Cooper in the Netherlands

Wayne Franklin (University of Connecticut)

Presented at the Cooper Panel No. 1 (Fenimore Cooper: Fresh Biographical and Historical Contexts) at the 2009 Conference of the American Literature Association in Boston, Massachusetts.

Originally published in James Fenimore Cooper Society Miscellaneous Papers No. 26, pp. 3-8. Steven Harthorn and Shalicia Wilson, Editors.

Copyright © 2009 by The James Fenimore Cooper Society.

[May be reproduced for instructional use by individuals or institutions; commercial use prohibited.]

Was James Fenimore Cooper a “Knickerbocker” writer or not? The term, of course, was coined from the character whom Washington Irving invented as the supposed author of his comic History of New York, published in New York City late in 1809, just as Cooper, then a midshipman, in fact relocated there. Loosely understood, the term refers to New York City writers of the first few decades of the century. As such, Cooper qualifies by virtue of his having published his first six books in New York, and his having written the bulk of them in the City as well. Yet it is one of the puzzles of American literary history that Cooper is so grudgingly considered a Manhattan author. His identification with Cooperstown and the far-flung settings employed in many of his works may explain that attitude.

The other element often encountered among the admittedly Knickerbocker writers, the use of Dutch themes and characters, may account for the similar reluctance to count Cooper among the Irvings and their kinsman Paulding or such other Cooper friends as Henry Brevoort and Gulian Verplanck, all of whom always figure as members of the Knickerbocker inner circle. Perhaps in an effort to differentiate his own works from those of Irving, Cooper avoided Dutch subjects in his earliest writings. There are no “Vans” in The Spy, for instance, despite that book’s setting in the demographic stronghold of the Dutch in the lower Hudson Valley. To be sure, we are informed that “Mr. Wharton’s maternal ancestors” descended from “the early Dutch colonists” (Spy CE 98), but Cooper makes it clear that in his household and in the landscape generally English ways have long dominated Dutch ones. That neither Katy Haynes nor Betty Flanagan is Dutch indicates how Cooper avoided opportunities to explore the ethnic complications of Westchester, a point confirmed by the absence of French Huguenots as well. Take, too, the case of the old Dutch village of Fishkill, which figures as a site of part of the book’s action. We know that Cooper’s wife had relatives there who were of Dutch heritage and that Cooper had visited Fishkill and those relatives himself. But in the novel Fishkill is never described as particularly Dutch (or, for that matter, English). Among Cooper’s early books, we find only one casually Dutch character, Dirck Van der School, who appears in The Pioneers as “‘the Dutch’ or ‘honest lawyer’”. 1

Curiously, it is in one of the books he published during his European sojourn from 1826 to 1833, namely The Water Witch, that Cooper first engaged the Dutch characters and culture of old New York. Why that is so perhaps has something to do with Washington Irving’s retreat from Knickerbockerism in the later 1820s. As Cooper well knew, Irving had refashioned himself as a European travel writer and historian, having published his account of Columbus in 1828 and A Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada in 1829. In some sense, Cooper may have felt that Irving’s shift away from American themes, and specifically Dutch ones, left him free to explore New Netherland without coming into direct competition with Irving, or Paulding, who had remained in New York after first Irving and then Cooper left for Europe, but who had himself become a more miscellaneous writer in the 1820s.

Yet, significant as such considerations probably were, I would argue that the real spur to Cooper’s exploration of New York’s Dutch backgrounds came to him during his European experiences. In particular, in the spring of 1828, he first traveled in the Netherlands, witnessing there certain cultural details that gave him a fresh sense of how much had survived from the Dutch past in the familiar landscapes he remembered from his early years in Albany and Manhattan. The process involved what one might term the “above ground archaeology of American cultural precedents.” In the case of the Netherlands, the discovery of such precedents was important because it helped Americans such as Cooper understand the mixed ethnic heritage of Euro-America. During Cooper’s life, the Dutch remnants of New York (and New Jersey) were being overrun and torn down, literally and verbally, by the in-flooding Yankee immigrants who began moving to New York State following the Revolution. Yale President Timothy Dwight took considerable satisfaction in updating his journal notes on the urban fires that devastated Albany, for instance — for, as Dwight explained, these catastrophes had the signal benefit of clearing away the decidedly un-Yankee architecture of that old Dutch city. 2

So in touring the Netherlands Cooper was, in a sense, recovering the earlier condition of Dutch New York. We have known so little about his 1828 Netherlands trip to this point that it has been hard to see how stimulating it was for him. Cooper had spent the first months of 1828 in London with his wife Susan, their son Paul (then four) and his nephew William, who acted as his amanuensis. That sojourn was motivated by a desire to “do London,” but more pressingly by Cooper’s need to finish his present manuscript, Notions of the Americans, and see it through the press in the English capital. Cooper did not expect a big sale of the work on the Continent, and therefore shifted his production methods: to this point, the books he wrote in France had been set and printed there in English, Cooper using sets of perfected proofs from his French partners as copy text for his English and American publishers and his various official translators. Although Notions of the Americans in fact would be translated into French by the Franco American figure Harriet Preble, it had no continental English edition.

Finishing Notions of the Americans took a good deal out of Cooper. It was a kind of writing he had not attempted before, dense with facts and full of political purpose. In between trips around the English countryside and a good deal of socializing in London, he pushed himself to bring the book to an end. One consequence of his labors on it was that the Coopers had to delay leaving London. Another was that Cooper himself had to change plans he had been developing over the past year or so to embark with a young New York friend, Gouverneur Morris Wilkins, on an ambitious tour of central and eastern Europe in the summer of 1828, a tour that he had expected might occupy four or six months. That tour formed part of a literary plan as well. While in London, Cooper informed his American publishers that he intended to produce a series of travel books descriptive of various parts of Europe. With the cancellation of the tour, that intention was scaled back but hardly abandoned. The Coopers left London on May 28 on a paddle steamer for Rotterdam, and soon after they arrived there the next day the novelist began his first extant journal, recording in it the sorts of details that he would rely on for the planned travel books. When the tour with Wilkins was still on, Cooper had told Carey & Lea, in describing his plan for those books, that he would “have many journals in store” for the firm. By the time he arrived in Rotterdam, Wilkins had been informed of Cooper’s change in plans, but the novelist nonetheless put his pen to paper on arriving in the city. 3

It is that journal which allows us to understand what Cooper did and saw in the Netherlands. In fact, he never included the Netherlands among the countries covered in the five European travel books he wrote and published — he was to return to the southern lowlands in 1830 and 1832, following the Belgian Revolution, and did include those trips in what is now called Gleanings in Europe: The Rhine (1836), but in that book he avoided the Dutch parts of the country visited in 1828. For Cooper’s later travel journals, such as those covering his time in Switzerland later in 1828, we have not only the initial record but also the reconstruction in the relevant travel book. For the Netherlands, to the contrary, we have only the initial record, along with a few retrospective notes that Cooper later added in the margins of his copy of a French language guidebook to Germany and the Low Countries which he “Bought at Munich in Bavaria the 13ᵗʰ May 1830.” 4 The Dutch journal is a spare document, occupying only about two pages in Beard’s edition of Cooper’s Letters and Journals. It consists of very terse jottings.But it can be fleshed out by various means. First it should be noted that the very reason for the transit through the Netherlands on the family’s return to Paris sprang from quite particular circumstances. Although the question is hidden in a few obscure details, it is clear that Cooper took this route back to France (rather than going through Calais, the route he’d chosen for the trip to London — or through Le Havre, the port of entry the Coopers had used on arriving in France in 1826) precisely because he expected to meet with Wilkins and his new fellow traveler, a South Carolinian named William Aiken, in the Netherlands (see LJ 1:286). 5 Cooper had originally intended to join Wilkins in Germany, but as plans for the trip changed he switched the meeting place to Amsterdam, from which the friends were to pass by ship to Germany. Now, with Cooper out of the picture, Wilkins and Aiken still planned on departing by ship from Amsterdam. The Coopers met them in Rotterdam and the two groups traveled more or less together from there to Amsterdam, where Cooper and his wife bid the two young men farewell.

This helps explain why, although the Coopers landed in Rotterdam and were eager to return to Paris, where they would be reunited with their daughters, they did not proceed south from there through Dordrecht to Breda and on to Antwerp, but first detoured west and north via Delft, The Hague, Leyden, and Haarlem and spent time in Amsterdam with these two “American friends,” the cryptic phrase in Cooper’s journal that refers to this episode (LJ 1:267). Only after they had seen Wilkins and Aiken on their way did the Coopers head south from Amsterdam, passing through Utrecht to Antwerp and Brussels and thence to Paris. They spent fully two weeks on this leisurely itinerary.

One can also flesh out Cooper’s journal by means of the guidebook that he had purchased in London just before departing for Rotterdam. In a May 23 letter from London to her daughters, Susan Cooper noted that the novelist’s nephew was reading over “the Belgian Traveller“ in anticipation of the impending arrival in Rotterdam, all the time biting his nails in sheer nervous excitement. 6 Edmund Boyce’s The Belgian Traveller, Being a Complete Guide through Belgium and Holland, or Kingdom of the United Netherlands , first issued right after the final defeat of Napoleon in 1815, was a quite thorough guide to the Netherlands in its then artificially unified form. Not only did Boyce help elucidate for the Coopers what they were to see in the Netherlands — he seems to have determined their route and their activities along the way. For instance, the Coopers’ side trip from The Hague to the rustic fishing village of Scheveningen, directly on the seacoast, may well have been by motivated Boyce’s favorable comments on it (see LJ 1:266, 268). Choices of lodgings and decisions about what buildings and art collections to see may also have been influenced by reference to Boyce. 7

For my present purpose, what matters is the way in which some of what Cooper saw in the Netherlands dredged up deep memories from his childhood and youth. Born in Burlington, New Jersey, in 1789, Cooper had been relocated with the rest of his large family to Otsego County, New York, in the following year. Demographically, Otsego County was largely a Yankee enclave eighty miles past the still-Dutch villages and cities of the Hudson Valley. Most of its farmers derived from Southern New England, and had moved west starting in 1785 in search of better lands and better opportunities. The Coopers, of English Quaker heritage, thus found themselves amid crowds of latter day Puritans, a nice historico-theological irony. But various members of the family spent enough time in historically Dutch communities in the 1790s and early 1800s for their sense of their adopted state’s complex ethnic and cultural heritage to become evident to them. For James, the youngest child, the most important immersion in Dutch ways came during his year of college preparation under the tutelage of Rev. Thomas Ellison, Episcopal rector of St. Peter’s Church in Albany, in 1800 and 1801. In Albany then as well as in earlier and later visits Cooper became intimately familiar, for instance, with the Afro-Dutch festival of Pinkster, which he used as the basis of famous scenes (though transposed to Manhattan) in his best Dutch book, Satanstoe (1845).

From the time he landed on Boom Quay in the heart of Rotterdam at the end of May 1828, Cooper found himself surrounded with cultural signs and practices he now freshly began to recall as once typical of Albany and Manhattan in what, on the last page of his English Gleanings, he would recall as “their palmy Dutch condition.” 8 He had seen things in England, of course, that recalled aspects of the American landscape and his own experience, and a similar sense of recognition at times struck him in France. But the sense of déjà vu that hit him in Rotterdam was unexpected and therefore more evocative for Cooper. It had been several years since he last visited Albany or other parts of the Dutch landscape in the Hudson Valley. Only once in his writings to date — in Tales for Fifteen (1823) — did Cooper even mention Albany, and while its description there was laudatory it utterly overlooked the city’s complex ethnic legacy. In 1828, what probably struck him first in Rotterdam were the characteristic gable-end houses, with their decorative brick and iron work. Boyce certainly thought that “the peculiar style of Dutch building” was “more than usually prevalent” in the country’s second city in the 1820s. In his journal, Cooper also took note of people “Scrubbing houses outside” and the curious “looking glasses” on the facades of the houses, which (as Boyce explained) allowed inhabitants to scan street life without venturing outdoors (LJ 1:266). 9

Cooper in fact would begin his first Dutch novel early the next year in large part because of the awakening of his memories in the Netherlands. The novel would change shape and focus during its composition, becoming more of a sea tale incidentally linked to Old New York, but Cooper nonetheless first thought of The Water Witch as a work in which he would explore Greater New York in the early eighteenth century. Some of what Cooper saw at this time would surface in the book. In sketching the architecture of New York City at its outset, he thus gestured toward the canal houses of Holland. 10 Cooper more deeply re-imagined the old Manhattan scene at the book’s opening. When Alderman Van Beverout strolls from his Broadway mansion to the house owned by the Patroon of Kinderhook, Oloff Van Staats, on one of the side streets in the lower end of the town, Cooper is mapping early New York as he might have become familiar with it through his own wanderings and the stories or illustrations he had encountered while living there. But as the two men proceed from there together, their walk seems to leave New York and enter instead the Netherlandish scenes Cooper had more recently experienced — for suddenly they are alongside a canal-like creek that penetrates Manhattan for a quarter mile, crowded on both its banks by high, angular, tightly packed buildings like those houses, already mentioned, that line the urban canals of the Netherlands. The fact of the matter, however, is that some such canal, called the Heere Gracht (like its more spacious counterpart in Amsterdam), indeed penetrated Manhattan in just this fashion in the Dutch period. And it was lined by what Cooper terms “ultra Dutch” houses on either side (WW 1:30).

Moreover, the landscape of the novel is conceivably more layered than this historical coincidence suggests. For how did Cooper know of that canal? It had been built over a few years after the English conquest of New Netherland, so its presence in his book (which opens on “the 3d of June, 171-” [WW 1:8] — Cooper wrote Horatio Greenough in December 1829, “Scene New York - time 1711” [LJ 1:399]) is strictly an anachronism, indicating how murky was the record of the physical history of New York City in Cooper’s time. Yet that old canal not only did exist — it also, as Cooper wrote, did have a “curvature” (WW 1:30) owing to the fact that it followed the bed of an even older ditch that had been cut northward to drain a small marsh. Anyone who today examines the course of Broad Street, which follows the same line as the Heere Gracht from Pearl Street north, will find that it bends as it approaches present day Exchange Street. Cooper’s friend William Dunlap would speak of this canal in his 1839 History of the New Netherlands; Province of New York, and State of New York in terms that were consistent with those in Cooper’s novel, published nine years earlier, perhaps suggesting that the two had wandered about this part of the city together, exploring its old features. 11 It is just possible, however–and here the oddity of the book’s origins is perhaps extended — that Cooper’s visual grasp of the scene owed something to his presence in Florence in early 1829 when he wrote the first few chapters. For in an old Medici family collection then housed at the Villa Castello outside that Tuscan city would be identified early in the twentieth century a now famous plan of the lower tip of Manhattan, a plan then unknown in New York. Of all early views, the Castello plan most clearly depicts the curving canal, with a string of Dutch style houses on either side! 12

Whether Cooper saw the Castello Plan in Florence or not, his reading as a literate New Yorker in the years prior to his European sojourn probably had given him a pretty good exposure to some of the images he deployed in the Manhattan landscape of his novel. The Heere Gracht “canal” was long gone, but for New Yorkers of Cooper’s generation it was common to gesture toward the “ferry house” (located by Washington Irving in 1809 at 23 Broad Street), “a small yellow brick house ... with the gable end to the street, surmounted with an iron rod, on which, until within three or four years, a little iron ferry boat officiated as weather cock.” 13 Although Cooper hung the “small [iron] boat” from a crane that stuck out from the stepped gable of the ferry house in his novel (WW 1:30), clearly these details came from the same fund of images. Two intervening sources may also have supplied Cooper with further details. In 1819, Irving’s collaborator, James Kirke Paulding, included a prose sketch called “The Old Ferry House” in Salmagundi, Second Series, and indeed made it the setting of a tale set in New York early in the eighteenth century. 14 As a member of the Bread and Cheese Lunch, Paulding obviously could have provided Cooper oral, not just written, guidance on such issues. Finally, Cooper family friend Egbert Benson, a lawyer with an avid interest in the city’s history, included in an 1816 paper he read before the New York Historical Society some discussion of the meaning of the Dutch terms associated with the water features of the early city, including Broad Street and what Benson termed “Heere Graft.” 15 Although, unlike Paulding, Benson did not belong to the Lunch, his ties to the Cooper family were ancient and deep. 16

A few words on other issues by way of conclusion. In a later preface to the novel, Cooper admitted that in giving the rural Dutch villa of Van Beverout the Dutch name of Lust in Rust (“pleasure in repose”), he was recalling the abundance of fanciful house names encountered “as one moves along the canals” of the Netherlands, a detail on which Boyce likewise commented. 17 Moreover, in Belgium Cooper began to refine his emerging memories of the old “Dutch” landscapes he would recreate in The Water Witch. In the Antwerp marketplace, Cooper came across “a fellow vending quack medicines and vilely printed legends,” all the time singing a jaunty song. What struck the novelist about the encounter, as he recalled it a decade later, was the fact that he was also to see and hear the same man in the same place on his third visit to the Lowlands in 1832, still hawking the same wares and singing the same song. And there was more to the story: Cooper was sure that he had first heard that very song in Albany while attending Rev. Thomas Ellison’s school there in 1801. His point about the anecdote ran deeper than mere coincidence. Although typical accounts of Albany published in Cooper’s life stressed the unmixed “Dutch” background of the place, his personal encounters with the complex cultural landscapes of the Lowlands from 1828 to 1832 moved him beyond that cliché. New York’s first European settlers, he concluded, were not simply “Dutch.” Although “it is to be presumed that there must have been some colonists from Holland, in a province belonging to that nation,” he now believed that many, perhaps most, had hailed from Flanders. 18 He was certainly correct that, among the diversity of settlers populating seventeenth century Albany, the Dutch as a distinct ethnic group were a minority. One of the earliest groups of immigrants to land there, Charlotte Wilcoxen has shown, had been a group of Walloons from the southern part of Belgium. 19 But Cooper’s ear was especially attuned to the Dutch dialects of Flanders, not the Romance tongue of Wallonia — the latter being closer to French even though it also has some important ties to Germanic languages, especially Dutch. The song of that Antwerp vendor when Cooper heard him a second time drove home what he took to be this truth.

Cooper was not to follow out these hints with utter dedication to the historical truth. In The Water Witch, published in between his first and second trips to the Lowlands, Cooper still tended to agree with the Knickerbocker writers that the colonial New York story was the story of largely undifferentiated “Dutch” influences. Only in giving a “twist” to the chimney stack of the Van Staats house in Kinderhook in that book, thus making it appear to be in “the most approved style of the Dutch Brabant” (i.e., what was to become the northern part of Belgium in 1830) or adding “Flemish gables” to three other buildings erected on Van Staats’s manor in that upper Hudson valley community, did Cooper draw on his own experience of the southern Lowlands. Otherwise, as in the case of Lust in Rust, he stuck to the expectable markers of “Dutch” style (WW 2:56, 2:245-246).

Even so, Cooper did not abandon the insights that had first come to him in Antwerp in 1828. His returns to the Lowlands in 1831 and 1832 bolstered them. For one thing, he would claim that he found many early New York family “names in Antwerp, but scarcely one in Holland.” And he added that the language of the streets in New York generally “was much nearer the Flemish than the Dutch” (GR 95). In his last work, “The Towns of Manhattan,” Cooper likewise described the first settlers of that island as “natives of Rotterdam, Antwerp, and all the Low Countries.” 21 In the Lowlands, Cooper clearly learned deep lessons in the cultural diversity of his home country.


1 The Pioneers, or the Sources of the Susquehanna, 2 vols. (New York: Charles Wiley, 1823), 2:89.

2 Timothy Dwight, Travels in New England and New York, ed. Barbara M. Solomon, 4 vols. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1969), 2: 346.

3 The Letters and Journals of James Fenimore Cooper, 6 vols. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1960 1968), 1: 258, 264, 266 (hereafter referred to as LJ). Susan DeLancey Cooper to the Cooper daughters, 5/23/1828, James Fenimore Cooper paps., box 2, American Antiquarian Society, names the steamboat and gives details of the family’s intent to embark on it “on Wednesday [5/28] at ten o’clock.” The steamboat left from the vicinity of the Custom House, which stood between London Bridge and the Tower; see Edmund Boyce, The Belgian Traveller, Being a Complete Guide through Belgium and Holland, 5ᵗʰ ed. (London: Samuel Leigh, 1827), 80.

4 The book was in the library when Paul Fenimore Cooper inventoried it in the 1950s (see PFC, “Listing of ‘Old Books,’” in PFC Archives, Hartwick College Library), but its present whereabouts are unknown. Beard made use of the annotations in various place in the Letters and Journals.

5 At the end of his account of the English visit, Cooper wrote that he had a “long standing engagement” in Amsterdam “early in June” (Gleanings in England CE 305), although the meeting actually occurred in Rotterdam (see LJ 1: 286), after which the two parties traveled more or less together to Amsterdam. In his Italian Gleanings, he more specifically noted parting from “G. W.” (who was “on his way to Moscow”) in Amsterdam in June 1828. Gleanings in Europe: Italy, ed. Constance Ayers Denne and John Conron (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1981), CE 28.

6 SDC to the Cooper daughters, 5/23/1828.

7 Boyce, 124-125.

8 Gleanings in Europe: England, ed. Donald A. Ringe, Kenneth W. Staggs, James P. Elliott, and R. D. Madison (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1980), 308.

9 Boyce, Belgian Traveller, 92.

10 The Water Witch, or the Skimmer of the Seas, 2 vols. (Philadelphia: Carey and Lea, 1831), 1:30. Hereafter referred to as WW.

11 William Dunlap, History of the New Netherlands, Province of New York, and State of New York, 2 vols. (New York: Carter and Thorp, 1839-1840), 2:cxvii. One of the details both men mentioned in their descriptions of Broad Street was “the ferry house,” which I discuss at greater length later in my text. In an earlier work published while Cooper still remained in Europe, Dunlap had already hinted that the novelist was his source on this matter by calling that structure “the ferry house immortalized in Cooper’s Water Witch.” A History of the American Theatre (New York: J. & J. Harper, 1832), 40.

12 See I. N. Phelps Stokes, The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909, 6 vols. (New York: Robert H. Dodd, 1915-1928, 2: 209-348. John A. Kouwenhoven, The Columbia Historical Portrait of New York (New York: Doubleday, 1953), 40-42.

13 A History of New York, from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty, 2 vols. (New York: Bradford and Inskeep, 1809), 1:143.

14 Salmagundi, Second Series, 3 vols. (New York: J. Haly and C. Thomas, 1819 1820), 2: 99-113.

15 Memoir, Read before the Historical Society of the State of New York (New York: T. & W. Mercein, 1817), 66.

16 Various independent sources mention and locate the ferry-house and give details about it that corroborate some of those Cooper used in The Water Witch. One is The Picture of New York (New York: A. T. Goodrich: 1825), by Cooper’s first publisher, which dates the filling-in of the Heere Gracht to 1676 and asserts that “Before this, the water came up to Garden street, and the ferry boats landed near where the present Public Store is located” (26). Later, Goodrich locates the public store at the corner of Broad and Garden (281). Another contemporary source, also from the hand of someone known to Cooper, is John Fanning Watson’s Historic Tales of Olden Time (1832), later revised as Annals and Occurrences of New York City and State (1846). Drawing on the personal recollections of local resident Thomas Rammey, and tales Rammey recalled from his mother in law, who was born in 1722, Watson wrote: “[Rammey] says he used to be told that the real ‘ferry house’ on Broad street, was on the north east corner of Garden street, now Exchange place ... and that the other, (No. 19) a little higher up ... was only a second inn, having a ferry boat sign, either in opposition, or to perpetuate the other.” More to the point, given the sort of craft (a flat-bottomed “periagua”) that Cooper had his characters use to cross to New Jersey in the novel, Rammey asserted, “the boats were flat bottomed, and used to come from Jersey.” Watson expressed skepticism on the subject: “To me I confess it seems to have been a singular location for a ferry, but as the tradition is so general and concurrent, I incline to think it was so called from its being a resort of country boats coming there to find a central place for their sales.” Historic Tales of Olden Time: Concerning the Early Settlement and Advancement of New York City and State (New York: Collins and Hannay, 1832), 108. Watson had written Cooper in 1826 offering to supply him with details for a novel set in the time of William Penn, but Cooper did not recall that earlier contact when he in turn wrote the historian early in 1839 to thank him for information supplied for his in progress naval history; see LJ 3: 364-365. It is possible that the two had crossed paths in New York or Philadelphia (where Watson lived) in the early 1820s and that Watson had discussed early New York with the novelist. Indeed, in the later edition of his book, although Watson at one point spoke of “’the ferry house’ immortalized in Cooper’s Water Witch,” he also expressed the view that “Cooper’s Tale of the Water Witch, profiting, as I presume, by my facts concerning the ancient Ferry House at the head of Broad street ... graphically depicts the place and appurtenances.” Annals and Occurrences of New York City and State in the Olden Time (Philadelphia: Henry F. Anners, 1846), 199; 309-310. Cooper could not have consulted either edition of Watson’s book prior to writing the novel: either Watson was wrong on that question or he was thinking of some other means by which Cooper had drawn on what he called “my facts.”

17 The Water Witch: or, The Skimmer of the Seas (New York: W. A. Townsend, 1860), vi. Cooper explained that Van Beverout defined Lust in Rust as otium cum dignitate — that is, “peace with dignity” (WW 1: 82). Washington Irving gave a more accurate translation when he borrowed the saying for his tale of the legendary character Wolfert Acker in 1839. Irving explained that Wolfert had inscribed over the door of his house “the favorite Dutch motto, ‘Lust in Rust,’ (pleasure in repose). The mansion was thence called ‘Wolfert’s Rust,’ — Wolfert’s Rest; but in process of time, the name was vitiated into Wolfert’s Roost, probably from its quaint cock-loft look, or from its having a weather cock perched on every gable.” “The Crayon Papers,” The Knickerbocker, 13(1839): 207. Boyce, Belgian Traveller, 94.

18 Gleanings in Europe: The Rhine, ed. Ernst Redekop, Maurice Geracht, and Thomas Philbrick (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1986), 95. Hereafter referred to as GR.

19 Charlotte Wilcoxen, Seventeenth Century Albany: A Dutch Profile, rev. ed. (Albany: Albany Institute of History and Art, 1984), 6-7.

20 James F. Beard, “The First History of Greater New York,” New York Historical Society Quarterly 37 (1953): 138.