Hudson Bay Company

Picture above: Drawing of a canoe voyage of the Hudson's Bay Company, 1825, Peter Rindisbacher. Courtesy Library and Archives Canada via Wikipedia Commons. Right: Drawing of New Amsterdam, 1664, Johannes Vingboons. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

New Amsterdam

Pre-Revolution Timeline - The 1600s


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  • Timeline

  • 1673/1674 Detail

    August 9, 1673 - Dutch forces recapture the colony of New York (New Amsterdam) from the British, but would only be able to hold power in the area for one year.

    February 19, 1674 - Treaty of Westminster ends the Third Anglo-Dutch War between England and the Netherlands, and officially cedes New Amsterdam, New York, to England.

    New Amsterdam

    As the Third Anglo-Dutch war was coming to an end, a new treaty, the Treaty of Westminster, was negotiated. It was hoped that it would be more effective than the Treaty of Breda that had ended the Second Anglo-Dutch War, which barely lasted five years before the third war began. Spoiler alert! It would not. There would be a Fourth Anglo-Dutch War.

    It was an odd war, as most are, with rationale that seemed to make sense at the time, but looks rather foolish today. One contention in the Third Anglo-Dutch War was the sense among the English that the Dutch wanted to make them Roman Catholic again. Before we go too much further, that rumor was not helped by the secret agreement between King Charles II of England and King Louis XIV of France on June 1, 1670 in the Treaty of Dover that he would convert sometime in the future. On April 6-7, 1672, the war began, with first France, then England, declaring war. By May 4, French troops began their offensive against the Netherlands. By June, English and French ships were preparing a blockade, but were attacked by the Dutch at the Battle of Solebay. It was an effective draw, preventing the blockade, but the French had been successful on land, capturing three dozen fortresses within one month.

    Throughout the war, various attempts at peace were negotiated, but not completed. It became a war of attrition. For the English, their public was not on board with the war as it lasted another year, still wary of the Treaty of Dover, and thinking that they had been abandoned by the French at Solebay. By 1673, Parliament had refused to fund the war unless King Charles II rescinded his Declaration of Indulgence, which extended religious liberties to Roman Catholics and non-conformist Protestants.

    But how did this affect the colonies of America? On August 9, 1673, Dutch forces recaptured the colony of New York (New Amsterdam) from the British.

    Recapture of New York and the Eventual Peace

    Twenty-one ships and six hundred soldiers from the Netherlands sailed into New York under the command of Cornelius Evertsen and Jacob Benckes of Zeeland. They attacked Fort James (Fort Amsterdam) on August 8, 1673 with eight warships and landed soldiers for a ground assault. The English were caught unprepared. Captain Manning, in command due to the absence of their Governor, Francis Lovelace, who was in Hartford, Connecticut meeting with counterpart Governor John Winthrop, Jr. about a shared postal system, surrendered one day later. The Dutch had captured back their beloved New Amsterdam. Odd thing is, both sides were not pleased. The English under the Duke of York recalled Governor Lovelace, and put him in the Tower of London for three months for not defending the English colony and allowing the Dutch to recapture it. Upon Evertsen's return to the Netherlands in July 1774, the Dutch accused him a disobeying orders. He was ordered to attack the British colonies of Saint Helena and Cayenne, not New York.

    Despite the consternation on the New Netherlands side, for the next year, administration of the colony and court proceedings returned to Dutch. The city was renamed New Orange. A new governor, Anthony Colve, was installed and the fort also renamed. It would be known as Fort Willem Hendrick in honor of William III of England, now Stadtholder and Prince of Orange. City defenses were improved, with the wall built from the stones of nearby houses. The wall was to include two bastions from a plan dating back to the previous Dutch administration.

    The wall was never put to use, as the English, their homes now confiscated and many put to work for the Dutch, were not pleased and began to lobby for the war to end. They now wanted a treaty that could reestablish their control of New York in the colonies. And thus began the negotiations for the Treaty of Westminster, with a complicated set of goals and rationale, most, yet some, having nothing to do with the American colonies. King Charles II, thinking that Parliament would no longer pay for the war anyway, wanted it do end, but also wanted indemnities paid. The Dutch balked, thinking that their victory did not entitle England any rewards. King William of Orange thought that peace, even with rewards to England, might convince England to eventually fight France. The Spanish were willing to attack France, but only if the English made peace, and thus stayed away from their American colonies. Whew!

    On January 4, 1674, the Netherlands drafted a peace proposal. On Feburary 19 (New date), 1674, a final draft was presented to King Charles II for his signature.

    Back in New Amsterdam (New Orange), Dutch Governor Colve, received word of the Treaty of Westminster, then handed back the city of New York to Major Edmund Andros and England on November 11, 1674. While the English had New York returned, the Dutch kept Suriname, which had been captured by them in 1667, and have the islands of Tobago, Saba, St. Eustatius, and Tortola returned to them after their capture by the English in 1672.

    And what about that wall that was built from the stones of nearby houses? Well, it ran along the corridor of the street now known as Wall Street.

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    Select Text, Treaty of Westminster, 1674

    1. It is concluded and agreed that from this day there shall be a true, sincere, and inviolable peace, union, and amity between the Most Serene and Most Potent lord the King of Great Britain, and the High and Mighty lords the States General of the United Netherlands, and their respective subjects, as well within as without Europe, in all the territories, dominions, and places whatsoever of either party.

    2. And in order that this true union between the aforesaid Most Serene lord the King of Great Britain and the said lords the States General may the sooner attain its end, they have agreed and concluded that immediately after the promulgation of this treaty of peace, all acts of hostility shall at once be prohibited by either party, and no writ, commission, or instruction shall be given or supported or in any way permitted by either party, privately or publicly, directly or indirectly, to molest, attack, assail, or despoil the possessions, dominions, or subjects of the other, but on the contrary the subjects of both nations shall be strictly commanded to behave to each other everywhere peaceably and amicably.

    3. But since the distances of places are so various that the commands and directions of the respective superiors cannot reach all their subjects at the same time, it has seemed proper to assign the following limits for the acts of hostility or violence that might be committed against either party : viz., that after the expiration of the twelve days next following the publication of this treaty, no hostility shall be committed from the limit in the western quarter of the British Channel, commonly called the Soundings, to the other limit, called the Naze in Norway, nor after the end of six weeks from the said limit of the Soundings as far as the city of Tangier, nor, after the end of ten weeks, in the Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, or elsewhere between the said city of Tangier and the Line, or after the end of eight months in any part of the world ; and whatever acts of hostility shall be committed after the expiration of the aforesaid terms, under pretext of any former commission, letters of reprisal, or the like, shall be deemed illegal, and the authors shall be obliged to make reparation and satisfaction, and shall be punished as violators of the public peace.

    6. It is agreed and concluded that whatsoever lands, islands, towns, ports, castles, or forts have been or shall be taken by one party from the other, either within Europe or elsewhere, from the time when the late unhappy war broke out, and before the expiration of the terms above mentioned for the cessation of hostilities, shall be restored to the former lord and proprietor in exactly the same condition in which they shall be at the time when this peace shall be proclaimed. After that time, there shall be no plundering or pillaging of the in- habitants, no demolition of fortresses, nor carrying away of guns, powder, or other military stores, that belonged to any castle or fort at the time when it was taken.

    7. That the treaty of Breda, concluded in the year of our Lord 1667, as also all other preceding treaties, confirmed by that treaty, shall be renewed and remain in full force and validity, in so far as they do not in any wise contradict the present treaty.

    8. That the marine treaty concluded at the Hague, between the two parties, in the year of our Lord 1668, shall be continued for the period of nine months after the publication of this present treaty, unless a subsequent treaty shall provide otherwise; and that meanwhile consideration of a new treaty on this matter shall be referred to the same commissioners to whom the trade in the East Indies is referred in the article next following; but if such commissioners shall not agree on a new marine treaty within three months after their first meeting, then that matter shall also be referred to the arbitration and disposal of the Most Serene lady the Queen Regent of Spain, in precisely the same manner as the regulation of Eastern trade is referred to the arbitration of her Majesty in the said article next following.

    9. And since it is on the mutual and undisturbed freedom of commerce and navigation that not only the wealth but also the peace of both nations in the highest degree depends, nothing should be of more concern to both parties than a just and equitable regulation of trade, especially in the East Indies. And nevertheless, because the matter is of the greatest moment, and it will require much time to draw up firm and durable articles to the satisfaction and security of the subjects of both parties, and since on the other hand the feeble and dying condition of most of the countries of Europe, as well as of the two parties involved in this war, makes them desire eagerly the speedy conclusion of this treaty, the aforesaid Most Serene lord the King of Great Britain deigns to accede to the wishes and desires of the aforesaid States General, to have the consideration of this matter referred to an equal number of commissioners to be named by each party, the said States General engaging to send their appointees to London, to treat with those similarly deputed by his Britannic Majesty on his behalf, and this within the period of three months after the publication of this treaty. Moreover the number of the commissioners to be named by each side shall be six. But if within three months after they have first assembled their efforts have not had such good success as to lead to the conclusion of a treaty, the points in dispute shall be referred to the arbitration of the Most Serene lady the Queen Regent of Spain, who shall name eleven commissioners. Any decision of the majority of these as to the differences not previously composed shall bind both parties; provided always that they render their decision within the period of six months from the date of their first meeting, which shall be within three months after the Most Serene lady the Queen Regent of Spain shall have undertaken the aforesaid arbitration.

    11. That the aforesaid Most Serene lord King of Great Britain and the aforesaid High and Mighty lords the States General of the United Provinces shall observe sincerely and in good faith, and shall cause their subjects and inhabitants to observe, all and singular the articles agreed on and concluded in the present treaty, and they shall not contravene them directly or indirectly, or permit their subjects or inhabitants to contravene them, and shall ratify and confirm them all and singular as above agreed, by letters patent, drawn up and written in sufficient, valid, and effectual form, signed by their own hands, and sealed with their great seals, and they shall deliver or cause the same to be delivered reciprocally within four weeks after the date of these presents (or sooner if possible), in good faith, really, and effectually.

    12. Lastly, as soon as the said ratifications shall have been reciprocally exhibited and duly exchanged on both sides, this peace shall be published at the Hague within the space of twenty-four hours after the ratifications have been delivered and exchanged there.

    Done at Westminster, February 9/19, in the year of our Lord 1673/4.

    Source: Painting of New Amsterdam at Alexander Hamilton Custom House, New York, 1912, Elmer E. Garnsey. Photo Carol M. Highsmith. Courtesy Library of Congress. Image below: Winter days in New Amsterdam, 1905, Edward Penfield. Courtesy Library of Congress. Info source: European Treaties bearing on the History of the United States and Its Dependencies, Frances Gardiner Davenport, Volume II, 1650-1697, Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1929;; "The Dutch and the English Part 5: The Return of the Dutch and What Became of the Wall," 2017, Michael Lorenzini,; Library of Congress; "A Brief Outline of the History of New Netherlands,"; Wikipedia.

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