| 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 |
WHERE I WAS BORN
 IF I ever attempted to set down a story in words, it
would be concerning the time when I was much the
same as a slave among the Dutch of New Amsterdam,
meaning a certain part of the world in that America
where so many of my father's countrymen came after
they left England, because of the King's not allowing
them to worship God in the way they believed to be right.
It sounds odd to say that an English boy was ever
held as slave by the Dutch, and perhaps I have no right
to make such statement, because it is not strictly true,
although there were many years in my life when I did
the same work, and received the same fare, as did the
negroes in the early days of New Amsterdam.
Before I was born, my father was clerk to the postmaster
of Scrooby, one William Brewster, and perhaps
thus it was that when, because of troubles concerning
religion, Master Brewster journeyed to Leyden with a
company of people who were called Separatists, my
parents went with him.
 And so it was that I was born in Leyden, in the year
of our Lord, 1612, but I never knew what it was to have
a mother, for mine died while I was yet in the cradle;
thanks to the care of a loving, God-fearing father,
however, I could do very much toward looking out for myself
by the time I had come to the age of eight, when I was
left entirely alone in the world. I love now to think
that during the years of my life while the good man
remained on this earth, I did not cause him any great
anxiety, and required little care.
Within two months after my father died, which was in
the year 1620, many of the congregation in Leyden set
off with Master Brewster for the New World, there to
 build up a city where men might worship God in
whatsoever fashion they pleased.
Those of the Separatists who were left behind, cared
for me as best they might until a year had passed; but
none of them were overly burdened with this world's
goods, and, young though I was, I realized, in some
slight degree, what a tax the care of a lad nine years old
was upon them.
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