Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664

By J. Franklin Jameson | Go to book overview

PREFACE

THERE is no one classical narrative of the history of New Netherland--nothing corresponding in position to Bradford History of Plymouth Plantation or Governor Winthrop's Journal. A volume intended to convey the best contemporary representation of New Netherland history must perforce be composed of several pieces, most of them not of high literary merit, but having the advantage of showing New Netherland and its events from various angles. The limits of the volume have not permitted the inclusion of every interesting or important contemporary narrative of the colony, but it is believed that all the best are here. One piece, the "Description of the Towne of Mannadens as it was in September, 1661," has not been printed before.

Most of the early narratives of New Netherland are written in Dutch. Hence the first difficulty with such a volume, next after that of selection, is that of securing good translations of seventeenthcentury Dutch pieces, some of them distinctly crabbed and rough in style. The old translations, published fifty or sixty years ago in the Collections of the New York Historical Society, the Documentary History of the State of New York, and similar volumes, are in some cases very bad, and in nearly all cases susceptible of considerable improvement. For the purposes of the present book they have been carefully revised or remade, by comparison with the originals. The introductions to several of the pieces express the editor's obligations to friends who have aided him in this revision. In the case of certain of the pieces, of which the originals are manuscripts at the Hague, this work of revision was performed by Professor William I. Hull, of Swarthmore College, and Dr. Johannes de Hullu, of the Rijksarchief (Dutch National Archives); others, of which the John Carter Brown Library contained printed copies, were revised by Professor A. Clinton Crowell, of Brown University; one, from a manuscript in New York, by Mr. S. G. Nissenson. In other instances the editor himself did this part of the work. If, however, the volume, as is believed, substitutes unusually correct translations for the imperfect

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