Page images

After this ther was many passages between them both by letters and other entercourse; and they had some profitable commerce togither for diverce years, till other occasions interrupted the same, as may happily appear afterwards, more at large.

with a letter that contained a threat but thinly veiled. Bradford advised the Dutch to come to some understanding with the English king, and warned them of the danger of capture at the hands of English trading or fishing ships should their vessels be found trading in New England. Bradford Letter Book, 53.

"would procure us envy from others in the land, and that at one time or other, our enemies would take occasion to raise slanders and frame accusations against us for it; therefore, to prevent their malice, as also to shew the sincerity of our dealing and our loyal and dutiful respect to his Majesty and the Honourable Council for New England," he sent copies of their first interchange of letters to the Council, and wrote on his own behalf to the Council and to Gorges. These letters are in Bradford Letter Book, 56.

Nor did Minuit remain idle. Recognizing the danger which the English claims involved he wrote to his employers asking for troops. The Assembly of the xix, in whose keeping had been placed the interests of the

Setor Minnick Sirickteur

16 (N. S.), 1627: "The last letters from New Netherland bring word, that the English of New Plymouth threaten to drive away those there, or to disturb them in their settlement and little colony, notwithstanding our's heretofore had tendered to them every good correspondence and friendship. They therefore request the aid of forty Soldiers for their defence. We would rather see it secured by friendly alliance." Col. Hist. of New York, 1. 38.

Some years later, Mason sought to excite the British ministers to take some measures against the Dutch, and wrote in April, 1632: "And albeit they [the Dutch] were warned by the English plantation at New Plymmouth to forbeare trade and not to make any settlement in those partes, letting them know that they were the territories of the King of England, yett nevertheless with proude and contumacious answers (saying they had commission to fight against such as should disturbe their settlement) they did persist to plant and trade, vilefying our Nation to the Indians and extolling their owne people and countrye of Holland, and have made sundry good returnes of commodities from thence into Holland." Col. Hist. of New York, 111. 17.

plantation, wrote to the States-General, November

The information given by these letters of Bradford served to bolster up the complaints made by Captain John Mason against the Dutch. Sir Ferdinando Gorges wished to come to Mason's aid, but he had been injured by a fall from his horse, and was unable to travel to London. He wrote to Mason, April 6, 1632: "I am sory to

Before they sent Mr. Allerton away for England1 this year, the Gove[rno]r and some of their cheefe freinds had serious consideration, not only how they might discharge those great ingagements which lay so heavily upon them, as is affore mentioned, but also how they might (if possiblie they could) devise means to help some of their freinds and breethren of Leyden over unto them, who desired so much to come to them, and they desired as much their company. To effecte which, they resolved to rune a high course, and of great adventure, not knowing otherwise how to bring it aboute. Which was to hire the trade of the company for certaine years, and in that time to undertake to pay that 1800li. and all the rest of the debts that then lay upon the plantation, which was aboute some 6ooli. more; and so to set them free, and returne the trade to the generalitie againe at the end of the terme. Upon which resolution they called the company togeither, and made it clearly appear unto all what their debts were, and upon what terms they would undertake to pay them all in shuch a time, and sett them clear. But their other ends they were faine to keepe secrete, haveing only privatly acquaynted some of their trusty freinds therwith; which were glad of the same, but doubted how they would be able to performe it. So after some agitation of the thing with the company, it was yeelded unto, and the agreemente made upon the conditions following.2

heere you are soe poorely seconded in a matter soe just and honorable. I conceive you may have from Mr. Shirly a coppy of that which came to my hands from those of New Plymouth, with more particulars than came to mee. Itt may please you that hee may bee spoken with about it. I doubt not but att my cominge, I shalbee able to give both his Majestie and the Lords sufficient satisfaccon for to fortifie the justefyinge (not the stay of the shipp onely) but to prosecute their displanting from thence." Col. Hist. of New York, 111. 18.

1 In a letter to the Dutch, October 1, 1627, Bradford speaks of having sent "our factor into England and Holland about our trade and supplies."

2 In his Letter Book Bradford somewhat enlarges upon the objects of this agreement: "Being thus deeply engaged, and a few only of us being bound to make payment of all, yea, in a double bond; for besides our formal bonds, it was our credits and

Articles of agreemente betweene the collony of New-Plimmoth of the one partie, and William Bradford, Captein Myles Standish, Isaack Allerton, etc. one the other partie; and shuch others as they shall thinke good to take as partners and undertakers with them, concerning the trade for beaver and other furrs and comodities, etc.; made July, 1627.

First, it is agreed and covenanted betweexte the said parties, that the afforsaid William Bradford, Captain Myles Standish, and Isaack Allerton,1 etc.,2 have undertaken, and doe by these presents, covenante and agree to pay, discharge, and acquite the said collony of all the

honesty that made our friends rest and rely upon us, assuring themselves, that if we lived and it was possible, we should see them have their monies: Therefore we thought it our safest and best course to come to some agreement with the people, to have the whole trade consigned to us for some years; and so in the time to take upon us, to pay all the debts and set them free: Another reason which moved us to take this heavy burthen upon our shoulders was, our great desire to transport as many of our brethren of Leyden over unto us, as we could, but without this course we could never have done it, all here being (for peace and unity's sake) made joint purchasers with us, and every one thereby had as much interest as ourselves; and many were very opposite here against us in respect of the great charge: Again we well knew, that, except we followed our trading roundly, we should never be able to do the one or the other; therefore we sought means to have our patent enlarged, and to have some good trading places included therein; that if we could not keep them thereby wholly to ourselves, yet that none should exclude or thrust us wholly out of them, as we well knew that some would have done, if we now had not laid hold of the opportunity: Therefore Mr. Allerton was sent over to prosecute these things, and to acquaint those few of our friends in England, whom the year before were joined purchasers with us, what agreements we had made and concluded with our people, and for what ends, and so to offer them to be our partners in trade and the whole business; writing our letters unto them for that end." 59.

1 These three made choice of others to be associated with them as undertakers Edward Winslow, William Brewster, John Howland, John Alden and Thomas Prence, "and though they knew not their minds before (many of them being absent) yet they did presume they would join with them in the thing, as afterward they did." The London associates were James Sherley, John Beauchamp, Richard Andrews and Timothy Hatherley. Letter Book. Allerton seems to have had closer relations with the London partners than with those of New Plymouth, a circumstance which led him into courses that in the event proved generally disastrous.

The "etc." stands for "and such others as they shall take unto them."

debtes both due for the purchass, or any other belonging to them, at the day of the date of these presents. [153]

Secondly, the above-said parties are to have and freely injoye the pinass latly builte, the boat at Manamett, and the shalop, called the Bass-boat, with all other implements to them belonging, that is in the store of the said company; with all the whole stock of furrs, fells, beads, corne, wampampeak, hatchets, knives, etc. that is now in the storre, or any way due unto the same uppon accounte.

3ly. That the above said parties have the whole trade to them selves their heires and assignes, with all the privileges therof, as the said collonie doth now, or may use the same, for 6. full years, to begine the last of September next insuing.

4ly. In furder consideration of the discharge of the said debtes, every severall purchaser doth promise and covenante yearly to pay, or cause to be payed, to the above said parties, during the full terme of the said 6 years, 3 bushells of corne, or 6li. of tobaco, at the undertakers choyse.

5ly. The said undertakers shall dureing the afforesaid terme bestow 5oli. per annum, in hose and shoese, to be brought over for the collonies use, to be sould unto them for corne at 6s. per bushell.


6ly. That at the end of the said terme of 6 years, the whole trade shall returne to the use and benefite of the said collonie, as before.

Lastly, if the afforesaid undertakers, after they have aquainted their freinds in England with these covenants, doe (upon the first returne) resolve to performe them, and undertake to discharge the debtes of the said collony, according to the true meaning and intente of these presents, then they are (upon shuch notice given) to stand in full force; otherwise all things to remaine as formerly they were, and a true accounte to be given to the said collonie, of the disposing of all things according to the former order.1

1 From the Letter Book are obtained the names of the signers of this agreement, and Bradford states, “this agreement was by these subscribed; for some would not subscribe, and some were from home."




Mr. Allerton carried a coppy of this agreemente with him into England, and amongst other his instructions had order given him. to deale with some of their speciall freinds, to joyne with them in this trade upon the above recited conditions; as allso to imparte their further ends that moved them to take this course, namly, the helping over of some their freinds from Leyden, as they should be able; in which if any of them would joyne with them they should thankfully accepte of their love and partnership herein. And with all (by their letters) gave them some grounds of their hopes of the accomplishmente of these things with some advantage.


MANAS. KEMPTON THOMAS PRence ANTHONY ANABLE JOHN SHAW WILLIAM BASSETT This monopoly of the trade in beaver and other commodities was apparently renewed after the expiration of the first period of six years, though no record of formal action upon it exists; for in 1637 the question again came up for regulation, as will be noted under that year. The Dutch West India Company exported from New Netherland in 1626,7,258 beavers and 857 otters, etc., the whole valued at 45,050 guilders; in 1627, 7,520 beavers, and 370 otters, etc., valued at 12,720 guilders; and in 1628, 6,951 beavers, and 734 otters, etc., valued at 61,075 guilders. It is difficult to explain the low valuation for 1627, unless an unusual demand or very valuable furs raised the values in the other two years. Writing about this time Father Charles L'Allemant speaks of beaver skins forming the real wealth of the Indians in Canada, and in the exchange of which the traders find their greatest profit. In one year from 12,000 to 15,000 skins would be obtained at one pistole each (about 16/) “which is not doing badly." Jesuit Relations (Thwaites), Iv. 207. The Dutch ship Eendracht, which went into the harbor of Plymouth, England, in June, 1632, had five thousand beaver skins in her cargo. Sir Ferdinando Gorges and the Council for New England sought to have her held on the ground that her cargo had been obtained from English possessions, and that the Dutch were appropriating English territories. The Dutch representatives protested against the seizure, and carrying the matter to the King were told that the High Mightinesses had, at the request of his father [James I] interdicted their subjects from trading in those parts; but he was not certain of his right in the case, and could not release the vessel. Brodhead, History of New York, 214.





« PreviousContinue »