Description of the New Netherlands

21 woods are now burnt over, and the brushwood and herbage out of the way. This is also the Indian hunting season, wherein such great numbers of deer are killed that a person who is uninformed of the vast extent of the country would imagine that all these animals would be destroyed in a short time. But the country is so extensive, and their subsistence so abundant, and the hunting being confined mostly to certain districts, therefore no diminution of the deer is observable. The Indians also affirm that before the arrival of the Christians, and before the small-pox broke out amongst them, they were ten times as numerous as they now are, and that their population had been melted down by this disease, whereof nine-tenths of them have died. That then, before the arrival of the Christians, many more deer were killed than there now are, without any perceptible decrease of their numbers. We will now notice the winters of the New-Netherlands, which are different at different places. Above the highlands, towards Rensselaerwyck, and in the interior places extending towards New-England (which we still claim), there the winters are colder and last longer than at New-Amsterdam, and other places along the sea-coast, or on Long Island, and on the South river (Delaware), At the latter places, there seldom is any hard freezing weather before Christmas, and although there may be some cold nights, and trifling snows, still it does not amount to much, for during the day it is usually clear weather. But at Rensselaerwyck the winters begin earlier, as in 1645, when the North river closed on the 25 th day of November, and remained frozen very late. Below the highlands and near the sea-coast, as has been observed, it never begins to freeze so early, but the cold weather usually keeps off until about Christmas, and frequently later, before the rivers are closed; and then they frequently are so full of drifting ice during the north-west winds as to obstruct the navigation ; and, whenever the wind shifts to the south or south-east, the ice decays, and the rivers are open and clear. . . . - It is strange and worthy of observation, and surpasses all reasoning, that in the New-Netherlands, without or with but little wind (for when the weather is coldest, there seldom is much wind), although it lies in the latitude of Spain and Italv, and the summer heat is similar, that the winters should be so much colder as to render useless all the plants and herbs which grow in those countries, which will not endure the cold weather.