We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men. — George Orwell

Story of the Thirteen Colonies - Helene Guerber

Hudson and the Indians

While the English were gaining ground in Virginia, the other nations were not idle. The Spaniards, as we have seen, had settled in Florida and New Mexico, and, in the latter place especially, their priests started several mission stations.

This was very dangerous work, because they often had to go alone among the Indians, who at times rose up against them and even tortured them to death. But these priests were quite ready to die for the sake of their religion, and although in the course of the next one hundred years more than forty were murdered, others were always ready to take their places.

After many failures the Spaniards finally made friends with and converted most of the Pueblo Indians, who learned to live on peaceable terms with the white men, as they still do to-day. In fact, although they had but one small town, Santa Fe, the Spaniards had many missions and eleven churches in New Mexico before the Jamestown colonists first sat in the House of Burgesses.

The French Huguenots, as already said, tried to make a settlement in the southern part of our country, but had been murdered by their Spanish neighbors. Next, some Frenchmen tried to settle in Maine, but soon gave up the attempt. Their first lasting settlement was therefore made in 1604, at Port Royal in Acadia, where they at first suffered much, but afterwards prospered greatly and had comfortable homes.

The Dutch, living near the ocean, were great seamen and traders, so you will not be surprised to hear that they, too, sent ships across the Atlantic before long. One of these vessels, the Half-Moon, under Henry Hudson, came over here to look for the northwest passage. Sailing along the New England coast, and thence southward, Hudson entered Delaware and New York bays. He also sailed up a great stream, then called the North River, but now generally known as the Hudson (1609).

At first Hudson thought this broad river must be the long-sought road to India, because at high tide the water was salt many miles upstream. But sailing on, he finally discovered that it was a river, which he explored to the point where Albany now stands. It was in September, the weather was beautiful, and Hudson and his crew were in raptures over the lovely views. The coming of this vessel created a great sensation among the Indians, who rushed to the edge of the water to see the "great white bird." They called the Half-Moon  a bird on account of its spreading sails.

[Illustration] from Story of the Thirteen Colonies by Helene Guerber

Hudson traded with the natives for tobacco and furs, and once when they tried to steal some of his trinkets he gave them a terrible fright by shooting off his cannon. On his return he landed on Manhattan Island, where the Indians gave him a feast, breaking their arrows to show he need fear no treachery on their part.

We are told that, in exchange for their hospitality, Hudson offered the savages some rum to drink. They looked at it, and smelled it, but passed it on without tasting it. Finally the bottle came to an Indian who was somewhat bolder than the rest, or who feared to offend the white man. He drank a great deal of the liquor, but he had no sooner done so than he fell down senseless, and all his companions thought he was dead.

After a few hours, however, the Indian awoke from his drunken sleep, to remark that the Dutchman had the strongest water he had ever tasted. The other savages were now all eager to try the "fire water" too; and, having drunk it once, they took such a fancy to it that before long they were ready to give all they had in exchange for more. But, as you will see, this fire water was to do them a great deal of harm.

On his way home Hudson stopped in England, where they kept him a prisoner, saying an Englishman ought to make discoveries only for the good of his own country. But Hudson managed to send a description of his journey to Holland, and he then reported that he had visited "as beautiful a land as one can tread upon." Hearing from him also that great bargains in furs could be made with the Indians, Dutch merchants soon sent out vessels to establish trading stations near Albany and on Manhattan Island.

While the Dutch were thus bartering, Hudson, set free, started out on a voyage for England. Sailing farther north, in search of a passage to India, he came, in 1611, to the bay which still bears his name. Here his crew suffered so much from the cold climate that, in their anger against their captain, they put him, his son, and seven sick men in a boat, and cut them adrift. The ship came back to Europe in safety, but nothing more was ever heard of Hudson or the unfortunate sailors with him.

The Dutch soon built Fort Orange on the Hudson, near Albany, Fort Nassau on the Delaware, and, later, a fort on Manhattan Island. Here, in 1614, they founded the colony later called New Amsterdam, on the very spot where a shipwrecked captain had built the first Dutch-American vessel about one year before. Little by little the Dutch now took possession of the land along the Hudson River and New York Bay. They built comfortable houses of bricks brought over from Holland, and before long had many thrifty farms in what they called the New Netherlands.


Front Matter

Our Country Long Ago
The Barbarous Indians
The Mounds
Where the Northmen Went
The Northmen in America
Queer Ideas
Prince Henry the Navigator
Youth of Columbus
Columbus and the Queen
"Land! Land!"
Columbus and the Savages
Home Again
Columbus Ill-treated
Death of Columbus
How America Got its Name
The Fountain of Youth
"The Father of Waters"
The French in Canada
French and Spanish Quarrels
The Sky City
Around the World
Nothing but Smoke
Smith's Adventures
The Jamestown Men
Smith Wounded
Pocahontas Visits England
Hudson and the Indians
The Mayflower
Plymouth Rock
The First Thanksgiving
Snake Skin and Bullets
The Beginning of Boston
Stories of Two Ministers
Williams and the Indians
The Quakers
The King-Killers
King Phillip's War
The Beginning of New York
Penn and the Indians
The Catholics in Maryland
The Old Dominion
Bacon's Rebellion
A Journey Inland
The Carolina Pirates
Charter Oak
Salem Witches
Down the Mississippi
La Salle's Adventures
Indians on the Warpath
Two Wars with the French
Washington's Boyhood
Washington's Journey
Washington's First Battle
Stories of Franklin
Braddock's Defeat
Wolfe at Quebec
England and her Colonies
The Stamp Tax
The Anger of the Colonies
The Boston Tea Party
The Minutemen
The Battle of Lexington
Bunker Hill
The Boston Boys
The British leave Boston
Declaration of Independence
A Lady's Way of Helping
Christmas Eve
The Fight at Bennington
Burgoyne's Surrender
Winter at Valley Forge
The Quaker Woman
Putnam's Adventures
Indian Cruelty
Boone in Kentucky
Famous Sea Fights
The "Swamp Fox"
The Poor Soldiers
The Spy
A Traitor's Death
Two Unselfish Women
Surrender of Cornwallis
British Flag hauled down
Washington's Farewell