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

Idle Days

While I waited, making myself as small as possible lest the Director should see me and remember that he had threatened to throw me into prison, the people were growing more and more discontented because of Master Stuyvesant's not ceasing to punish Lutherans, Baptists, or Quakers when they refused to attend the Dutch church.

Many a one threatened, in private, to do what he might toward teaching the Director a lesson, if a fitting chance came his way, and I have been told that a dozen or more Dutchmen, who had friends in power in Holland, sent to the West India Company many complaints concerning Master Stuyvesant, praying that he might be deprived of his office.

It was during these idle days that I learned, because of asking many questions, much concerning the village of Hartford, which had been begun by the preacher Hooker, and all who went to his church in New Town of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

These people wanted a village of their own, therefore entered the forest with but little of goods, suffering much in the battle with the wilderness, but coming out victors owing to their industry.

While we of New Amsterdam had built a city, we could count no more than fifteen hundred people in it, and this settlement on the Connecticut river, which was by this time made up of three villages, boasted of more than eight hundred persons.

It was to Hartford I would first go when a fitting opportunity came, so I said to myself after hearing all that could be told concerning these people, and to such an end I began to make plans.

Wherever I might go, however, I could not find so much to please the eye as in New Amsterdam, for the English people in this New World are much more prim and sedate, both in manner and dress, than are the Dutch.

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