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

Time for Sight-Seeing

When the Secretary proposed that I take some time for pleasure, claiming to do so only for my good,— although, as a matter of fact, I believe it was but his purpose to learn whether or no I had been doing my full duty by the Company,—I took advantage of the offer.

If any could do better for New Amsterdam than I, then it was time a change was made in the office of storekeeper and trader, this being my title at the time, as can be shown by the records in Holland. I had nothing to conceal, having ever done my work to the best of my ability, and Master Van Tienhoven had free permission, so far as I was concerned, to search for flaws.

I may as well say at once, that he never found anything in my conduct deserving of blame, although I did not hold my office quite so long as the West India Company did business in America.

However, Master Tienhoven was so far my friend that he gave me many an opportunity of wandering about the town, which was almost strange to me, after having been kept at work in the storehouse so long.

The Indian village was no longer to be seen. When Master Kieft stirred up so much trouble with the savages, the last one of the Manhattans fled to the forest, there, most like, to join with our enemies against us, nor did we see any of them save when they came in with furs or wild fowl for barter.

Where the village of the Manhattans had stood were gardens and houses, many built of stone in the Dutch style, and in front of the fort, from the lower bastion to the water's edge, was the green, or the common, where the soldiers paraded on feast days that people might admire them.

Inside the fort, and not far from my storehouse, was the church of stone built by Master Kieft, the jail, the dwelling of the Director, concerning which I have already told you, and low stone barracks, or quarters for the soldiers, while on the northernmost bastion was a wind-mill, made after the fashion of those in Holland.


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