America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. — Abraham Lincoln

Peter of New Amsterdam - James Otis

This book tells the story of Peter, an orphaned Puritan living in the Holland who is sent as a worker to New Amsterdam (now New York), in the New World. He comes of age during the Anglo-Dutch war that led to the Dutch colony falling into the hands of the English, and the story of his life introduces students to contemporary customs and historical events.

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The purpose of this series of stories is to show the children, and even those who have already taken up the study of history, the home life of the colonists with whom they meet in their books. To this end every effort has been made to avoid anything savoring of romance, and to deal only with facts, so far as that is possible, while describing the daily life of those people who conquered the wilderness whether for conscience sake or for gain.

That the stories may appeal more directly to the children, they are told from the viewpoint of a child, and purport to have been related by a child. Should any criticism be made regarding the seeming neglect to mention important historical facts, the answer would be that these books are not sent out as histories,—although it is believed that they will awaken a desire to learn more of the building of the nation,—and only such incidents as would be particularly noted by a child are used.

Surely it is entertaining as well as instructive for young people to read of the toil and privations in the homes of those who came into a new world to build up a country for themselves, and such homely facts are not to be found in the real histories of our land.


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Front Matter

Where I Was Born
Alone in Holland
An Important Introduction
I Go My Way
The Bargain
Sailing for the New World
A View of New Netherland
The "Brown Men" or Savages
Summoned to the Cabin
Toys for the Savages
Claim of the India Company
Making Ready for Trade
Braun and Gildersleeve
Gathering the Savages
Going Ashore
Buying Manhattan
Boats Used by the Savages
Wandering over the Island
The Homes of the Savages
Master Minuit's Home
Beginning the Work
A Strange Kind of Craft
Building a Fort
In Charge of the Goods
The Value of Wampum
Buildings of Stone
The Government
A Prosperous Town
Quarrelsome Slaves
A Brutal Murder
A Village Called Plymouth
I Go on a Voyage
A Lukewarm Welcome
Two Days in Plymouth
Forging Ahead
The Big Ship
Minuit's Successor
Trouble with the English
Van Twiller Discharged
Director Kieft
Unjust Commands
Minuit's Return
Revenge of the Savages
Kieft's War
Director Petrus Stuyvesant
Time for Sight-Seeing
How the Fort was Armed
Village Laws
Other Things about Town
A Visit of Ceremony
New Amsterdam, a City
Stuyvesant Makes Enemies
Orders from Holland
Making Ready for War
An Unexpected Question
With the Fleet
Driving out the Swedes
Uprising of the Indians
An Attack by the Indians
Back to New Amsterdam
Coaxing the Savages
Religious Freedom
Punishing the Quaker
Other Persecutions
Dull Trade
Charge Made by Hans Braun
Dismissed by Stuyvesant
English Claims
Idle Days
On Broad Way
Looking after the Ferry
Coming of the English
A Weak Defense
Stuyvesant Absent
Disobeying Commands
Surrender Demanded
A Three Days' Truce
English Visitors
Stuyvesant's Rage
The End of Dutch Rule
The City of New York