Three Rivers
Hudson~Mohawk~Schoharie
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

Early Eighteenth Century Palatine Emigration
A British Government Redemptioner Project to Manufacture Naval Stores
by Walter Allen Knittle, Ph.D.
Department of History
College of the City of New York
Published Philadelphia, 1937

CHAPTER VI. A GOVERNMENT REDEMPTIONER SYSTEM

The Preparations for the largest single emigration to America in the colonial period (1) were pushed forward with all possible speed. As related in the preceding chapter, Colonel Hunter personally gave the Board of Trade an account of the New York naval stores proposal on November 30th. At the same time he suggested the various requisites for the settlement. Four persons sufficiently instructed in the methods of making naval stores were to be sent along to teach the trade and supervise the work. Commissaries, clerks of stores, and other officers with sufficient funds would be needed. A number of cauldrons and other tar-making necessaries would have to be supplied in England.

As the housing situation in New York appeared to be very uncertain and some time would elapse before the Palatines could build huts for themselves, it was suggested that at least 600 tents be sent. Since the people were "to be planted on the Frontiers it will be absolutely necessary they be armed with 600 Firelocks & Bayonetts at least, from Her Majesty's Stores here, and a proportional quantity of powder and shott ...." (2) A quantity of hemp seed was also to be taken along to provide immediate work in its sowing.

The next day, December 1st, Hunter again appeared before the Board with several problems on the proposed settlement. On what lands were the Palatines to be planted? In what manner were the lands to be granted to them, and in what proportions and under what reservations? Would it not be advisable that the Palatines "be servants to the Crown for a


I Karl Frederick Geiser, Redemptioners and Indentured Servants in the Colony and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (New Haven, 1901), 29.

2 N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 113.


Page 136: certain Term, or at least 'till they have repaid the Expenses the Crown is at in setting them to work, and subsisting them. . . ?" (3)The governor estimated that twelve iron kettles twelve ladles and tunnels to each kettle, would be sufficient fool the tar-making. As for instructors in the trade, he remarked, "There being no great Mystery in these manufactures, I believe Mr. Bridger with such as he can bring along with him, I ordered will be sufficient to instruct them." The plan in simple form provided that the government was to transport and settle the Palatines in New York at its own expense. The Palatines were to make naval stores for the government in return for the money spent in their behalf.

In their report of December 5th on Hunter's proposal, the Board of Trade appeared very optimistic. They observed, " that one man may make by his own labour six tunns (4) of these [naval] Stores in a Year; and we have been informed that a number of men assisting each other may in proportion make double that quantity; so that supposing 600 men be imployed in this work, they make produce 7000 Tuns of these goods a year, and if in time a greater quantity should be made there, than shall be consumed in your Majesty's Dominions, We hope the overplus may turn to a very beneficial Trade with Spain & Portugal." (5)

They expected the government premium of four pounds per ton of tar imported from the colonies would cover the freight charge. The Commissioners sent over by the Navy Board in 1696 had reported that tar could be secured in New England at five pounds a ton. The Board therefore held that the tar to be manufactured by the Palatines might be sold as cheaply as that from the northern countries. Nevertheless, they concluded, "should the American Tarr be something Dearer, Yet it is the Interest of this Kingdom to have the same paid for in Woollen and other Manufactures from hence;


3 Ibid., 14; C. C. 1708-1709, 540.

4 A tun contained eight barrels.

5 Doc. Hist., III, 640.


Page 137: whereas that from the Northern Crowns is bought with ready money." The Board of Trade proposed that Mr. Bridger, Surveyor-General of Her Majesty's woods in America and at that time in New England for a period of four years, be ordered to repair to New York with three or four persons skilled in manufacturing naval stores. Annual salaries of 200 pounds in New York money were to be allowed to each. The officials, such as commissaries and clerks as outlined by Hunter, were also approved. To these the Board added a few others. Supervisors were to live among the Palatines, "to over-see and keep them at Work." (6)

To handle the London end of the venture, an agent or factor was to be appointed by the government. His duties were to remit such summs of money as your Majesty shall from time to time judge proper to be remitted to New York" for subsistence and to receive and sell all naval stores consigned to him on account of the Palatines. The factor was then to dispose of the naval stores to the Commissioners of the Navy at the market price, or to other merchants if necessary. If purchased for the Navy the bills were to be made out in the usual manner. The factor was to be under the government's immediate orders, receiving the usual factorage fees for his services. After all expenses had been deducted, the profits were to be taken by the government as payment of the money expended in settling the Palatines in New York. (7)

In their report the Board of Trade also tried to answer two of the questions propounded by Hunter. The question as to whether it would not be advisable to make the Palatines servants to the Crown for a certain Term" was not mentioned. As to the manner and terms of settlement, the Board thought that the Palatines might be planted in a body or in different settlements wherever the governor found it most proper. The


6 N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 119. See Doc. Hist., III, 561 for a more detailed plan of Governor Hunter of a later date.

7 Ibid., 120; Doc. Hist., III, 642.

Page 138: governor was to grant without fee or reward forty acres per person to each family, after they had "repaid by the produce of their labour" the expenses of their settlement. The usual quit-rents were to commence and be payable seven years after the said grants.(8) The Board advised that the Palatines be "Encouraged to settle and work in partnership, that is 5 or more families to unite and Work in Common."

In reply to the question as to the lands on which to settle the Palatines, the Board of Trade suggested the large tracts of land recently returned to the Crown, being the extravagant grants vacated by an Order in Council on June 2-6, 1708. (9) These lands in the Mohawk and Hudson Valleys of New York had been granted ten years earlier by Governor Fletcher, just before he had been replaced, to a number of colonial gentlemen, including Nicholas Bayard, Godfrey Dellius, Captain Evans and Caleb Heathcote,(10) whose brother was governor of the Bank of England.

When late in the seventeenth century Lord Bellomont became governor of New York, he favored another faction of the landowning class. (11) On March 2, 1699, the New York assembly passed an "Act for vacating, breaking and annulling several Extravagant Grants of land made by Colonel Benjamin Fletcher, late Governor of the Province." Upon being referred to the colonial authorities in England, no immediate action was taken on the act, this being the usual slow manner of procedure." When Viscount Cornbury became governor in 1702. the assembly suffered either a change of heart or political complexion, for on November 27th they passed an act, repealing the above act together with several others. This likewise received no attention in England until July 2-9, 1707, when a Committee of the Privy Council recommended the approval


8 Doc. Hist., III, 639.

9 Eccles. Rec., III, 1812; N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 117.

10 N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 117; Eccles. Rec., III, 1685.

11 C. C. 1698, 914.

12 Ibid., 483.


Page 139: of the first act and the disallowance of the later one. (13) The reasons why the Committee considered it "absolutely necessary the said grants be vacated" are indicative of the more active colonial policy and the awakened interest in the colonies as a source of naval stores." A strong argument urged for vacating these grants is, that great Quantities of Masts and other timber fit for Naval Stores, grow upon the lands thus granted away, which cannot be Regained to the Benefit of the Crown, till the Grants are vacated." That neither satisfactory rents nor other obligations to cultivate and improve the lands had been secured were other objections. Other reasons offered in justification of the annulment were the appeasement of the just claims of the Indians and the encouragement of further settlement.

Consequently, a new policy was proposed of granting not more than 2,000 acres to any one person, and at an annual quit-rent of two shillings and six pence for every hundred acres. At least three acres for every fifty acres taken up had to be settled or cultivated within three years under penalty of forfeiture of the grant. (14) The vacating of the "Extravagant Grants" became a new threat to the land-owning class in colonial New York. Most of them had received their grants under similar conditions and circumstances. It was objected in the argument before the Board of Trade, that such proceedings "would render the Properties of all lands uncertain and precarious." Indeed such procedure might conceivably have bolstered up the governor's attempts to maintain the prerogative of the Crown. It was argued in 1707, "That if the power of Revoking grants be left to a Governor, Council and Assembly, the Governor may have the choice of so many of the Council, and have such an influence in having his own


13 Acts Privy Council Col. 1680-1720, 553. The annulment of the extravagant grants was approved in the same Order in Council which authorized the settlement of Kocherthal's Palatines in the colony of New York at public expense.

14 C. C. 1706-1708, 513.

Page 140: Creatures returned to be of the Assembly, that he may at any time Act arbitrarily & unjustly in such Revocations." Of course, the real obstacle to such a development was the impossibility of securing an assembly in New York opposing its own class interests, that of the landed aristocracy. The larger landowners were acutely aware of the danger and their efforts to protect their holdings can be observed in Livingston's case and in the passage of the Naturalization Act of 1715, as will appear later in our story.

These "Extravagant Grants" had been the only land available in New York upon which to settle the new Palatine immigrants of 1708; for in that year, in its report on the settlement of Kocherthal's party, described in Chapter 11, the Board of Trade urged the confirmation of the Vacating Act for that purpose. (15) That the Board should suggest these lands again for Hunter's scheme was to be expected. The lands in the Mohawk Valley and those in Schoharie were known to have an obstacle for transportation in the waterfalls at Cohoes. This defect was not considered any hindrance to settling the Palatines there, should there be no other more convenient site in the province. The selection of the site was distinctly left in the hands of the governor, Colonel Hunter. (16)

The Board of Trade, having made no recommendation as to making the Palatines covenanted servants, was to hear further from Colonel Hunter on the subject. On December 19th, Secretary Sunderland wrote to the Board that Hunter had proposed a contract to hold the Palatines "from falling off from the employment designed for them, or being decoy'd into Proprietary Governments." (17) At the same time the Board received a draft of such a covenant from Hunter. This was referred to the Attorney-General, James Montague, for his


15 Acts Privy Council Col. 1680-1720, II, 552 .

16 N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 118. See pictures of Cohoes Falls, Doc. Hist., III, 638.

17 H. S. P., Jour. B. T., XXI, 315; P. R. 0., S. P. 44/108, 186.


Page 141: opinion, (18) and on the 21st he returned it with a few corrections and additions. (19) This covenant was executed at Plymouth a few days before the Palatines sailed from England. (20)

The covenant stated that in consideration of the large sums advanced by the government "toward the transporting, maintaining and settling" of the Palatines for their employment in the production of naval stores, the Palatines for themselves, their "heirs executors and administrators" contracted to settle on lands assigned to them by the government and continue resident upon those lands. On no account or manner of pretense were the Palatines to quit or desert without leave of the governor. They agreed to employ their utmost power and that of their respective families in the "production and manufacturing of all manner of naval stores." It was further agreed "that as soon as we shall have made good and repaid to her Majesty, her heirs and successors, out of the produce of our labors in the manufactures we are employed in, the full sum or sums of money in which we already are or shall become indebted to her Majesty," the governor shall grant "40 acres to each person free from all taxes, quit-rents or other manner of services for seven years."

No time limit to the length of service was specified, but it is apparent that these Palatines were indentured servants of the British government and that they were to be employed in manufacturing naval stores until the profits had not only paid their expenses, but also repaid the Queen for their transportation and settlement. The Palatines seriously impaired their liberty of action, for they entered into contract to obey


18 C. C. 1708-1709, 561; B. T. Jour. 1708-1714, 107.

19 P. R. 0., C. 0. 5/1049,144; B. M., Harleian MSS. 7021, 279; in Eccles. Rec., III, 1814, the parentheses are the Attorney-General's additions. The deletions he made have been omitted. Line seventeen on page 1815 should have parentheses before "without leave" and after "so doing and;" N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 121 was taken from an Entry Book. It gives the additions of the Attorney-General in italics but carries the words deleted without any indication, as though they were parts of the document.

20 B. M., Harleian MSS. 7021, 284

Page 142: the governor and work for the government until it was repaid. This is a unique example of a governmental redemptioner migration.

On the 11th of December, Hunter pressed Secretary Sunderland to secure for the use of the Palatines the 600 tents and 600 firelocks with bayonets and ammunition necessary "upon account of their being to be planted on the Frontiers, where they will be much exposed if unarmed." The next day Sunderland wrote to the Duke of Marlborough, the Master-General of Ordnance, requesting him at the Queen's command to secure an estimate of the cost from the Board of Ordnance. Perhaps the fact that he was the Duke's son-in-law permitted his personal desires being stated for he wrote in addition to the Queen's commands, "These poor people being now upon their Departure it is necessary no time should be lost, wherefore I desire your Grace will direct this Acct. to be sent as soon as may be." (21) On the 17th, the Board of Ordnance wrote to the Duke that at Sunderland's request, they had made an estimate of the supplies. The cost was 1,479 pounds and 12 shillings Sterling. They stated at the same time that they had not yet received the 913 pounds due for the loss and damage of the tents for the Palatines encamped on Blackheath and Camberwell. (22) In fact, 9,348 pounds worth of supplies had been laid out by the Ordnance department without parliamentary provision for the same. The equipment was ordered for the Palatines. (23)

The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, a voluntary missionary organization, had troubled itself with finding a suitable minister for the Palatines. (24) The Bishop of London had concluded a letter of December 9th to Mr. Chamberlaine, the Secretary of the Society, "Dutch Minister I have none for the Palatines, neither know I where


21 P. R. 0., S. P - 44/108, 177, 222.

22 P. R. 0., S. P. 44/108, 185.

23 Cal. Treas. Papers 1708-1714, 148.

24 Eccles. Rec., III, 1718, 1811.


Page 143: to find any." (25) Several of the Palatines petitioned the Society to retain one John Frederick Haeger in this capacity. (26) Upon Reverend Haeger's agreeing to Anglican ordination by the Bishop of London, he was appointed by the Society at an annual salary of fifty pounds, with the usual fifteen pounds in addition, allowed him for books. (27) The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel was interested in the spread of the Anglican faith, and in this respect, it was an important factor in the attempts to assimilate the Germans.

On December 21st, Hunter made arrangements with the Lord Treasurer for the remittance to New York of 8,000 pounds sterling for the Palatine settlement. (28) John Raynor, Attorney-General to New York, requested that the arrears of his salary be paid out of the quit-rent fund, since he would suffer a great loss in fees due to the grants of land to be made to the Palatines without fees. (29)

Meanwhile, Mr. Henry Bendysh, who acted as secretary to the Commissioners for Collecting for and Settling of the Palatines, (30) had made the necessary arrangements for transportation, as related in Chapter V. On December 17th, he informed Godolphin, the Lord High Treasurer, that he had executed charter-parties with commanders and owners of ships to carry about 3,300 Palatines to New York at five pounds, ten shillings per head. (31) This was a low rate, indeed, since Luttrell had noted that transportation to Carolina was above ten pounds, (32) and Bohme had specified seven pounds as the price of passage to Pennsylvania or Carolina. (33) The charges


25 Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts MS., < 82, hereafter cited as S. P. G. MSS.

26 Eccles. Rec., III, 1813.

27 Ibid., 1817.

28 Cal. Treas. Papers 1708-I714, 150.

29 C. C. 1710-1711, 37.

30 For his services Bendysh later received 1,000 pounds. Cal. Treas. Papers 1714-1719, 114.

31 Ibid., 1709-1714, 149.

32 Luttrell, op. cit., VI, 465.

33 Das verlangte nicht erlangte Canaan, II.


Page 144: for transportation were to amount to between 18,000 and 19,000 pounds sterling besides demurrage, a compensation for delay above the time agreed upon. (34) The captains and their owners agreed to have their ships ready to take the Palatines and their goods on board between the 25th and 29th of December. They agreed to be at the buoy of the Nore about fifty miles from London on or before the 2nd of January, wind and weather permitting. Mr. Bendysh on his part agreed to have a convoy at that time and place to proceed "without Stopping at any Port or Place in England." The demurrage due, upon failure to observe these conditions, was at the rate of eleven shillings and six pence per ton per month for the ships, and six pence per day for each Palatine. (35)

The ten ships were in the Thames at the specified time. The Palatines were taken on board, but when seven of the ten ships reached the Nore on the 2nd of January, the convoy refused sailing orders. (36) For the delay, which ensued the shipowners and commanders received demurrage and the total cost of the transportation to New York reached the sum of 25,854 pounds, 15 shillings and 8 pence sterling. This sum was paid by the end of October, 1710. " On January 26, 1710, Sunderland sent Hunter "Additional Instructions," which empowered him to carry out the project to manufacture naval stores in accordance with the Board of Trade representation to the Queen of the previous December 5th. (38)

Accounts have varied as to the time Hunter sailed for New York. Conrad Weiser wrote in his journal, "About Christmas Day we embarked. . . ." (39) Luttrell noted in his diary on December 29, 1709, "Colonel Hunter designs, next


34 Cal. Treas. Papers 1708-1714, 149.

35 P. R. 0., C. 0., Admiralty Class 1/4283.

36 Ibid.

37 Cal. Treas. Papers 1708-1714, 148, 206.

38 P. R. 0., C. 0. 5/1231, 3; N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 160.

39 Weiser Diary, in Americana (New York, September, 1913), VIII, 797; also in Olde Ulster (Kingston; New York, 1906), II, 203.


Page 145. Hunter, Robt. Portrait of Robert Hunter, the authenticity of which has been questioned. No other portrait of him is extant. Courtesy of the New York Public Library.


Page 146: week to embark for his government at New York, and most of the Palatines remaining here goe with him to people that Colony." (40) Cobb argued in his account that the departure took place toward the end of January, 1710. (41) Diffenderffer, writing for the Pennsylvania German Society, said they sailed in March. (42) The London Gazette noted, April 7, 1710,that ten ships were ready to sail with Palatines from Portsmouth for New York under convoy. (43) In a report to Robert Harley, then Secretary of State, June 18, 1711, James DuPre, commissary at New York for Hunter and who sailed originally with Hunter, stated that all the Palatines embarked in December, 1709, but did not start until April 10, 1710. (44) The demands for demurrage made by the owners of the vessels also show that the fleet did not finally leave Plymouth, further west along the southern coast of England, until April 10th. (45) The Palatine transports had moved along the coast of England, touching Portsmouth and Plymouth during the early months of 1710 and finally sailed on April 10th. The Palatine accounts of a long voyage may be reconciled to this revision of the date. They were on board ship for six long months and the sufferings of the Palatines were terrible, for misery seems long in duration. Indeed, one of the Palatine ships had to return to port and sailed again later. (46)

Probably because of the low transportation rate, the people were closely packed in the ships. Many of them suffered from the foul odor and vermin; some below deck could neither get fresh air nor see the light of day. Under such conditions the


40 Luttrell, op. cit., V1, 529.

41 Sanford Hoadley Cobb, The Story of the Palatines (New York, 1897), 125; Osgood, op. cit., I, 513 also accepted this time.

42 Diffenderffer, op. cit., 319.

43 London Gazette, No. 4676.

44 B. M., Harleian MSS. 7021, 280.

45 P. R. 0., Admiralty Class 1/4283. A. L. Cross, Anglican Episcopate and the American Colonies (New York, 1902), 91 has a typographical error, 1713 should read 1710.

46 The Berkley Castle, N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 166.


Page 147: younger children died in great numbers. The last letters before sailing, written at Portsmouth during April, reported eighty deaths in one ship and one hundred sick in another. (47) Good healthy food was not provided and its lack no doubt added to the general unhealthy conditions. Soon the fleet was ravaged by ship-fever. Modern science has traced this malady, now known as typhus and recognized as more deadly than typhoid, (48) to such carriers as infected fleas and body lice. Crowded in those foul holds with little or no provision for the most elementary sanitation, the immigrants were decimated by this dread disease. From their misery indeed, the disease took on a rather sad distinction, since it became known to the doctors of that day as the "Palatine fever." (49) A petition made later in New York by one Thomas Benson, a surgeon, for reimbursement for medicine stated that on his ship 330 persons had been sick at one time. (50) How welcome must the call of land in sight have sounded to these early immigrants!

The first ship to arrive was the Lyon, which touched New York on June 13, 1710, Governor Hunter's ship and several others following the next day. (51) One, the Herbert, was wrecked on the east end of Long Island On July 7th, (52) and the last did not arrive until August 2nd. (53) A letter from Hunter to Lord Godolphin, the Lord Treasurer, and dated October 24, 1710, stated that of the 2,814 Palatines who had started, 446 had


47 Das verlangte nicht erlangte Canaan, 9; Emil Heuser, Pennsylvanien im 17 Jahrhundert (Neustadt, 1910), 66.

48 Watson Davis, "Typhus in the New World," in Current History, XXXIV, 94; "Diary of a Voyage from Rotterdam to Philadelphia in 1728," in Pa. Ger. Soc. Proc., XIX, 17.

49 A. Matthews, "The Word 'Palatine' in America," in Nation (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1904), LXXVIII, 125.

50 Doc. Hist., III, 558, December 26, 1710. This document is now missing from the Albany Archives. Cal. N. Y. Hist. MSS. Eng. 1664-1776 (Albany, 1866), II, 375.

51 N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 551; B. T. Jour. 1708-1714, 178.

52 Doc. Hist., III, 559; N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 166.

53 B. M., Harleian MSS. 7021, 280; Doc. Hist., III, 559.


Page 148: died before the end of July. Thirty little newcomers joined on the way over, (54) restoring a portion of the loss.

The arrival of nearly 2,500 immigrants, rumored to be laden with disease, was no small matter to the New York city of the second decade of the eighteenth century. A census was taken June 5, 1712, and showed 4,846 free inhabitants and 970 slaves in the city." No wonder the New York City Council protested the reception of any Palatines within the city, saying it would endanger the health of the inhabitants and deter the country people from coming in as usual. (56) The Palatines were therefore landed and encamped on Nutten Island, now known as Governor's Island, which apparently preceded Ellis Island as an immigrant station or "gateway to America." Three doctors were to report upon the condition of their health. On June 16, 1710, a scheme for governing these Palatines was hastily formulated. The Council also issued a proclamation to prevent extortionate prices of bread and provisions on account of their presence. (57)

In their tents on Governor's Island, the Palatines were in a miserable condition. Typhus was still ravaging them." These weakened people, lamenting the loss of their relatives, were forced to settle down and care for the sick and dying. Two doctors, John Christopher Kurtz and John Philips Ruger, were in constant attendance." Hunter reported to London on July 24th that about 470 Palatines had died on the


54 B. M., Add. MSS. 17677 DDD, 624. In 1720, however, the Palatines themselves estimated that about 4,000 were sent over and 1,700 died on board, or at their landing. See their petition to the Board of Trade, N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 553. The statement is an estimate made ten years later and hence is exaggerated.

55 N. Y. Col. MSS., LVII, 180.

56 Minutes of the Common Council of City of New York (New York, 1905), II, 408; Doc. Hist., III, 552..

57 Doc. Hist., III, 552, 554 et seq.

58 C. C. 1710-1711, 119; L. C., S. P. G. MSS. A-6, XLIV.

59 N. Y. Col. MSS., LIV, 192; Cal. N. Y. Hist. MSS. Eng. 1664-1776, II, 373.


Page 149: voyage and during the first month in New York.(60) The emigrants were slow in recovering their health after their wretched passage from England. Peter Willemse Romers, a coffin-maker, was the chief benefactor, for in 1711 he petitioned for 59 pounds, 6 shillings sterling in payment for 250, coffins used for the burial of Palatines during the summer of 1710. (61)

Many children were left orphans. The problem of caring for them was solved by apprenticing them. According to the records seventy-four were apprenticed by Hunter from 1710-1714, (62) among them being John Peter Zenger, who later became famous in American history for his fight for freedom of the Press. Unfortunately, Hunter did not stop with orphans; he also apprenticed children whose parents were still living, and in this way separated families. John Conrad Weiser lost a son, George Frederick, in this manner and there were other cases, causing many a heartache. The petition of the Palatines of 1720 lists this as one of lists this as one of their chief grievances. (63)

Meanwhile, Hunter was attempting to locate a suitable tract for the settlement of the Palatines. Four tracts in New York, part of the vacated "Extravagant Grants," had been considered as possibilities while the Palatines were still in England. One was on the Mohawk River above Little Falls, fifty miles long by four miles wide (around Herkimer and German Flats); another, between twenty-four and thirty miles in length on the Schoharie River; a third, on the east side of the Hudson River, twelve miles long by seventy miles wide. A fourth was also considered, on the west side twenty miles by forty miles long. When the Board of Trade recommended to the Council the settlement of Kocherthal's party in New York in 1708, it pointed out that these lands would be at the


60 N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 167; Doc. Hist., III, 559.

61 Doc. Hist., III, 568.

62 Ibid., 553, 566.

63 Eccles. Rec., III, 2168; Dec. Hist., III, 425.


Page 150: disposal of the government for that purpose, if it approved the New York law invalidating those ''extravagant grants" made by Colonel Fletcher as suggested by the Board on July 29, 1707. (64) Accordingly, on June 26, 1708, the Council approved the New York act annulling those grants, (65) and consequently these lands were available for settlement by the Palatines. No grant was specifically made in the contract signed by the Germans. On the contrary, the matter was left to the discretion of the governor.

Concerning one of the tracts, the Schoharle grant, which Governor Fletcher had given to Colonel Bayard, an interesting legend arose. A number of the Palatines later became dissatisfied with their situation. Some of them realized that they were to be exploited, and probably in the discussion among themselves in justification of their opposition, the story of the Indian grant of Schoharie took shape. Years after the New York troubles, Conrad Weiser wrote in his journal, "For the Indian deputies who were in England at the time the German people were lying in tents on the Black moor [Blackheath] had made a present to Queen Anne of this Schochary that she might settle these people upon it."(66) The elements of truth in the legend are easily recognized. The Schoharie lands had been one of the four tracts mentioned by the Board of Trade as possible sites for the naval stores experiment with German labor. Five Indians had been taken to England in 1710 by Peter Schuyler, Mayor of Albany, as a publicity scheme to interest the government in another attempt to take Canada after the failure of 1709. The references to both these facts apparently became confused in the heated Palatine discussions, and finally, they fused into several sentimental and touching accounts of the pity aroused in the savage breast by the


64 Doc. Hist., III, 542; Eccles. Rec., III, 1703.

65 N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 48, 141.

66 Weiser Diary, in loc. cit., 797. The Palatine petition to the Board of Trade on August 20, 1720 quoted the Indians as saying that they had given the land to Queen Anne for the Palatines. Eccles. Rec., III, 2169.


Page 151: wretched condition of the Palatines on Blackheath, as related in later histories. (67)

Unfortunately for the legend, the New York Palatines boarded their transports between December 25th and 29th, 1709. From then on until April 10, 1710, the ships were moving along the southern coast of England or awaiting convoy there. (68) The five "Indian Sachems" sailed from Boston early in February, 1710, and did not arrive in London until April, where they had an audience with the Queen on the 17th. (69) The Queen and all England had been imposed upon, for "Hendrick the great prince that was so honored in England cannot command ten men, the other three were not sachems." (70) Although the Five Nations thanked Governor Hunter for the fine treatment accorded the "natives of the Mohogs' nation," (71) the latter were disgraced and never again were they admitted to Indian Councils."

Cobb, the most extensive writer on the Palatines, has attempted to prove this legend by Governor Hunter's statement to the Board that he had sent men to "survey the land on the Mohaques River, particularly the Skohare, to which the Indians have no pretence." (73) The next four words, "being Colonel Bayard's Grant," (74) not considered by Mr. Cobb,


67 Cobb., op. cit., 107; Kapp, Die Deutschen, I, 24; Loher, op. cit., 43; M. R. Diefendorf, The Historic Mohawk (New York, 1910), 59; W. W. Ellsworth, "The Palatines in the Mohawk Valley," in N. Y. Hist. Assoc. Proc. (1915), XIV, 295.

68 P. R. 0., Admiralty Class 1/4283.

69 P. R. 0., C. 0. 5/1049, 157; Luttrell, op. cit., VI, 571; C. C. 1710-1711, 40, 78; Morgan, "The Five Nations and Queen Anne," in Loc. cit., XIII, 179 et seq.

70 L. C., S. P. G. MSS. A-5, CLXXVI; N. Y. H. S., Hawks Trans. of S. P. G. MSS., I; 228; Doc. Hist., III, 899.

71 C. C. 1710-1711, 495. Hunter called them in 1713 "men of no consideration or rather the most obscure amongst them." C. C. 1712-1713, 158.

72 " Colden Letters, " in N. Y. Hist. Soc. Coll. (1868), 200.

73 Cobb., op. cit., 132..

74 N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 167.


Page 152: indicate why Hunter felt that the Indians had no claim to Schoharie, but they were not convenient to the historian's thesis. Bayard's grant was part of the so-called "extravagant grants" of Governor Fletcher, which were annulled by the New York assembly with the approval of the English government as mentioned before.

Governor Hunter himself was mistaken however, in his opinion about the Indians, for they at first refused to allow the men to survey the land. (75) This is not surprising, for the Board of Trade had mentioned in its recommendation of Schoharie on December 5, 1709, that the land was "claimed by the Mohaques, but that claim may be satisfied on very easy terms." (76) Hunter investigated their claims and found at Albany instructions to the authorities to restore their right and title to the lands in question. Hunter therefore acknowledged their claim. (77) In a conference with Hunter at Albany on August 22, 1710, the Indian Hendrick, apparently the only genuine sachem on the trip to England, said, "We are told that the great queen of Great Britain had sent a considerable number of People with your Excy to settle upon the land called Skohere, which was a great surprise to us and we were much Disatisfyd at the news, in Regard the Land belongs to us. . . . Nevertheless since Your Excellcy has been pleased to desire the said land for Christian settlements, we are willing and do now Surrender . . . to the Queen ... for Ever all that tract of Land Called Skohere . . . . " (78) In reply, Governor Hunter accepted the land in the Queen's name, promising them a suitable reward.

The Indian gift of Schoharie was made then at Fort

75 Doc. Hist., III, 560.

76 P. R. 0., C. 0. 5/1121, 472; N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 117.

77 C. C. 1710-1711, 223.

78 N. Y. H. S., Misc. Coll. of MS. on Indian Affairs. Livingston, as Commissioner of Indian Affairs, omitted the report of this conference in sending the series to England, C. C. 1710-1711, 834. Hunter however told the Board of Trade, Ibid., 223.


Page 153: Albany, August 22, 1710, to the Queen for Christian settlements, referring apparently to the Palatines. It was given to please Governor Hunter, and perhaps in fear that he would take it anyway. Certainly the gift was not inspired by the wretchedness of the Palatine immigrants, and there existed no obligation on the part of Governor Hunter to settle the Palatines there. He had no orders from the Queen to do so. Schoharie was only one of several tracts suggested as available because of the annulment of the "extravagant grants," "In case there be not found an opportunity of doing it more conveniently in some other part of that Province."

Bridger, who was to instruct the Palatines in tar-making, was sent to judge the possibilities of Schoharie. He reported it as good land but in no wise fit for the object in hand, that of making naval stores, as there was no pitch pine there.(79) The distance from New York City was also considered, but the real conflict seemed to have been in choosing between good farm land for the Palatines or proximity to the necessary pine trees to make naval stores. (80) The specific purpose of the settlement was to make naval stores and Hunter was to select the spot of settlement according to the contract; while he realized the difficulties of securing good farm land adjacent to pine lands "being good for nothing," he was determined to "accomplish the great Design," and for that the pine trees were the prime requisites.

One writer has said it was possible that Bridger may have spoken in the interest of Robert Livingston, a known specu-


79 " C. C. 1710-1711, 253; N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 168.

80 Ibid., 140; Osgood, op. cit., I, 499, states, "The problem was a complex one for the conditions affecting the production of hemp differed wholly from those which related to pitch and tar This same incomparability applied to all land necessary for other farm products of consequence. H. D. House, New York State Botanist, in a letter to the author on March 26, 1927, stated, "The pitch pine ... undoubtedly formed at that time a major portion of the forest upon the sandy and gravelly areas, and in general upon the areas of poor, sterile, or rocky soil. . . ."


Page 154: lator, (81) who sold the land used for the Palatine settlement to Hunter. Such a charge, in relation to the selection of the site of settlement, supposes that Bridger reported falsely in regard to the absence of pitch pine in Schoharie. Color is lent to this version by a statement in 1707 of Mr. Champante, the New York colonial agent. He was arguing for the annulment of the "extravagant grants" of Governor Fletcher, one of which was the Schoharie lands to Nicholas Bayard. He said, "a strong argument against the grants is that they contain great quantities of timber fit for masts and naval stores. This statement, however, included the Mohawk lands and others as well as the Schoharie and may perhaps be regarded as probably inaccurate, so far as it relates to Schoharie.

Fortunately, science has developed sufficiently to be able to shed some light upon the subject. An authority on New York botany states, "it is extremely unlikely that pitch pine ever occurred in Schoharle in any abundance for the reason that geographical formation in that section is chiefly limestone and glacial drift, upon which pitch pine does not grow in any abundance and upon the limestone formations and resulting soils pitch pine was never found." He adds, "there may have been a limited amount of pitch pine along the Mohawk, since at the present time there are some scattered clumps of that tree in that region." (83) Accordingly, Bridger's statement seems verified by present day scientists. Hunter, through his representatives before the Board of Trade on December 1, 1711, did not base his decision against settlement at Schoharie upon the lack of pitch pine. The first reason conflicting, it will be seen, with his earlier statement on the matter-was that "the Purchase thereof from the Indians was not clear." Other reasons were the difficulty of defending


81 Jeptha R. Simms, Frontiersmen of New York (Albany, 1882.), I, 107; hereafter cited as Simms, Frontiersmen.

82 Acts Privy Council Col. Unbound Papers, 61..

83 H. D. House, New York State Botanist, in a letter to the author, April 11, 1927.


<-Page 155: it from the French and Indians and the presence of a sixty-foot waterfall on the river below the proposed site. (84) This waterfall, however, had been adjudged no serious obstacle before Hunter sailed from England."

At any rate, the governor thought it advisable to look for lands nearer at hand, as near as possible to a navigable river and pine lands. A tract of land of 6,300 acres on the west side of the Hudson River, about ninety-two miles from New York City, was in the possession of the Crown. (85) It had formerly

84 B. M., Harleian MSS. 7021, 280; C. C. 1711-1712, 174

85 The Board of Trade said, "We do not see that this objection will be any hindrance to the seating them there."N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 117 .

86 B. M., Harleian MSS. 7021, 280; C. C. 1710,1711, 261; Ibid, 1711-1712, 174; N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 290.


Page 156: been granted to Captain Evans by Governor Fletcher, and had recently been resumed as one of the "Extravagant Grants." This land was used for the settlement of the Palatines and the experiment in naval stores manufacture. In addition, Hunter on Bridger's recommendation entered into an agreement with Robert Livingston, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for another tract on the east side of the Hudson River near the former Evans tract. On September 29th, 6,000 acres were purchased with the liberty of using the pitch pine neighboring the tract on Livingston's land. (87) The price was 266 pounds of English money, which amounted to 400 Pounds in colonial currency. (88) The friendship between Hunter and Livingston was an interesting development. Both were of Scotch descent and had need for each other. Only once did Hunter question Livingston's loyalty to himself, but one doubt, arising at the time of Colonel Nicholson's visit of investigation in 1711 (89) did not long affect the tie.

Livingston's holdings were indeed not without criticism by colonial officials. Governor Bellomont had written to the Board of Trade on November 28, 1700, of other "Extravagant Grants" not made by Governor Fletcher, but equally worthy of investigation. Besides van Rensellaer's and Nichols', he named Livingston's, "of 16 miles long and 20 or 24 broad." (90) In another letter a year later he wrote, "Mr. Livingston has on his great grant of 16 miles long and 24 broad, but 4 or 5 cottages as I am told, men that live in vassalage under him and work for him are too poor to be farmers . . . . . . " (91) How Livingston must have welcomed the Palatine settlements!

Livingston's sale of 6,000 acres was surprising in view

87 Livingston Family Ms. of original indenture in possession of Johnston Livingston Redmont Estate of New York City, with other valuable colonial manuscripts; hereafter cited as Liv. MSS. Also, Doc. Hist., III, 644.

88 N. Y. Col. Docs., V, 170, 172.

89> Dominion Archives, Ottawa, G. B. Patent Rolls 1702--1760, I, 31.

90 N. Y. Col. Docs., IV, 791.

91 Doc. Hist., III, 629.


Page 157: of the fact that his deeds called for only 2,6 00 acres. (92) But still more surprising was the result of the survey made just before Governor Hunter issued a confirmatory grant to Livingston, giving his manor representation in the assembly in 1715. On October 20, 1714, the deputy Surveyor found that Livingston Manor contained 160,240 acres, for which Livingston paid annually twenty-eight shillings current money quit-rent. (39) A recent authority on New York land laws has termed such quit-rent as not unusually low, since the lands were undeveloped." It was precisely the fact that such large grants were undeveloped and often remained so for many years, which caused the British authorities to object to such "extravagant grants" and to demand two shillings, six pence sterling for every hundred acres. (95) In return for the confirmatory grant and the privilege of sending a representative to the colonial assembly, Livingston entered the assembly as representative of his manor, and he helped Hunter in his administrative difficulties. He was of assistance in securing a friendly assembly, which held office for many years. When Hunter was to leave, as Speaker of that assembly Livingston lauded his friend in high terms and thus contributed to the reputation of Hunter as the best governor of New York in colonial history. In consideration of the so-called bargain price for the land, a contract was also drawn up by the Chief justice of New York and every precaution was taken to protect the Crown's interests. Livingston agreed to furnish one-third of a loaf of bread (4 1/4 pence size) and one quart "ship's beer" (a very low grade of beer) to each person daily. (96)


92 Ibid., 616, 611, 622, 624.

93 Ibid., 690, map.

94 Julius Goebel, Jr., Some Legal and Political Aspects of the Manors in New York (Baltimore, 1928), 17.

95 C. C. 1706-I708, 513.

96 Ibid., 653. Livingston had also been accused in 1700 of being concerned with Captain Kidd, the pirate, as well as in frauds as collector of excise at Albany (Ibid., 629). These charges were not proved, however.


Page 158: Hunter also purchased for the use of the Palatines a tract of neighboring land from one Thomas Fullerton, who was in the Custom Service of Scotland. He paid relatively more for this tract of 800 acres, saying that Fullerton could expect no profit from the Palatines' presence as was the case with Livingston. (97) Fullerton gave Hunter power of attorney to dispose of the same. This tract was almost opposite the purchase made from Livingston and seems for that reason to have been well selected. It is apparent that three tracts of land were used for settlement, although quite often only the two large tracts are referred to. (98)

Early in October the movement of the Palatines to the manor began, the cost of this transportation being 200 pounds.(99) The land was surveyed and five towns were marked out, three on the east side of the river and two on the west side. (100) Here the Germans cleared the ground and built themselves huts, each one according to his knowledge and ability. (101) Later a number of smaller settlements appeared. In June, 1711, there were seven villages inhabited as follows: (on the east side) Hunterstown, 105 families; Queensbury, 102 families; Annsbury, 76 families; Haysbury, 59 families; (on the west side) Elizabeth Town, 42. families; George Town, 40 families; and New Town, 103 families. The total number of Palatines on the Hudson was 1,874. (102) A large number of


97 Ibid., 661.

98 Ibid. 1710-1711, 261, 484.

99 B. M., Harleian MSS. 7021, 283; Doc. Hist., III, 652. Fullerton's land was claimed by Dirk Wessel by means of the Sockerman patent, but as the latter grant was later, it was not allowed. Liv. MS. letter of April 6, 1711.

100 Doc. Hist., III, 668.

101 Simmendinger, op. cit., 3.

102 Doc. Hist., III, 668. On the cast side, Germantown remains to mark these settlements; on the west side, West Camp (New Town), Evesport (Elizabeth Town), at Smith's Landing (George Town). Other Palatines settled at Katsbaan (King's Town), Rhinebeck, and Kingston. Olde Ulster, II, 203; III, 116, 225, 229.


Page 159: the Palatines, it will be seen, remained in New York City. This group numbered about 350 in 1710. (103) and about the beginning of 1713, 83 Palatines in 23 families still remained there. (104) Most of these were widows with families, though a few were employed in the governor's gardens.

103, Ibid., 562 et seq.
104 Simmendinger, op. cit., 12

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