DUTCH IN AMERICA, The. Set like a wedge at the meeting point of the Celtic and Teutonic races and at the mouths of the rivers flowing out from the continent, the evolution of civilization in the Low Countries proceeded notably on the lines of industry and democracy. By the sixteenth, the century of exploration, the 17 provinces, with their 216 walled cities, had become the richest part of Europe. After the struggles of the Renaissance and the Reforma tion, the Netherlands were deft in twain, form ing two countries, the one becoming an appa nage to the Spanish monarchy and the other an independent federal republic. The 10 southern provinces returned to their old allegiances, ecclesiastical and political, and all adherents of the Reformed faith were expelled. The ref ugees, mostly skilled artisans and educated people, added notably to the wealth and power of other countries, especially to the Dutch Re public, which quickly doubled in population and became a world power. It was from this country that the Dutch who settled New Nether land came. By this time the nation that was to give organic life to our four Middle States had developed men, women and institutions that were the wonder of the world. Representative government in Church and State — the judiciary being supreme — was a cardinal feature and free public education for both sexes was nearly uni versal. These republicans led the nation in free dom of conscience, of speech and of the press, as well as in public charities, prison reform, land distribution and registry, legal codes and municipal administration; as well as in several minor matters, such as the written ballot, the uniformity of road gauge, with the law of turn ing to the right, in making wedlock a civil ordinance with public registry, equal distribu tion of property to children, the protection of the rights of women, etc. On Holland's soil, in 1619, was held the first ecumenical council of the Reformed Churches of Europe. On the roll of her eminent sons were the names of Agricola, Gansevoort, Thomas a Keznpis, Erasmus, Wil liam the Silent, John of Barneveldt, Grotius and Maurice, besides painters, scholars, jurists, di vines and musicians without superiors in Europe — a list to be mightily increased during the next two centuries following the beginnings of New Netherland.
After the triumph of the forces of union and nationality over those tending to disruption, col onization began, the Dutch sons and daughters, in their youth, vigor and alertness, carrying their ideas, faith, customs and institutions with them. They did not go from home as political or religious exiles, for they had no need to be such. They were not inprotest against their government in Church or State, for their free dom of conscience and civic rights had already been won at a great price. In New Netherland the framework of order was first under a trading corporation and later under a system of manors and free towns; but the semi-feudalism thus introduced had been outgrown in Holland and in the New World cut across the grain of the Netherland spirit. The story of the Dutch in America, apart from economics and agricul ture, is that of two streams of movement and influence. The one was of a democratic bias, nurtured in the Church, and the other that of officialism and corporational life; the one in eradicable, becaiise entrenched in the traditions of free government guaranteed by charter. The other was of survivals of feudalism in the stronghold of aristocratic bureaucracy. One was to abide, the other was to pass away. On the first stream of tendency floated such figureheads as Van Twiller, Kieft and the able governor Stuyvesant, who detested popular freedom. On the other and permanent current arose such noble characters as Peter Minuit, Sebastian Krol, Domine Michaelius, Melyn and Kuyter, who all withstood Kieft ; Adrian Van der Donck, who fought Stuyvesant's usurpations; Arendt Van Curler, founder of a free town; and Jacob Leisler, the people's champion against monopoly and aristocracy. When the chronic contention between these two forces was hottest came the English conquest. The question was never settled by the Crown lawyers as to whether the new province was proprietary or royal, but the people constantly resisted the invasions of royal prerogative and state churchism. The Dutch, being in overwhelming majority, clamored for a franchise equal to that in force in Pennsylvania, where Penn had bor rowed much directly from the Dutch Republic.
In the first session of the Assembly in 1683, the people of New York, through their delegates, formed the Charter of Liberties, in which first of all, in an American document, the words °the eople," as holders of authority, was used. James as proprietor signed this enactment in 1684, but on becoming king be annulled the charter. The sequel was seen in Andros, and in Leisler, whose so-called usurpation was the holding of New York for Dutch ideas; that is, freedom of religion, the destruction of the flour monopoly and the restoration of rights to which the Dutch Republicans had been accustomed. The Reformed churches secured charters from King William III, and aided by other °dis kept up the fight for freedom of conscience and the press, until the constitution of New York, in 1778, was formed. This led all others in eliminating the question of personal opinion on ecclesiastical subjects from the fundamental law — an example later followed by all the States. In the Revolution the chief battleground was in the middle region where Dutch were numerous, and no people, as a body, were more loyal to the Continental Con gress or suffered more, the leading families throwing their weight of influence and example with the patriots, while the ministers and churches were especially marked for British vengeance. The Dutch guns at Saint Eustatius, where half of the war supplies were obtained, boomed out the first foreign salute to the American flag. New York, besides filling promptly her quotas of money and supplies, sent 43,645 men to the army, a number, in pro portion to population, excelled by none of the other colonies. The Lansing family, as a specimen, furnished 73 soldiers. To Philip Schuyler belongs the real credit of Burgoyne's defeat and surrender. The constitutional fathers showed close familiarity with Dutch precedents and profited by them. In the cen tury following, the names of Van Buren, Roosevelt, DeForest, Vanderbilt, Pennypacker and of hundreds of other eminent individuals and families prove the virility of the stock. After 1840 Dutch emigration, of a quality perhaps ex celled by none, recommenced and in a few years 100,000 Netherlanders settled in the West, chiefly in Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa. They cleared the forests, tilled the soil, initiated new enterprises and built schools and colleges. Dur ing the four eras, under which the inhabitants of the middle region have dwelt under as many national flags or civic emblems, each one of the latter has been a symbol of union. The totems of the Iroquois stood for a forest republic, federated first of five, then of six nations. Following these was the seven-striped flag of the Dutch Republic — the historic basis of our own national ensign, in which each stripe rep resents one of the original covenanting States. The oft-changed flag of crosses, from 1664 to 1775, was significant of the four nations of the British Isles. Finally the world saw the 13 striped flag of 1775-77, and then °Old Glory,'" of which the first actual use, known to docu ments and contemporaneous written testimony, was at Fort Schuyler (Rome, N. Y.), 3 Aug. 1777. No wonder then that the middle region, first settled by the Netherlanders, has always been for union! With the passing of time and fashions the descendants of the Dutch have changed their language and some old customs, but not the principles learned under the republic of their fathers, which gradually became the law of the new land. The Empire region has ever avoided the centrifugal tendencies so marked in the extremities — in New England until the Hartford Convention, and in the South when cotton was hailed as king. In this region, once called New Netherland, most of the ideas, institutions, economic advantages, great inven tions, notable books and those contributions to civilization, which are recognized as distinctively American, originated or were developed. The legend of unmixed English culture in the making of our Republic which has so distorted Ameri can historiography is not held by scholars familiar with the Dutch language and history and with the testimony of American witnesses. On the contrary it may be said that in matters linguistic, literary and human, the American people are as much the teacher of the British nation as they are the pupil of the Netherlands.