| Peter of New Amsterdam|
|by James Otis|
|The story of the Dutch colony at New Amsterdam, through the eyes of the young lad Peter. Relates its settlement by the West India Company under the leadership of Peter Minuit, their transactions with the Indians including the purchase of the island of Manhattan, their overthrow of the Swedish forts to the south, and their surrender to English forces in 1664. The portrait of the contrasting figures of Peter Minuit and Peter Stuyvesant enlivens the narrative. Numerous black and white illustrations complement the text. Ages 8-10 |
NOW lest you think I am given to using too many
words, it is enough if I say that at the appointed time I
met Master Marais at the University, and there learned
from him that Master Peter Minuit had offered to take
me as servant to that place in America which was
called New Netherland, pledging himself, in due time,
to set me on a path which would lead to honest
manhood. He agreed to provide me with such an outfit as
would be needed, and to bear the charge of my living
while we remained in Holland.
Master Marais, after first stating that it was for me
 to decide, since my future, perhaps, depended upon
the answer to be given Master Minuit, advised that I
the Director's offer.
And so I did.
What other could
a lad, who had
neither father nor
mother, say, when
he was given a
chance to earn honestly that which he
needed for the care
of his body?
To me, boy as I was, the long voyage overseas had
no terrors; but was rather an inducement, for I would
see strange sights before coming to the New World,
and then who should say that I might not, one day,
rise to be as great a man as was Master Minuit?
Master Marais told me I had decided well, when I
said that I believed myself fortunate in having such an
opportunity, and straightway took charge of my affairs,
having been so instructed by my new master. I was
given of clothing more than ever I had before, and fed
until I was no longer hungry, during such time as
I remained in Leyden.
Then came the day when Master Marais sent me to
 Amsterdam with a letter to Master Minuit's agent,
and from that hour I was no more than any parcel of
goods, which the West India Company counted to
send into the New World.
It troubled me little, however, that I was considered
of no importance, for in exactly that light did I look
upon myself; yet I could not but wonder, if so be I was
servant to the Director of the new country in America,
that no one told me to do this or do that, but left me to
my own will, save that I was ordered to keep strictly
the rules laid down by the mistress of the house in
which I lodged, until such time as the Sea Mew was
ready to set sail.
Then it was that one of the sailors came to my
lodgings to summon me, and I know not how it was
he chanced to learn of my whereabouts, for I had had
speech concerning my affairs with no person in
Amsterdam, although it may well be that Master Marais had
sent information concerning what was to be done with
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