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

Peter of New Amsterdam - James Otis

Master Stuyvesant Makes Enemies

Because of our people's being so excited over this opportunity to have a part in the affairs of the city, you can well fancy what discontent, which swelled almost to open mutiny, was among us when Master Stuyvesant boldly announced that there would be no election. He had decided, so he said in that high and mighty voice of his, that he would appoint the city officers himself, without vote of the people, and this he did, naming those men whom he knew would sneeze when he caught cold.

Of course there were many vain threats made, and much whispering in dark corners, the purport of which might have been construed into open mutiny, had Director Stuyvesant or any of his following overheard the stealthy conversation. The whipping-post, and even the gallows, stood too conveniently at hand, while Big Pieter, the negro executioner who had charge of the public floggings, was ever ready to adjust a noose, or swing with vicious force the thongs of the whip.

Many a time did I hear threats which would have sent him who made them straight to the gallows, had they been repeated in the government house; but the people were cautious, not minded to risk their necks for the common good, and, so far as I can tell, Director Stuyvesant never knew how near he was to a hornet's nest, when he took it upon himself to throw aside one of the greatest privileges of New Amsterdam's charter.

I doubt if it would have disturbed him much even had he known of the discontent, for he ruled, as the saying is, with a rod of iron, and seemed to think that there was never one, or an hundred, of the common people to whose mutterings he need take heed.

But for that act of his, I question if our men of the city would have stood so calmly by when the English fleet came to capture New Amsterdam, turning out of office every Dutchman. Director Stuyvesant would have found more by his side in that bitter hour, when he was the same as driven from the land, if he had kept the promise made when he first arrived, to govern the people of our town as a father governs his children.

But it is not for me to speak of the English yet, for there is much to tell concerning what was done by the Dutchmen, before Colonel Richard Nicolls anchored off the battery with the guns of his fleet trained upon us.