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

Orders from Holland

We had settled down to the belief that while Director Stuyvesant ruled us with an iron hand, neither allowing the people nor the West India Company to interfere with his wishes, he was improving the city, when orders came from Holland which aroused us all to the highest pitch of excitement.

The West India Company had sent positive commands that the Swedes, whom Master Minuit had settled on South River, were to be driven out from their posts, and there was not a Dutchman in New Amsterdam who did not burn with the desire to have a hand in the driving; as if this big country of America were not large enough for all the Swedes and the Dutchmen that might want to live in it.

Now you must know that when Master Minuit was made governor of the Swedish people on South River, there had already been built there a fort by the Dutch, which was called Casimer. This the Swedish people captured and changed its name to that of Trinity. When Master Minuit came, he built a fort on the river above Trinity, and named it Christina, in honor of the Swedish Queen.

They were not bad neighbors, these Swedish people whom the Queen had advised to make a home in the NewWorld. They minded their own business far better than did either the Dutch or the English, and were at peace with the savages, dealing honestly by them and treating them as if they were equals; therefore, why the West India Company should want them driven out of the New World was more than I could then, or can yet, explain to my own satisfaction.

However, the order had come that these people, who had been harming no one, be deprived of the homes which they had built in the wilderness, and there was in my mind the belief that Director Stuvvesant was only too well pleased to receive such commands.

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