Gateway to the Classics: Peter of Amsterdam by James Otis
Peter of Amsterdam by  James Otis

Dismissed by Master Stuyvesant

Had I been a Lutheran preacher, or a Quaker, I could not have been treated more shamefully. Instead of questioning as to why our trade was growing small, in which case I should have told him that in my belief it was owing to the English colony in the country of Connecticut, he cried out upon me in a most violent rage, declaring that I had been spending my time breeding discontent among the people, instead of having a watchful eye over the interests of the Company.

And this when I had never been outside the fort, save while Master Tienhoven was in the storehouse giving the advice that I take my ease!

Nor was this the end of the matter; it seemed as if, being in a bad humor, he was bent on venting his spleen upon me, and without giving any reasons, other than as I have told you, the Director declared that I was no longer in the employ of the Company.

When I spoke to him of the rule that a store-keeper may not be deprived of his office save by the Council of the Company in Holland, he called me a mutinous hound, and threatened that if I showed myself inside the fort after the sun had set, I would be thrown into prison.


I knew full well that I would be powerless if he did such a wicked thing, for of course the word of the Director would be heeded by the Company when set against one of the lower officers like myself, therefore did I hold my temper in check, striving to look the submission which I did not feel.

It is no more than just that I should give Kryn Gildersleeve credit for grieving over the injustice that had been done me; but he could not mend matters, even if I would have had him, and two hours before sunset I had made a bargain for lodgings on the plantation belonging to Martin Kip, who was glad to have in his family one who knew the Indians so well that he might be expected to get some hint if the savages were bent on more mischief.


I had known Martin for many a year, he having come over in the Sea Mew when I did, and trusted him for a true friend, if so be he was not called upon for an outlay of money.

To him I told my plans for joining one of the English colonies, and much to my surprise he gave me his reasons for believing that I would soon be in an English colony, if I remained in New Amsterdam taking good care not to show myself in such a manner as would arouse Director Stuyvesant's ire.

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