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

Making Ready for War

Straightway there was much marching to and fro by the soldiers; and great scurrying by the seamen, who were at once set about carrying cannon and ammunition aboard the vessels, for Master Stuyvesant had decided he would fit out a fleet of no less than seven ships.


The trumpeters were sent up and down the land to every Dutch farm and settlement calling for those who were willing to aid in driving out the Swedes, to present themselves at the fort that they might be drilled and equipped, and many there were who obeyed the summons.

Those were idle days for me. No one thought of trading, and if peradventure a solitary Indian did venture into the city with a bundle of furs, he saw so much in the way of war-like preparations, that he scurried away, forgetting his desire for beads or cloth, to tell his people that the Dutch of New Netherlands were making ready to drive every other person off from the face of the earth.

Master Tienhoven no longer visited the storehouse, because of being busy with taking down the names of those who would join Director Stuyvesant's army, and I was at liberty to wander at will around the fort, if I but kept a watchful eye over my quarters, in case any came who was brave enough to venture in for trade where was so much of military preparations.

More than once I said to myself that if Master Minuit could have been spared to the Swedes, our people would not have an easy task of driving them away; but I knew, from word brought a long time before, that he was no longer in this world; therefore, perhaps, Director Stuyvesant would be able to work the will of the West India Company.

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