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

Dull Trade

It seems to me, as I look back upon it, that at about the time Master Stuyvesant was hunting down with such a heavy hand those people who did not come regularly to the Dutch church, preferring to hear some other preacher, that our trade in furs fell off in a manner to cause alarm.

As a matter of course we did not reckon that time when the savages were bent on killing us, and, therefore, remained away entirely; but as compared with what we took in when matters with the Indians were most friendly, we were losing ground rapidly.

With the Swedes driven out of the land, it surely seemed as if the Wcst India Company should have been able to get, by trading, all the pelts taken by the Indians, and yet, from all I could hear, I knew that not more than one half were coming our way. In addition to this, the savages were bent on driving keener bargains, as if there were people close around who were offering bigger prices than we of New Amsterdam.

All this caused me no little trouble of mind, for although it was not my concern to go abroad urging the Indians to come in for trade, I knew that more than a fair share of blame would attach to me when the profits of the year were reckoned.

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