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OCTOBER, 1889.




It is not to be supposed that Bradford received these strokes of adverse fortune with complacency. Keith, his fellow sufferer, who had stirred up this commotion, became involved in angry controversy with his late fellow sectaries, and finally gave them up altogether, becoming an Episcopalian. But Bradford was a young man with wife and children, and desired nothing more than quiet. Free management was essential to his livelihood. It was for these reasons he turned his eyes to New York. That town had been settled by the Dutch, who were of the Reformed Church; there were some Church of England people there, but they were very much in the minority, and there were many French Protestants, being those who had fled from France on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, a few years before. Besides, there were in the place New Englanders who had left a country of intolerance to find a better home elsewhere. No one sect contained all the forces of the community, and the population was composed of Dutch, English, French, New Englanders, Scotch, Irish, and Jews, the first making the largest fraction. The town was small. An enumeration made by the pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church, the only one then existing, seven years before, showed it had five hundred and sixty members, and a census of the whole town would, in 1693, have revealed only

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about four thousand persons, mainly gathered close to the fort, where the steamship offices now front on Bowling Green. The list made by Domine Selyns shows that of his church only seventy-six communicants were beyond Wall street, and it is certain some of these were farmers. Beyond Broadway on the west the city did not exist. The land there was either waste or under cultivation in fields. The houses were all on Broadway or east of it. The city formed a right angled triangle, the base being on Wall street, the perpendicular on Broadway, and the hypothenuse running from Pearl street and State street along the water side northeast up to a junction with Wall. There was but one church, the one within the fort, near the residence of the Governor. The year that Bradford came here, the Garden Street Church was erected, and four years after this the first rector of Trinity was inducted into office.*

This American town was a veritable happy land to those who came here to avoid oppression, to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, or to gain a livelihood for themselves and families in peace.

Denton declared of it in his description, the first of printed books about New York:

“I must needs say that if there be a terrestrial Canaan ’tis surely here. The inhabitants are blessed with peace and plenty; blessed in their country, blessed in the fruit of their bodies, and the fruit of their grounds; blessed in their basket and their store;

* The following are the places marked upon the map on the opposite page :

1 The Chapel in the Fort of New York; 2 Leyster's half moon ; 3 Whitehall battery of 15 guns ; 4 The Old Dock ; 5 The Cage and Stocks ; 6 Stadthouse battery of 5 guns ; 7 The Stadt (or State) house ; 8 The Custom house ; 8, 8 The Bridge; I Burghers, or the slip Battery of 10 guns; 10 The fly block house and half moon ; 11 The slaughter houses ; 12 The new Docks ; 13 The French Church ; 14 The Jews' Synagogue ; 15 The Fort, Well and Pump ; 16 Ellet's Alley ; 17 The works on the west side of the city ; 18 The northwest blockhouse ; 19, 19 The Lutheran Church and Minister's house ; 20, 20 The stone points on the W. side of the city ; 21 The Dutch Calvinist Church built 1692 ; 22 The Dutch Calvinist Minister's house ; 23 The burying ground ; 24 A Windmill ; 25 The King's Farm ; 26 Col. Dongan's garden ; 27, 27 Wells; 28 The plat of ground for the E Minister's house ; 29, 29 The stockade with a bank of earth on the inside ; 30 The ground proper for the building of an E Church ; 31, 31 Showing the sea flowing about N. York ; 32, 32 The City gates ; 33 A postern gate.

in a word, blessed in whatsoever they take in hand, or go about;

a the earth yielding plentiful increase to all their painful labor.

“Were it not to avoid prolixity I could say a great deal more, and yet say too little, to show how free are all these parts of the world from that pride and oppression, with their miserable effects, which many, nay almost all, parts of the world are troubled with. There a wagon or cart gives as good content as a coach, and a piece of their home-made cloth better than the finest lawns or richest silks ; and though their low roofed houses may seem to shut their doors against pride and luxury, yet how do they stand wide open to let charity in and out, either to assist each other or to relieve a stranger! and the distance of place from other nations doth secure them from the envious frowns of ill affected neighbors, and the troubles which usually arise thence.”

There cannot be much doubt that Bradford had looked at this city with longing eyes for some time. As we know now, Denton's description was far beyond the truth, yet peace and security were as easily to be found here as in any place in the world. Although the city was not so large as Philadelphia, its prospects were bright, and whoever came here, if he acted with discretion, could rely upon receiving a just and liberal recompense for his labor. Bradford undoubtedly had been here a number of times before the arrival of Fletcher, and during the part of the year which elapsed between his arrest and the restoration of his material he had repeated these journeys. The distance, even by the longest roads, is less than one hundred miles. He had probably met the Governor and agreed with him for his removal hither, before that official had even set out for Pennsylvania.

The Society of Friends held a meeting and consented that he should depart. Their minutes say:

Monthly Meeting, 2 month, 29, 1692. William Bradford proposing to this Meeting that if Friends saw it fitting he desired to be discharged from the engagement between Friends and him concerning the Press, Friends having considered the matter are very willing the said Bradford should be free so far as regards this Meeting. And the Meeting appoints Samuel Carpenter, John De La Vale, Robert Ewer and Alexander Beardsley to collect what is subscribed and due for the time past

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