MASTER KIEFT'S WAR
MASTER Kieft, taking no council save with his own
evil thoughts, announced that he would declare war
against every brown man in the country, and there is
no question in my mind but that such might have been
the case to our utter destruction, had not the chief men
of New Amsterdam, and among them those who had
been in the Council during Master Van Twiller's reign,
risen up against the Director, so far as could be done
without laying themselves open to a charge of mutiny.
 Our sensible men claimed, and with good reason,
that war ought not to be declared because of the crops
being still unharvested, and because of our having to
gather in the cattle, swine, and sheep still roaming the
woods. They declared also, that the farmers who had
settled some distance away, had a right to be given warning
in time for them to save a portion of their property.
To this Master Kieft agreed; but only for a certain
time. He took it upon himself to make preparations
for war, and when winter was fully come
did actually begin it, setting himself with
no more than two hundred and fifty
Dutchmen, against two thousand savages
who, because of our greed for furs, as
shown both by the people in their private
trading, and by the West India Company,
were armed with the same kind of
guns we were using, as well as supplied
with an ample store of powder and
I would not, if I could, tell you all
that followed. It is too cruel a story; it
has more to do with murder and death by torture,
and with keenest suffering, than would be well for
you to hear while we have gathered to listen to my poor
tale of how the town of New Amsterdam was built,
and how it grew.
 It was a time when the bravest man's cheeks might
well grow pale; when women and children shrieked
with fear, or trembled in silent terror at the slightest
unusual sound; when it was as if all the country
roundabout had been stained the color of blood; when we
could no longer lie down at night, or rise up in the
morning, without fear; when we ceased to live the lives
of peaceful, honest traders, but were become the same
as hunted beasts,—and all through the evil of one man.
Master Kieft was sent for by the West India
Company none too soon, and the pity of it is that he ever
came to New Amsterdam, with his hatchet-shaped
face, to plunge us into a war with the savages, who had
all the right on their side.
Hans Braun claimed because of Kieft's having built
the great stone tavern, which was the largest and most
beautiful in all America, that he had left behind him a
monument which would ever keep his memory green.
But I question if any one, after Director Stuyvesant
turned the building into a town hall, ever cared to
remember that it had been built by Wilhelm Kieft.