there on a free tenure; that all they work for and gain be theirs to dispose of and to sell it according to their pleasure; that whoever is placed over them as commander act as their father not as their executioner, leading them with a gentle hand; for whoever rules them as a friend and associate will be beloved by them, as he who will order them as a superior will subvert and nullify everything; yea, they will excite against him the neighbouring provinces to which they will fly. 'Tis better to rule by love and friendship than by force. . . .
As the country is well adapted for agriculture and the raising of every thing that is produced here, the aforesaid Lords resolved to take advantage of the circumstances, and to provide the place with many necessaries, through the Honble. Pieter Evertsen Hulst, who undertook to ship thither, at his risk, whatever was requisite, to wit: one hundred and three head of cattle; stallions, mares, steers and cows, for breeding and multiplying, besides all the hogs and sheep that might be thought expedient to send thither; and to distribute these in two ships of one hundred and forty lasts, in such a manner that they should be well foddered and attended to. . .
In company with these, goes a fast sailing vessel at the risk of the directors. In these aforesaid vessels also go six complete families with some freemen, so that forty five newcomers or inhabitants are taken out, to remain there. The natives of New Netherland are very well disposed so long as no injury is done them. But if any wrong be committed against them they think it long till they be revenged. . . .
They are a wicked, bad people, very fierce in arms. Their dogs are small. When the Honble. Lambrecht van Twenhuyzen, once a skipper, had given them a big dog, and it was presented to them on ship-board, they were very much afraid of it; calling it, also a Sachem of dogs, being the biggest. The dog, tied with a rope on board, was very furious against them, they being clad like beasts with skins, for he thought they were game; but when they gave him some of their bread made of Indian corn, which grows there, he learned to distinguish them, that they were men.
The Colony was planted at this time, on the Manhates where a Fort was staked out by Master Kryn Frederycke, an engineer. It will be of large dimensions. . . .
The government over the people of New Netherland continued on the 19th of August of this year in the aforesaid Minuit, successor to Verhulst, who went thither from Holand on 9th January, Anno, 1626, and took up his residence in the midst of a nation called Manhates, building a fort there, to be called Amsterdam, having four points and faced outside entirely with stone, as the walls of sand fall down, and are now more compact.
The population consists of two hundred and seventy souls, including men, women, and children. They remained as yet without the Fort, in no fear, as the natives live peaceably with them. They are situate three miles from the Sea, on the river by us called Mauritius, by others, Rio de Montague. . . .
After the Right Honble Lords Directors of the Privileged West India Company in the United Netherlands, had provided for the defence of New Netherland and put everything there in good order, they taking into consideration the advantages of said place, the favorable nature of the air, and soil, and that considerable trade and goods and many commodities may be obtained from thence, sent some persons, of their own accord, thither with all sorts of cattle and implements necessary for agriculture, so that in the year 1628 there already resided on the island of the Manhates, two hundred and seventy souls, men, women, and children, under Governor Minuit, Verhulst's successor, living there in peace with the natives. But as the land, in many places being full of weeds and wild productions, could not be properly cultivated in consequence of the scantiness of the population, the said Lords Directors of the West India Company, the better to people their lands, &: to bring the country to produce more abundantly, resolved to grant divers privileges, freedoms, and exemptions to all patroons, masters or individuals who should plant any colonies and cattle in New Netherland, and they accordingly have constituted and published in print (certain) exemptions, to afford better encouragement and infuse greater zeal into whomsoever should he inclined to reside and plant his colonie in New Netherland.
1 From Wassenaer's "Description of the first settlement of New Netherland." Printed in Hart's "American History Told by Contemporaries." Wassenaer was a Dutchman, and wrote contemporaneously with the events he describes. After Hudson's discovery of the Hudson River, Dutch ships were sent over to Manhattan island to establish an agency for the collection of furs. Rude cabins were pitched and lived in at the southern end of the island, but these did not constitute a permanent settlement; they were a mere tradingpost. The trade became so profitable, however, that something more permanent was desired, and in 1623 the West India Company dispatched ships with thirty families as the nucleus of a colony to be established near the present site of Albany. Not until two years later was it decided that the headquarters of the colony should be on Manhattan Island. Two ships were then sent out to establish there a permanent and more extensive settlement.