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the poor savages were wondrously delighted. They instructed the new settlers in the best art of curing and smoking tobacco, while the latter, in return, made them drunk with true Hollandsand then taught them the art of making bargains.
A brisk trade for furs was soon opened: the Dutch traders were scrupulously honest in their dealings, and purchased by weight, establishing it as an invariable table of avoirdupois, that the hand of a Dutchman weighed one pound, and his foot two pounds. It is true, the simple Indians were often puzzled by the great disproportion between bulk and weight, for let them placi a "* bundle of furs, never so large, in one scale, and a Dutchman put his hand or foot in the other, the bundle was sure to kick the beam-never was a package of furs known to weigh more than two pounds in the market of Communipaw!
This is a singular fact—but I have it direct from my greatgreat-grandfather, who had risen to considerable importance in the colony, being promoted to the office of weigh-master, on account of the uncommon heaviness of his foot.
The Dutch possessions in this part of the globe began now to assume a very thriving appearance, and were comprehended under the general title of Nieuw Nederlandts, on account, as the sage Vander Donck observes, of their great resemblance to the Dutch Netherlands—which indeed was truly remarkable, excepting that the former were rugged and mountainous, and the latter level and marshy. About this time the tranquillity of the Dutch colonists was doomed to suffer a temporary interruption. In 1614, Captain Sir Samuel Argal, sailing under a commission from Dale, governor of Virginia, visited the Dutch settlements on Hudson River, and demanded their submission to the English crown and Virginian dominion. To this arrogant demand, as
they were in no condition to resist it, they submitted for the time, like discreet and reasonable men.
It does not appear that the valiant Argal molested the settlement of Communipaw; on the contrary, I am told that when his vessel first hove in sight, the worthy burghers were seized with such a panic, that they fell to smoking their pipes with astonishing vehemence; insomuch that they quickly raised a cloud, which, combining with the surrounding woods and marshes, completely enveloped and concealed their beloved village, and overhung the fair regions of Pavonia—so that the terrible Captain Argal passed on, totally unsuspicious that a sturdy little Dutch settlenient lay snugly couched in the mud, under cover of all this pestilent vapor. In commemoration of this fortunate escape, the worthy inhabitants have continued to smoke, almost without intermission, unto this very day; which is said to be the cause of the remarkable fog which often hangs over Communipaw of a clear afternoon.
Upon the departure of the enemy, our worthy ancestors took full six months to recover their wind and get over the consternation into which they had been thrown. They then called a council of safety to smoke over the state of the province. At this council presided one Oloffe Van Kortlandt, a personage who was held in great reverence among the sages of Communipaw for the variety and darkness of his knowledge. He had originally been one of a set of peripatetic philosophers who passed much of their time sunning themselves on the side of the great canal of Amsterdam in Holland; enjoying, like Diogenes, a free and unincumbered estate in sunshine. His name Kortlandt (Shortland or Lackland) was supposed, like that of the illustrious Jean Sansterre, to indicate that he had no land ; but he insisted, on the contrary, that he had great landed estates somewhere in Terra
Incognita ; and he had come out to the new world to look after them. He was the first great land speculator that we read of in
Like all land speculators, he was much given to dreaming. Never did any thing extraordinary happen at Communipaw but he declared that he had previously dreamt it; being one of those infallible prophets who predict events after they have come to pass. This supernatural gift was as highly valued among the burghers of Pavonia as among the enlightened nations of antiquity. The wise Ulysses was more indebted to his sleeping than his waking moments for his most subtle achievements, and seldom undertook any great exploit without first soundly sleeping upon it; and the same may be said of Oloffe Van Kortlandt, who was hence aptly denominated Oloffe the Dreamer.
As yet his dreams and speculations had turned to little personal profit; and he was as much a lack-land as ever. Still he carried a high head in the community ; if his sugar-loaf hat was rather the worse for wear, he set it off with a taller cock’s-tail ; if his shirt was none of the cleanest, he puffed it out the more at the bosom ; and if the tail of it peeped out of a hole in his breeches, it at least proved that it really had a tail and was not mere ruffle.
The worthy Van Kortlandt, in the council in question, urged the policy of emerging from the swamps of Communipaw and seeking some more eligible site for the seat of empire. Such, he said, was the advice of the good St. Nicholas, who had appeared to him in a dream the night before; and whom he had known by his broad hat, his long pipe, and the resemblance which he bore to the figure on the bow of the Goede Vrouw.
Many have thought this dream was a mere invention of Oloffe
an Kortlandt; who, it is said, had ever regarded Communipaw with an evil eye because he had arrived there after all the land had been shared out, and who was anxious to change the seat of empire to some new place, where he might be present at the distribution of “town lots.” But we must not give heed to such insinuations, which are too apt to be advanced against those wortly gentlemen engaged in laying out towns, and in other land speculations. For my own part, I am disposed to place the same implicit faith in the vision of Oloffe the Dreamer that was mani fested by the honest burghers of Communipaw, who one and all agreed that an expedition should be forthwith fitted out to go on a voyage of discovery in quest of a new seat of empire.
This perilous enterprise was to be conducted by Oloffe him. self; who chose as lieutenants or coadjutors Mynheers Abraham Hardenbroeck, Jacobus Van Zandt, and Winant Ten Broeck-three indubitably great men, but of whose history, although I have made diligent inquiry, I can learn but little previous to their leaving Holland. Nor need this occasion much surprise ; for adventurers, like prophets, though they make great noise abroach have seldom much celebrity in their own countries; but this much is certain, that the overflowings and off'scourings of a country are invariably composed of the richest parts of the soil. And here I cannot help remarking how convenient it would be to many of our great men and great families of doubtful origin, could they have the privilege of the heroes of yore, who, whenever their origin was involved in obscurity, modestly announced themselves descended from a god—and who never visited a foreign country but what they told some cock and bull stories about their being kings and princes at home. This venal trespass on the truth, though it has been occasionally played off by some
pseudo marquis, baronet, and other illustrious foreigner, in our land of good-natured credulity, has been completely discountevanced in this skeptical, matter of fact age—and I even question whether any tender virgin, who was accidentally and unaccountably enriched with a bantling, would save her character at parlor firesides and evening tea-parties by ascribing the phenomenon to a swan, a shower of gold, or a river god.
Had I the benefit of mythology and classic fable above alluded to, I should have furnished the first of the trio with a pedigree equal to that of the proudest hero of antiquity. His name, Van Zandt, that is to say, from the sand, or in common parlance, from the dirt, gave reason to suppose that like Triptolemus, Themes, the Cyclops and the Titans, he had sprung from Dame Terra, or the earth! This supposition is strongly corroborated by his size, for it is well known that all the progeny of mother earth were of a gigantic stature; and Van Zandt, we are told, was a tall, rawboned man, above six feet high-with an astonishingly hard head. Nor is this origin of the illustrious Van Zandt a whit more improbable or repugnant to belief than what is related and universally admitted of certain of our greatest, or rather richest men; who, we are told with the utmost gravity, did originally spring from a dunghill!
Of the second of the trio, but faint accounts have reached to this time, which mention that he was a sturdy, obstinate, worry. ing, bustling little man; and, from being usually equipped in an old pair of buckskins, was familiarly dubbed Harden Broeck ; that is to say, Hard in the Breech; or, as it was generally rendered, Tough Breeches.
Ten Broeck completed this junto of adventurers. It is a singular but ludicrous fact, which, were I not scrupulous in record