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CONFORMABLY to one of the profest objects of their institution, the New-York Historical Society have compiled the present volume, consisting of several journals connected with the discovery of NewYork, and a few documents relating to its civil and political transactions in the early stages of its settlement.

Events of this nature, so curious and interesting in the annals of every nation, can be traced with less difficulty, and ascertained with more precision, in the history of our country, than in that of almost any other. The first navigators who directed their course across the atlantic, were incited by curiosity to remark, and by the hope of renown to record, every circumstance and incident attending their first visit to the unknown coasts, and unexplored bays and rivers of America.

On their return to the countries from which they had sailed, their journals were sought for with eagerness, and the press was employed to preserve and diffuse the account of their discoveries. The journal of Henry Hudson, “who in the first ship, broke the unknown wave” of our wide cifcling bay and majestic river, has in this manner been fortunately pre served; and although not so minutely descriptive as our curiosity leads us to expect, yet is nevertheless sufficiently interesting to attract our attention, and certainly deserves to be perpetuated. The collection of voyages by Purchas, published in the year 1625, and which is still extant, contains this journal;. but as these volumes are very rare, and as the surest way to preserve a record is to multiply copies, the present opportunity is taken to exhibit it to the public in a new form, more covenient than the original edition.

As nothing appears to be known of the life and character of Hudson, but what is to be found in the history of his voyages, it cannot prove uninteresting to those who inhabit the borders of the noble river which bears his name, to read the brief memorials which remain of the enterprising spirit of this distinguished navigator, and of the calamities which terminated his adventurous career. With this view, the journals of his two last voyages, previous to his discovery of New York, and of his last expedition, in which he fell a victim to the disaffection and barbarity, of his crew, are allotted a conspicuous place in the present collection.

The commemorative discourse, prefixed to this volume, by referring to the voyage of Verrazzano, renders the publication of his journal also peculiarly proper, in order that every reader may judge for him

. self, whether his discovery applies to the harbour of New-York, or to some other place..

The circumstances attending the first settlement of the United States, are, with some exceptions, as correctly to be ascertained as those of the original discovery. The leaders of the first adventurers who emigrated to these shores, being men of intelligence and foresight, and contemplating not merely a temporary refuge, but the establishment of permanent colonies or states; were desirous of transmitting to their suc

cessors, and to posterity, some memorial of their civil transactions. In most of the principal states, such records are to be found, and furnish the historian with much minute and local information. It is to be regretted, however, that with respect to New York, from its first settlement by the Dutch in 1614 until 1636, there are scarcely any records remaining relative to the public affairs of the community. The English settlers on Connecticut river, were regarded, it appears, by the Dutch, as encroaching upon their territory, and in the year 1638 a prohibition was issued by William Kieft, the second Dutch governor, forbidding the English to trade at the Dutch posts established on that river. This, it seems, gave rise to a sharp controversy; and the publication of the documents, commencing with the protest of Kieft, and concluding with the articles of agreement relative to the partition line, will not, probably, prove unacceptable to the curious mind.

A statesman of the present day cannot, perhaps, refrain from smiling at the quaint style of these documents, and at the simple nature of the grievances and aggressions which are the chief subjects of this official correspondence. And yet, perhaps, when considered in relation to remote consequences, resulting from the maintenance or relinquishment of territorial rights; the disputes of these rude and rival colonists, who were opening paths through the wilderness for the progress of cultivation, and marking out the ground plot, on which are now rising the wide and lofty fabrics of two powerful states, are not to be regarded as insignificant or uninteresting.

In a few years afterwards, however, the Dutch ceased to be a party in this contention, being compelled by conquest to resign their territory to the dominion of Great Britain. A new system of government was then introduced by the authority of the Duke of York, to whom King Charles II, had made a grant of the colony, and a new body of laws was thereupon compiled under the direction of Nicolls, the first English governor. This code, it appears, was promulgated in every county, under the name of the “Duke's Laws,” a copy of which, transcribed from the records of Hempstead, on Long Island, will be found at the close of the present publication. These laws continued in force till the period of the revolution in England, and ceased to have effect in the year 1691, when the general assembly of the province began to exercise a new legislative power under the sovereignty of King William.

The documents contained in this volume are arranged, for the most part, in chronological order. This method, though convenient, and deemed expedient in the present case, is by no means considered as essential, or even important in a compilation, professing to furnish materials for historical composition, rather than connected history. Should the society be enabled by public patronage, to compile a series of volumes like the present, they will consider themselves as at perfect liberty to adhere to this plan, or to disregard it at pleasure.

The publication of the list of the members, and the catalogue of donations, is reserved for the next vo. lume.


The Constitution of the New-York Historical Society,


A Discourse, designed to commemorate the Discovery of

New-York, delivered before the New York Historical Society, Sept. 4, 1809, by Samuel Miller, D. D.


The relation of John De Verrazzano, of the land by him

discovered, in the name of his Majestie Francis the First, anno 1524,


The voyage of Henry Hudson towards the North Pole,

anno 1607,


A second voyage of Henry Hudson for finding a passage

to the East Indies, by the north-east, anno 1608,


The third voyage of Henry Hudson towards Nova Zembla,

&c. and along the coast, to 42 degrees and a half, and up the river (the Hudson) to 42 degrees, anno 1609, 102

An abstract of the journal of Henry Hudson, for the dis

covery of the north-west passage, begun in April in the year 1610, and ending with his death,


Documents extracted from the second volume of Hazard's “ Historical Collections,"


Laws established by James Duke of York, for the government of New York, in the year 1664,


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