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The Delaware Finns

E. A. Louhi

Chapter I.  The Finnish emigration to Sweden, from where their path led to the American shores.
Chapter II.  Motives and inducements that led Sweden to establish a colony on the Delaware River.
Chapter III.  A colony established on the Delaware River.
Chapter IV.  The second expedition. The Dutch withdraw from the company. Dutch colonists coming to the Delaware.
Chapter V.  The third expedition. Finnish colonists brought to the Delaware River.
Chapter VI.  The fourth and the fifth expeditions. More Finnish colonists brought to America.
Chapter VII.  The sixth, seventh and eighth expeditions. The Finns beseeching the queen to be permitted to go to America.
Chapter VIII.  The ninth and tenth expeditions. The Finns flocking to get passage for America.
Chapter IX.  The Delaware settlements under the Swedish administration.
Chapter X.  The Delaware colony conquered by the Dutch.
Chapter XI.  New expeditions of Finns arriving at the Delaware River.
Chapter XII.  The first period of the Finnish settlements under the Dutch rule.
Chapter XIII.  England replacing Holland as the ruler of the South River.
Chapter XIV.  The first period of the Finnish settlement under the English rule.
Chapter XV.  The second period of the Finnish settlements under the Dutch rule.
Chapter XVI.  The second period of the Finnish settlements under the English rule.
Chapter XVII.  The third period of the Finnish settlements under the English rule.
Chapter XVIII.  The last stages of the Finnish settlements on the Delaware.

Chapter XIII. England Replacing Holland as the Ruler of the South River.

At the confluence of the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries, England had emerged, from the rivalry with Spain as one of the greatest sea-power, and her eyes were turned with greater interest to the New World from where silver and gold was unceasingly flowing to her rival's treasury.

In the year 1584, Queen Elizabeth allowed her favorite courtier Sir Walter Raleigh to make an expedition to North America, which became then called Virginia, in honor of the Virgin Queen. Soon afterwards Raleigh sent out colonists with the intention to make a settlement on the Roanoke Island. But the colonists were looking for gold and failed to plant anything for their sustenance, hence when a new vessel arrived they had nearly died for starvation and had to be taken home. Two years afterwards a new expedition of colonists was sent out by Raleigh, these also settled at Roanoke Island. They too had hard times and their governor was obliged to sail back to England for relief. On his return, after a delay of three years, no trace of the colonists could be found and their whereabouts have remained a secrecy forever.

A new colonization attempt was carried on by an Englishman, Bartholomew Gosnold, who in 1602 visited with colonists the northern part of Virginia, that later became known as New England. His people however became homesick before the ship sailed back to Europe and had to be taken home. In London Mr. Cosnold met Captain John Smith, whose wild adventures in many lands were well known in England. These two adventurers then started to work together, urging the colonization of Virginia by England. In their recommendations they used the usual "reasons" of the time, as the blessing derived from spreading of Christianity, the glory of extending the territory of their country and the enormous profits to be had by a small investment. Other interested parties uniting with the above mentioned promoters, there were in 1606 incorporated two companies, the London Company and the Plymouth Company to carry on colonization. The land on the Atlantic coast of North America, between the thirty-fourth and forty-fifth degrees of north latitude and extending fifty miles inland, was granted to these companies. The London Company was to plant its colony on the southern part of this territory and the Plymouth Company on the northern part.

In the beginning of 1607, the first English colonial expedition, that planted a permanent settlement in America, left England with three vessels, bearing one hundred and five colonists, and entered the Chesapeake Bay on the 26th of April. Coasting the southern shore of the bay, they entered a river which the Indians called Powhatan, and about forty miles above the mouth of said river established their colony, which they called Jamestown, after the name of their king, James I. The great illusions of quick exploitation, with which the colonists had left their homes, did not however materialize and within one year from the time of their landing their numbers were reduced to thirty-eight souls for hunger and its accompanying diseases. Among those who perished was Bartholomew Gosnold, the originator of the expedition. The population of the colony later rose to 500 by new arrivals and in a short time fell again to 60 souls, for same reasons as before. The half-starved and miserable remnants had started their voyage back to England, when they were met in the river by Lord Delaware, with well appointed ships and more than three hundred new emigrants with abundant supplies. The old settlers were prevailed upon to return to Jamestown.

On account of the Plymouth Company, three ships sailed from Plymouth, England, on May 31, 1607, with a hundred settlers. On August 8th they reached the mouth of the river called Sagadahoc, or Kennebec, in the present State of Maine, and on a peninsula proceeded to plant a colony, under the presidency of George Popham. More than half of the people however became discouraged and returned with the ships to England. Forty-five remained over the winter, in midst of which their storehouse burned down and when a new ship arrived they all yielded to their homesickness and the entire colony returned to England.

The first English colonial experiments were discouraging, but still people looked towards the great, unknown New World as an asylum where they might regulate their spiritual and temporal affairs according to their conscience and desire, in those times of religious persecutions. For religious differences a party of Englishmen had moved in 1608 to live in Holland. These Pilgrims, as they called themselves, after twelve years of residence in that country found the conditions there much the same as in their native land and therefore looked for the wilds of America as the only place of peace. An agreement was reached with the Virginia Company in England, under whose general government the earlier London and Plymouth Companies belonged, and within the territory of the company a place was selected as the site for the Pilgrim Colony. A joint-stock company was organized to which some merchant adventurers from England were admitted in order to secure the capital for the expenses of the voyage. The colonists after having come from Holland on a small vessel, left Plymouth, England, in September, 1620, on board another ship, the Mayflower, being one hundred and two in number. Their destination was the New Jersey coast near Hudson River, but for some reasons they arrived at Cape Cod and dropped anchor in the roadstead of what is now Provincetown, Massachusetts. After exploring the country one month's time, they finally landed, at a place which they had selected for their colony, on December 21, 1620. This became the first permanent English settlement in the North Virginia or New England, as the region was called by Captain John Smith in his map made in 1614. For their settlement, the Pilgrims gave the name New Plymouth from the name of the down in England, where they finally set sail for the New World.

Following the example of this first permanent settlement in New England, new companies were organized in England and new expeditions of colonists came over. In 1634, the population of New England was between three and four thousand. Finally they became into clashes for territory with the Dutch of New Netherland, especially as the English crown claimed the territory occupied by the Dutch settlers.

In Virginia, where the colonists at this time had advanced to a comfortable living, a territory about the Chesapeake Bay was granted in 1632, by king Charles I. of England, to Cecilius Calvert, Baron of Baltimore. The said territory, which was named by the king, Maryland, in honor of his queen, had its northern boundary from the Delaware River towards the west "the fortieth degree of north latitude, where New England is terminated." This placed the entire territory west of the Delaware River, as far up as the present, site of the City of Philadelphia, into the domain of Lord Baltimore. And we have seen in the preceding chapter that this grant of land produced much trouble between the Baltimores and the Dutch, who also claimed the land along the west side of the river.

In 1664, King Charles II. in anticipation of hostilities with Holland, determined to dispossess them of the settlements the Dutch had made on what the English claimed as their territory. On the 22d of March, the king granted to his brother James, Duke of York and Albany, a patent on the land then known as New England, which included the present states of New York and New Jersey. This was followed by a commission, issued in May to Colonel Richard Nicholls, Sir Robert Carr and two others, to proceed to New England and to reduce the Dutch to an entire obedience of the English government. Under the instructions, Colonel Nicholls and the other commissioners, set sail from Portsmouth. England, with four vessels, having on board 300 soldiers, besides the sailors, and arrived at the waters of New Amsterdam in the end of August, 1664. After few days of deliberations, Governor Stuyvesant gave up the town without fight to the English.

On October 3rd Sir Robert Carr was commissioned, by the three other commissioners, to go to the Delaware River "to bring that place, and all strangers thereabouts, in obedience to his majesty." On the last day of September, Carr arrived to the Delaware with two ships, passing Fort New Amstel without being fired upon, he proceeded up the river to the Finnish Colony, where he assured the people in distinct treaty and agreement, in compliance to his instructions, that they shall enjoy their farms, houses, lands, goods and chattels with the same privileges and upon the same terms which they were possessing them before. Trading to be free to all English domains under the conditions as prescribed to Englishmen. All the people were to enjoy liberty of conscience. The present magistrates were to continue in their offices for six months, until new arrangements could be made. The old laws for the administration of right and justice between parties, were to continue for some time.

After this Sir Robert Carr had a parley with Governor d'Hinoyossa and with the Dutch Burghers of New Amstel. The burghers and townsmen consented to capitulation and took an oath of allegiance to the English king, but the governor and the officers refused to surrender the fort, which had to be taken by force with the casualties often wounded and three killed on the Dutch side. After the conquest of the fort, the English military and sailors fell into wild plundering, of which the Dutch townsmen, despite their oath of allegiance suffered heavy damages. The properties of the Dutch officials and their supporters were all confiscated.

New Netherland thus falling into the hands of the English, many of the geographical names with which we have become familiar are now changed. The South River becomes the Delaware River, New Amstel becomes New Castle and New Amsterdam is changed to New York, etc.

Publication: E. A. Louhi: The Delaware Finns or The First Permanent Settlements in Pennsylvania, Delaware, West New Jersey, and Eastern Part of Maryland. New York, The Humanity Press Publishers. 1925, 331 pages.

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