The History of New York State
Book I, Chapter III

Editor, Dr. James Sullivan

Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Pam


In this dilemma, the Amsterdam merchants petitioned Prince Maurice, on February, 12, 1620, asking that two warships be sent to New Netherlands to "secure,. provisionally, the said lands to this government," and that the "four hundred families may be taken under the protection of the United Province." Apparently, the Amsterdam directors of the old company were to be connected with the projected West India Company, for the memorialists pointed out that such provisional precautions were advisable, "since such lands may be of great importance whenever the West India company shall be organized."

The petitioners found the States General suspicious, or ultracautious. Great plans were impending, so that Prince Maurice merely passed on the memorial to the States General; and the latter took the subject under careful advisement. It was quite clear to them that King James, of England, was disposed to colonize the northern regions of America, and that he was also determined to oust the Dutch from New Netherland. If Holland should now, prematurely, colonize the land, through the medium of these English refugees, international complications might come before they were prepared to combat them. Moreover, they could hardly expect the colonists to forget their nationality. Their High Mightinesses did not think it prudent to make an English faction the strongest political force of a Dutch province in the existing uncertain state of European politics. So, on April 11, 1620, the States General rejected the prayer of the memorialists, anticipating that the West India Company, when organized, would properly give consideration to matters of colonization.

So the Separatists now again turned to England, "quickened by a growing feeling of apprehension," for now, throughout Holland, there was "nothing but beating of drums and preparing for war." Fearful that "the Spaniard might prove as cruel as the savages of America," the Leyden refugees were eager to leave Holland. Some of them left in July, and the "Mayflower" sailed from Plymouth on September 6, these Separatists, now Pilgrims, planning to "adventure with that patent they had" from the Virginia Company, and settling somewhere south of New Netherland and north of the Virginia colony, rather than to settle in "the more northerly parts of America, distinct from the Virginia patent, and wholly excluded from their government, and to be called by another name, to wit New England," patent for which they did not yet possess, though they had good reason for believing that King James would grant it. How they came within sight of the American shore to the north, instead of the south, of New Netherland, how they made the famous compact "to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia,' beyond the limits of New England, "on the shores of Delaware or Maryland, and outside the then claimed southern frontier of New Netherland," #98 but how, after all, they were forced by circumstances of destiny to settle in New England, need not be restated here. Their departure from Holland, and settlement as English subjects within the region claimed by the United Netherlands, coupled with a visit of an English emissary to New Netherland, were warnings to the Stadtholder and Their High Mightinesses that Dutch interests in the New World were being seriously jeopardized by the delay informing the West India Company. Captain Dermer happened into New York Bay, one day in the summer of 1619, and came again in 1620. He was surprised and incensed to find Dutch traders well established upon Manhattan, which he asserted was English territory. He departed, warning the "traffickers to leave His Majesty's domain as quickly as possible." Furthermore, the States General were no doubt always well informed of English political happenings, and so probably knew before the end of 1620 that King James had taken another step forward to assert his right to sovereignty over all of North America lying between Florida and Newfoundland. No other interpretation could be drawn of the action of the English King, in grating the new England Patent to the Plymouth Company, in November, 1620. By its provisions, the Council of Plymouth secured "an absolute property in all the American territory extending from the fortieth to the forty-eighth degree of latitude, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific." This, of course, included all the territory of New Netherland.

The twelve years' truce ended in the spring of 1621. It meant war; and one of the Dutch means of war lay in the formation of a strong company able to defend Dutch interest and ambitions in the West like the East India Company was defending and expanding them in the East. Therefore, within three months of the expiration of the truce, the Dutch West India Company was chartered, charged with almost sovereign rights in that half of the world which had not been appropriated by the Dutch East India Company. By its charter, the West India Company was empowered to "colonize, govern, and defend not only that little domain on the North River, but the whole unoccupied coasts of America, from Newfoundland to Cape Horn (which, by the way, had been discovered a few years before by a Dutchman from Hoorn), and the western coast of Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope far northward."

The history of the Dutch West India Company, and of New Netherland centering in New Amsterdam, comes with the scope of the next part of this work, leading to the history of New York City.


The principal authorities studied in the building of this review:

Bryant and Gay, "History of United States."
Francis Parkman, "Pioneer of France in the New World."
Edward Winslow's "Narratives of the Plantations." (Purchas).
James Grant Wilson, "Memorial History of the City of New York."
Halluyt Society Publications.
Encyclopedia Britannica.
Ridpath's, "History of the World."
Henry Isham Hazelton's "History of Brooklyn and Long Island" (1925).
Ellis R. Roberts "New York: the Planting and Growing of the Empire State"
Le Clerc, "Etablissement de la Foy."
Canadian Archives.
J. C. Brevoort, "Verrazzano, the Navigator."
Murphy's "Voyage of Verrazzano."
De Costa's "Verrazzano, the Explorer."
Peter Martyr's Decades.
J. Castell Hopkins, "Canada: The Story of the Dominion."
Gosselin's Documents Authentiques.
Usher's "Rise of the American People.'
O'Callaghan's "History of New Netherland."
Brodhead's "History of State of New York."
Collections of New York Historical Society.
Maine Collections.
Massachusetts Collections.
Archer's "Relations."
Green's "Short History of the English People."
Macauley's "History of England."
State of New York, Champlain Tercentenary Reports.
Sagard's "Histoire du Canada."
Lescarbot's "History of New France."
Purchas' "Nova Francis."
Ramsay's "History of the United States." (1816)
Bancroft's "History of the United States."
Elihu Root, "The Iroquois and the Struggle for America."
Motley's "Rise of the Dutch Republic."
Motley's "United Netherlands."
O'Callaghan's Documents colonial Hist. N. Y.
Holl. Doc.
Murphy's "Henry Hudson in Holland."
Van der Donck's "Description of New Netherland."
Schouler's "History of United States."
Lord's "Beacon Lights of History."
Finerty's "People's History of Ireland."
And others.


The History of New York State, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., 1927

This book is owned by Pam Rietsch and is a part of the Mardos Memorial Library

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

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