| 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 |
WANDERING OVER THE ISLAND
WHEN Master Minuit was about to go on board the
Sea Mew with the savages whose land he had just
bought, he graciously gave me permit to wander at
will over the island, with the understanding, however,
 that I was to be on the shore, ready to come aboard
ship, before nightfall.
It can well be understood that I took advantage of
the permission without delay, and before I had finished
with my roaming, I came to believe that my master
had not driven as hard a bargain as at first sight appeared.
In England, or in Holland, the land would not have
been looked upon as of much value to a farmer. There
were some spots where a kind of wheat was growing,
but these were few and far between. A goodly
portion of the upper part was swampy, and beyond that
were ledges, covered with creeping vines, over which
one could not make his way even if he felt so disposed.
One of the
had come over
before we did,
told me that he
did not dare
let his cows or sheepn wander beyond the marshes, because of
the forest's being filled with
bears, wolves, and other ravening
creatures which would make speedy end of them.
When I asked as to the outlook for a farmer, he turned
up his thick nose, saying that save for the fact of the
 land being rich, never having been planted, lie could
not raise enough to keep his family and his cattle from
Then it was he told me that the West India
Company did not give great heed to what might be
grown in the earth, but counted on building here a
town in order that they might make much money by
buying furs of the savages.
It seemed that there were animals in the forest
nearabout, the skins of which were valuable in many
of the other countries of the world, and it was Master
Minuit's business, if he would please those who had
made him Director of New Netherland, to exchange
toys and beads for furs.
Those white men who had been induced to come
over from Holland by promises of being well paid for
their labor, were to turn all their attention to getting
lumber out of the forests, doing no more in the way of
farming than would provide them, as nearly as might
be, with food.
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