Terhune Family



Peter Minuit's tenure as governor lasted until 1632. (See page 14) By all reasonable measures, he was extremely successful. He is widely credited with buying Manhattan Island from the Indians, but it is at least equally possible that his predecessor, Verhulst did so. The evidence is sketchy, but it appears that crops had already been planted on Manhattan when Minuit arrived for a second time in 1626. According to the Documentary History of New York by O'Callaghan, 1849; settlement started on Manhattan in September 1625. Livestock were landed and grazed on the island and settlers began constructing homes, and the survey of a fort was started. Verhulst was the Governor then and would not be replaced until after Minuit arrived from the Netherland in May 1626. Thus Verhulst would more likely have already purchased Manhattan. Minuit was, however, extremely dexterous at maintaining friendly relations with the Indians. During his six years, about 10,000 fur pelts were exported to Holland each year, as well as ship building lumber, a much needed commodity there. He initiated contacts and trade with the English colony in Boston and enjoyed a friendly relationship with them. He improved the infrastructure in Manhattan with mills and became a deacon in the Church. By 1631 he had built a large ship, 700 tons and 30 cannons, using American lumber. Later this ship would be used by the Dutch in privateering voyages against the Spanish.

In 1632, problems arose for Minuit both in New Netherland and Holland. The Dutch minister, Michaelius had arrived in 1628. At first friendly, he later became adversarial and wrote accusatory letters back to the Company against Minuit. There was also backbiting by some of the colony employees. Minuit was recalled to Holland. Those opposed to the "patroonships" in the Company were opposed to Minuit who had implemented the Company strategy, which he actually opposed. After all, he was but a hired hand and had no choice in the matter. The upshot of all of this was that he was replaced by a nephew of one of the Company executives, Van Twiller, who would govern New Netherland until 1638.

Minuit, in 1637, came into the employ of Sweden who wanted to colonize the Delaware River basin. He headed an expedition that year and founded New Christina on the south shore of the Delaware River (now Wilmington, Delaware). He was to die two years later in a Caribbean hurricane. Peter Minuit is a most unappreciated figure in early American history, not widely known. However, his accomplishments were enormously important, at least on a par with Stuyvesant and Hudson. The Dutch preacher, Michaelius, whose interference in secular matters with Minuit was an omen of similar problems to come later, was "black listed" and not allowed by the Company to return to New Netherland.

Wouter Van Twiller, the new Governor, proved to be a failure. He unsuccessfully tried to keep the English out of Long Island, drank a lot, and schemed to obtain land for himself. At the end of his tenure, there were only about 400 inhabitants in Manhattan. He was replaced in 1638 by William Kieft, a Dutch merchant. At the same time, the Company made important changes to the "Freedom and Exemptions" Act. It abandoned some monopoly practice and allowed free trade in the colony, provided for free land for emigrants outside Manhattan and for Dutch schools.

Kieft governed for about 8 years. His actions almost destroyed the colony. He arrogantly demanded "contributions" from the local Lenape Indians for "protecting" them in 1640. By 1642 New Netherland was under attack by practically the entire native population of the Hudson valley. Many Dutch in the outlying area were killed and their property destroyed. The rest, about 700, came to Manhattan and cowered at the New Amsterdam Fort. In 1644, a band of New England soldiers led by John Underhill rallied the Dutch and attacked the Indian villages in the whole area. The war ended in 1645 with most of the outlying colonial villages destroyed and the Company suffering huge losses.

The Company chose Petrus Stuyvesant to be governor in 1647. (See page 14) He had served the Company in South America since 1630 when he was a teenager. Indeed, he had lost a leg fighting the Spanish in 1644 as a commander of an operation to take over the island of Saint Martin in the Caribbean. Perhaps the Dutch would have abandoned New Netherland if their attempts to establish Brazilian colonies had been faring better. However the Portuguese were gradually pushing the Dutch out of that area.

Stuyvesant served as governor for 17 years until the English took control in 1664. (See CASTELLO map of NEW AMSTERDAM page 15) He was a deeply religious Calvinist who was perhaps too intolerant of other religions which were not consonant with Dutch practice and got him into occasional trouble. Nonetheless, he was a strong and rational leader. He took over a colony in dire straits and slowly, but surely, restored order. He believed the people wanted a stable economy, and the laws and regulations to achieve it. The infrastructure and public works in New Amsterdam were markedly improved. The trade regulations and retail markets where overhauled to prevent fraud and waste. He organized settlements in western Long Island and attracted an increasing flow of emigrant farmers and others from Holland. In 1655 he took four ships and captured New Sweden on the Delaware River. The same year, the last Indian uprising was put down with considerable loss of lives and property. By 1654 the last Dutch colony in Brazil was lost and the Dutch started to make New Amsterdam the focal point for the North American slave trade. By the mid 1660s over 700 slaves were in New Netherland.

In 1653, as instructed by the Company, Stuyvesant appointed a municipal government comprised of magistrates selected from the well-to-do elite. For the rest of his term, he would be bickering and quarreling with these magistrates. But Stuyvesant was a strong leader and most often, had his way. So, at the time of the British takeover, the magistrates, as well as the elite they represent (and the Dutch Dominees of N.Y!) would not support him in resisting militarily. The laws and regulations put into place by Stuyvesant primarily benefited the upper class. The tradesmen, farmers and laborers usually got the short end of the stick. They did, however, benefit from the overall infrastructure improvements and the establishment of outlying villages. This is a classic example of the Class system in place at the time.

As noted earlier, James, the Catholic Duke of York, was given a patent for much of the eastern seaboard by his brother, King Charles II, in 1674. He immediately dispatched 4 ships and 2000 soldiers under Colonel Nicolls to secure this property. Nicolls arrived on August 26, 1664 and Stuyvesant capitulated a few weeks later without a fight. Stuyvesant had only a few hundred soldiers and townspeople to resist with and many of the townspeople were alienated from the Dutch West Indies Company, not desposed to fight. Over 90 of the most prominent citizens petitioned against resistance including the Dominees. On September 8, 1664 the Dutch flag was taken down; and the territory was renamed New York. The merchants and traders in now New York were content to be done with the West India Company. However, the "common men" in the outlying areas were displeased and somewhat bitter at the loss of their Dutch nation.

Since the Duke of York's takeover was from the Dutch West India Company, as the new "proprietor" the Duke had absolute power, actually more than the King had in England. However, he chose not to implement much of it (at first) since any destruction of the Dutch merchant class could bankrupt the colony. The Articles of Capitulation signed were extremely moderate and conciliatory. All the Dutch "common law" features were maintained, as well as theological freedom and the status quo of the merchants and the financial order.

Colonel Richard Nicolls, in charge of the victorious British army, was appointed governor and served until 1668. He ingratiated himself with the wealthy Dutch merchants, even becoming fast friends with ex-director Pieter Stuyvesant. Colonel Frances Lovelake, Nicolls' successor, proved equally solicitous. By the early 1670s wealthy merchants like the Van Rensselaers, who had been allowed to keep their patroonship, Schuyler, Van Cortlandt (ex-mayor), Beekman and Steenwyck were both richer and more in control of the town than ever.

However, the concept of STATUS reared its ugly head! The peripheral communities of Long Island, Staten Island etc. were made subject to a code of laws, called the "Duke's Laws". Now these were generally the common folk, farmers and the like. There was to be no voting in town affairs of representative government. They had to submit to new land surveys, registrations fees and taxes. The Dutch who comprised about 75% of the population were also forced to quarter English soldiers in their households. These matters resulted in a great deal of conflict and resentment. The greatest resentment was reserved for the wealthy merchants and the Dutch Dominees who were collaborating with the English and said to be little better than English flunkies.

In 1673 the Dutch got a brief reprieve. The Third Dutch war had started. A powerful Dutch fleet raided the Caribbean, seizing a fortune from the British possession there. They proceeded up the American coast attacking British shipping and arriving in New York in July. Helped by Dutch saboteurs, they seized the city and restored Dutch rule. English property was confiscated and their officials fired. All English laws were rescinded and everything Dutch was restored. Governor Lovelace was arrested and sent back to London where he was imprisoned for incompetence. The common folk were overjoyed and the city's defenses strengthened against any counterattack.

But this was not to be. In the spring of 1674, the Dutch (United Provinces) signed a peace treaty with England and returned New York to the British. The Dutch, victorious at sea, were being defeated by the French on land, and probably had little choice. The British returned in the personage of a Major Edmund Andros, the new British governor. He lost no time in restoring the old order with the merchant class and continued the practice of regulating the farmers and other laborers to serve the interests of the merchants. No one outside the city was allowed to sift flour, pack wheat, beef or pork for export. During his administration the coastal Indians again went to war with the white man. Andros arranged a treaty with the interior Indians (Iroquois) to the west. Called the Covenant Chain, it called for the Iroquois to attack the coastal Indians (Algonquin) and the French to the north. They would be joined by the English and the respective sides would each be dominant, the Iroquois to the west and the English to the east. This treaty would last for about 100 years.

During Andros' tenure the authority and independence of the Dutch Reformed Church was compromised. The governor insisted that the local New York Dominees ordain, against their wishes and theological protocol, two ministers to serve churches in Albany and New Castle, viz. Nicholas Van Rensselaer and Petrus Tesschenmaeker. Van Rensselaer was eccentric and of questionable orthodoxy. He had spent time in England and had been ordained as a deacon in the Church of England. In 1674 the Duke of York wrote to Governor Andros recommending Van Rensselaer to be minister in a Dutch Church. He had attended Leiden University in Holland and was somewhat qualified, but was not ordained by the Dutch hierarchy. Andros' appointment of him was gingerly protested by the Dominees and finally a letter to the New York consistory was written. In response, two New York City merchants, Jacob Leisler and Jacob Milbourne attended his sermons and pronounced him to be heterodox and guilty of heresy.

Van Rensselaer sued the foregoing gentlemen in court for libel. The matter went back and forth with first Van Renesselaer confined to house arrest for court costs, and then the merchants required to pay costs, with Milbourne arrested. Eventually the matter was dropped. Tesschenmaeker's appointment by the Governor was a similar occurrence. He was eminently qualified, but the problem was the British arrogation to themselves of ecclesiastical authority. Van Rensselaer was later removed from office by the Governor for his "bad and offensive life" and Tesschenmaeker deserted the New Castle Church for a congregation in Bergen, New Jersey and later, to Schenectady, New York.

These matters tended to undermine the Dutch Reformed Church and there was the problem of the Dominees' salaries, which the congregations were increasingly unwilling to pay. The English sometimes levied a tax to pay for these salaries which further alienated the congregations from their Dominees, who they increasingly viewed as lackeys of the British. The Van Rensselaer affair with Leisler and Milbourne was an omen of things to come.

In 1680 Governor Andros was forced out of office by new English merchants who were jealous of the cozy relationship between Andros and the Dutch merchants. He was recalled, but later vindicated and assigned to New England. In the meantime a new Governor, Thomas Dongan, was appointed. His tenure was much the same as previous governors. He crafted a "Charter of Liberties and Privileges" that essentially gave power to the Anglo Dutch merchant coalition and restricted the Dutch culture and economic interests of the working people. He favored a select group of insiders with huge land grants of hundreds of thousands of acres and favored himself with the same. Dongan was Catholic and brought Jesuit priests with him to New York. He named Catholics to strategic positions in his administration and started a Jesuit school. All these matters rankled many Dutch and led to simmering resentment.

In 1685 Charles II died and James II, the Catholic Duke of York became king. At the same time, the French King unleashed a tide of Huguenot emigrants to New York, fleeing the official brutality there caused by his revoking the Edict of Nantes. The New York Protestants, many of whom had a visceral hatred of Roman Catholicism, viewed these events with fear and foreboding. They noted James' congratulation to the French King for his actions and worried about an invasion from Catholic Canada, as well as the possibility of official Catholicism from their new king. They saw the makings of an international conspiracy that could bring government mandated Catholicism to their shores.

James II lost no time in revoking the "Charter of Liberties" and created a "super colony" by uniting New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and appointing Andros in 1688, the new Governor of same. He removed Dongan from office, appointed Frances Nicholson as Lieutenant Governor of New York and seized all the provincial records, taking them to Boston with him (his headquarters). This consolidation of James II's power did nothing to allay the Protestants' fears.

In November 1688, ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE! Putting it any other way would be disingenuous. In Europe, as discussed previously, the Protestant Dutch Stadholder William and his wife Mary accepted the throne of England in the "Bloodless Glorious Revolution." It also established the supremacy of Parliament and moderated the theory of royal absolutism in England. The news reached Lieutenant Governor Nicholson in April 1689, a few weeks ahead of the population. He concealed it for six weeks. Then it was found out that Andros, the Boston Provisional Governor was under arrest and would be sent back to England in chains. News also arrived that England was going to war with Catholic France. Rumors spread that French Quebec would attack the colonies in the fall and conquer the Protestants. And later,the French actually did attack Schenectady, New York killing 60 people, including Dominee Petrus Tesschenmaeker.

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