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with whom he had often played truant and sailed chip boats in a neighboring pond, when they were little boys—from whence it is said the commodore first derived his bias towards a sea-faring life. Certain it is, that the old people about Limehouse declared Robert Juet to be an unlucky urchin, prone to mischief, that would one day or other come to the gallows.
He grew up as boys of that kind often grow up, a rambling, heedless varlet, tossed about in all quarters of the world—meeting with more perils and wonders than did Sindbad the Sailor, without growing a whit more wise, prudent, or ill-natured. Under every missortune, he comforted himself with a quid of tobacco, and the truly philosophic maxim, that "it will be all the same thing a hundred years hence.” He was skilled in the art of carving anchors and true lovers' knots on the bulk-lieads and quarter-railings, and was considered a great wit on board ship, in consequence of his playing pranks on every body around, and now and then even making a wry face at old Hendrick, when his back was turned.
To this universal genius are we indebted for many particulars concerning this voyage; of which he wrote a history, at the request of the commodore, who had an unconquerable aversion to writing himself, from having received so many floggings about it when at school. To supply the deficiencies of master Juet’s jouroal, which is written with true log-book brevity, I have availed myself of divers family traditions, handed down from my great great-grandfather, who accompanied the expedition in the capacity of cabin-boy.
From all that I can learn, few incidents worthy of remark hap pened in the voyage ; and it mortifies me exceedingly that I have to admit so noted an expedition into my work, without making any more of it.
Suffice it to say, the voyage was prosperous and tranquil—the crew, being a patient people, much given to slumber and vacuity, and but little troubled with the disease of thinking-a malady of the mind, which is the sure breeder of discontent. Hudson had laid in abundance of gin and sourcrout, and every man was allowed to sleep quietly at his post unless the wind blew. True it is, some slight disaffection was shown on two or three occasions, at certain unreasonable conduct of Commodore Hudson. Thus, for instance, he forbore to shorten sail when the wind was light, and the weather serene, which was considered among the most experienced Dutch seamen, as certain weather-breeders, or prognostics, that the weather would change for the worse. moreover, in direct contradiction to that ancient and sage rule of the Dutch navigators, who always took in sail at night-put the helm a-port, and turned in—by which precaution they had a good night's rest—were sure of knowing where they were the next morning, and stood but little chance of running down a continent in the dark. He likewise prohibited the seamen from wearing more than five jackets and six pair of breeches, under pretence of rendering them more alert ; and no man was permitted to go aloft, and hand in sails with a pipe in his mouth, as is the invariable Dutch custom at the present day. All these grievances, though they might ruffle for a moment the constitutional tranquillity of the honest Dutch tars, made but transient impression; they eat hugely, drank profusely, and slept immeasurably, and being under the especial guidance of Providence, the ship was safely conducted to the coast of America ; where, after sundry
unimportant touchings and standings off and on), she at length, on the fourth day of September, entered that majestic bay, which at this day expands its ample bosom before the city of New York, and which had never before been visited by any European.*
It has been traditionary in our family, that when the great navigator was first blessed with a view of this enchanting island, he was observed, for the first and only time in his life, to exhibit strong symptoms of astonishment and admiration. He is said to have turned to master Juet, and uttered these remarkable words, while he pointed towards this paradise of the new world—See! there !”—and thereupon, as was always his way when he was uncommonly pleased, he did puff out such clouds of dense tobacco smoke, that in one minute the vessel was out of sight of land, and master Juet was fain to wait until the winds dispersed this impenetrable fog.
* True it is—and I am not ignorant of the fact, that in a certain aprocry. phal book of voyages, compiled by one Hakluyt, is to be found a letter written to Francis the First, by one Giovanne, or John Verazzani, on which some writers are inclined to found a belief that this delightful bay had been visited nearly a century previous to the voyage of the enterprising Hudson. Now this (albeit it has met with the countenance of certain very judicious and learned men) I hold in utter disbelief, and that for various good and substantial reasons: First, Because on strict examination it will be found, that the description given by this Verazzanı applies about as well to the bay of New-York as it does to my night-cap. Secondly, Because that this John Verazzani, for whom I already begin to feel a most bitter enmity, is a native of Florence ; and every body knows the crafty wiles of these losel Florentines, by which they filched away the laurels from the brows of the immortal Colon, (vulgarly called Columbus,) and bestowed them on their officious townsman, Amerigo Vespuccı; and ( make no doubt they are equally ready to rob the illustrious Hudson of the kredit of discovering this beautiful island, adorned by the city of New York, and placing it beside their usurped discovery of South America. And, thirdly, I award my decision in favor of the pretensions of Hendrick Hudson, inasmuch as his expedition sailed from Holland, being truly and absolutely a Dutch enterprise-and though all the proofs in the world were introduced on the other side, I would set them at naught, as undeserving my attention. If these three reasons be not sufficient to satisfy every burgher of this ancient city-all I can say is, they are degenerate descendants from their venerable Datch ancestors, and totally unworthy the trouble of convincing. Thus, therefore, the title of Hendrick Hudson to his renowned discovery is fully vindicated.
It was indeed—as my great-grandfather used to say-thougt in truth I never heard him, for he died, as might be expected, before I was born—" It was indeed a spot on which the eye might have reveled for ever, in ever new and never ending beauties.” The island of Mannahata spread wide before them, like some sweet vision of fancy, or some fair creation of industrious magic. Its hills of smiling green swelled gently one above another, crowned with lofty trees of luxuriant growth; some pointing their tapering foliage towards the clouds, which were gloriously transparent; and others loaded with a verdant burthen of clambering vines, bowing their branches to the earth, that was covered with flowers. On the gentle declivities of the hills were scattered in gay profusion, the dog-wood, the sumach, and the wild brier, whose scarlet berries and white blossoms glowed brightly among the deep green of the surrounding foliage ; and here and there a curling column of smoke rising from the little glens that opened along the shore, seemed to promise the weary voyagers a welcome at the hands of their fellow creatures. As they stood gazing with entranced attention on the scene before them, a red man, crowned with feathers, issued from one of these glens, and after contemplating in silent wonder the gallant ship, as she sat like a stately swan swimming on a silver lake, sounded the warhoop, and bounded into the woods like a wild deer, to the utter astonishment of the phlegmatic Dutchmen, who had never heard such a noise, or witnessed such a caper in their whole lives.
Of the transactions of our adventurers with the savages, and how the latter smoked copper pipes, and ate dried currants; how they brought great store of tobacco and oysters ; how they shot one of the ship's crew, and how he was buried, I shall say nothing; being that I consider them unimportant to my history. After tarrying a few days in the bay, in order to refresh the mselves after their sea-faring, our voyagers weighed anchor, to explore a mighty river which emptied into the bay. This river, it is said, was known among the savages by the name of the Shatemuck; though we are assured in an excellent little history published in 1674, by John Josselyn, Gent., that it was called the Mohegan,* and master Richard Bloome, who wrote some time afterwards, asserts the same—so that I very much incline in favor of the opinion of these two honest gentlemen. Be this as it may, up this river did the adventurous Hendrick proceed, little doubting but it would turn out to be the much looked for passage to China !
The journal goes on to make mention of divers interviews between the crew and the natives, in the voyage up the river; but as they would be impertinent to my history, I shall pass over them in silence, except the following dry joke, played off by the old commodore and his school-fellow, Robert Juet, which does
* This river is likewise laid down in Ogilvy's map as Manhattan-Noordı Montaigne and Mauritius river.