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RICHARD NIColls, by the right of was born in 1624 at Ampthill in Bedconquest, became Governor of New fordshire; his father, a lawyer, had York, on the 29th of August, 1664. married a daughter of Sir George He was welcomed by the Dutch civic Bruce. Nicolls studied at the uniauthorities whom he retained in versity, was a good scholar, but in office, and his first act was to direct the civil war joined the royalist forces that the city should henceforth bear and commanded a troop of horse. its new name; it was no longer “New He fled with the Stuarts to the conAmsterdam,” but “New York," and tinent, became attached to the service the fort was named "Fort James." of the Duke of York, and fought by
his side in the French armies. He came back to England at the Restor
ation, was a member of the duke's Thus our city perpetuates the mem- household, and was trusted by him ory of the last of the Stuarts. But it in his most important affairs. Of also recalls the York or Eboracum of Nicolls's private character we know the Roman period in Britian, of the little. It is difficult to see how any historic city whose libraries and honorable man could have remained schools in the days of Alcuin and the friend and follower of James Charles the Great began the civiliza- Stuart, or could have joined in an tion of modern Europe.
expedition so plainly dishonest and Richard Nicolls, the new Govern- piratical as was that against the or, had been the confidant and faith- Dutch in New Amsterdam. But ful follower of the royal Stuarts. He Nicolls seems at least to have been
* From “ The Memorial History of New York.”
more humane and prudent than most
on the Brooklyn side had carried terof the dependents of the royal court.
ror to the quiet citizens. He promНе gave to the Dutch the most liber- ised rewards to all who had taken up al terms of surrender. He neither arms for “their King and country;" robbed nor massacred; he seems to
he thanked the Massachusetts delehave made little profit from his con- gates, and he declared that he would quest; and he returned to Europe to soon summon deputies from the Long die in the service of his master the
Island towns to discuss matters reduke, in the second Dutch war, faith- lating to its peace and prosperity. ful to the end. To the Dutch inhab- The government of the province was itants Nicolls proved a gentle mas
renewed by the appointment of Engter, and evidently won their good lish officials. Captain Matthias Nicwill. No one was injured in person olls, of Islip, Northamptonshire, a or property. The Court of Burgo- lawyer, who had come with him from masters and Schepens met on the day England, was made secretary of the after the capitulation, and the busi- province. The council was composed ness of the city went on as usual. of Englishmen; Delavall, an EnglishThe Dutch officials wrote an account man, was made collector of the port, of the surrender to the West India but the Dutch city officials were to Company, in which they very plainly retain their places for six months or complained of the little care it had more and administer justice as usual. taken for their protection, and Stuy- The city of New York as it was vesant sent a defense of his own con- now to be called, embraced the whole duct and a representation of the
of Manhattan Island. Its population helpless state in which he had been at the surrender was about fifteen left. The ship Gideon carried away
hundred, chiefly Dutch. An engravthe Dutch garrison, together with ing remains of the appearance of the these memorials of disaster, and, pro- small town, and a contemporary devided with a pass from Nicolls, bore scription of New Netherland, exthe evil tidings to the directors. plains and illustrates the picture. Their utter neglect of the defense of The island was covered with woods, New Amsterdam is certainly almost meadows, fens, and lakes, and some unaccountable. Had they sent a few lofty hills. What is now the Battery frigates to its aid, and some Dutch was then only a reef of numerous troops, its fall might have been de- rocks often covered by the tide. layed but not averted. Nicolls, too, Broadway, an Indian path, ran over dismissed the troops from Long Is- the highland from the Battery to the land and the east, who had been so Park. The river on the west came eager for the plunder of the city and up to the hill on which stands Trinwhose loud threats from the “Ferry" ity Church. The East River flowed along Pearl or Great Dock street al- raised at the foot of Whitehall. A most to Broadway. On the narrow few Dutch vessels are anchored in point of highland extending from the harbor. A huge rock rises out Wall Street to the Battery was the of the river near what is now the site of the infant city.
South Ferry. The rocky shore In the illustration of 1664 we see a around the fort is without wharves few houses gathered near what is or piers; the rocks are the only landnow Whitehall, another group above, ing places; a rowboat is seen sculling perhaps along Broad street; the fort, over what is now Front and South an earthen work of rude construc- streets; an inlet offers a safe harbor tion, forms the center of the town. in Broad street, and a canal and
Above its walls rose the square brook open a way into the heart of church steeple, the double roof of the settlement. In the interior of the the building, a windmill and the roofs island were farms and bouweries. of houses. It stood where State Broadway or the Heereweg led street now runs in front of the Bat- through the rich land of Domine Botery, on a rising hill. A gallows and gardus; and the Bowery, another a whipping-post, we are told, were Indian track, passed through hill and dale to the marshy fields where Stuy. It was Nicolls's aim to soothe and vesant hid in his gloomy retirement. win the support of his new subjects A pleasant refuge from the cares and by a perfect religious toleration. The toils of his European home must Dutch ministers were allowed their New Amsterdam have seemed to the stipends and their pleasant homes on Dutch immigrant accustomed only Beaver and Pearl streets undisto his native fens and level lowlands, turbed. The usual services were perhis narrow fields slowly won from formed in the church built by Kieft the stormy sea by incessant labor in the fort. But it was arranged that and guarded by his patient vigilance. after the Dutch service was over, the Here in Manhattan and its neighbor- Episcopal should be read by the hood he seemed to live in luxurious chaplain of the English forces; and plenty. The fertile soil, the chronic for thirty years, we
for thirty years, we are told, this cler tells us, produced all the fruits practice was observed, the two religand vegetables of Holland in unri. ious bodies occupying the same buildvaled excellence. Apples, pears, ing. But the governor had more difpeaches, plums, cherries, quinces, ficult duties to perform: he was to medlars throve better than at home. secure the submission of the wide Vines grew wild everywhere, and tract of territory reaching from the there was an abundance of blue and Hudson to the Delaware, over which white grapes; a wine was already he was expected to enforce the Engmade from them equal to any Rhen- lish rule. To assure the control of ish or French. All the vegetables the Hudson an expedition was sent known to the Dutch filled the gar- up in September, under Colonel dens of the settlers; corn grew rapid- Cartwright, to reduce to obedience ly; the virgin soil was suited to the Dutch settlements at Esopus, every kind of plant or tree, and flow- Fort Orange and Rensselaerswyck. ers of pleasant odors and rare beauty In our golden autumnal days the adorned the scene. The picture of English for the first time sailed up ease and plenty drawn by the early the broad river, beside the Palisades, travelers to New Netherland must through the deep shadows of the have seemed almost an earthly para- Highlands, and reached after a weary dise to the less fortunate Europeans. voyage the Dutch fort and settleIt was so real as to win back Stuy- ments. No resistance was made; the vesant to his bouwery and to console town was named “Albany,” a garrison the Bayards, Beekmans, and their was placed in it; Van Rensselaer was Dutch contemporaries under the rule not disturbed in his possessions, but of their alien governors. No one was was required to take out a new title, willing to go back to the Fatherland. or to prove his claim in New York.