Evans, Paul D., 1924, The Holland
Land Company. The Buffalo Historical Society, Buffalo, NY.
Sources referenced as "Fairchild Collection" represent materials now
in the Archive of Lorenzo State Historic Site or the New York Public Library.
Sources referenced as "HCoP" (Holland Company Papers) are in the Holland Land Company Archives, Amsterdam (microfilmed by the Holland Land Company Project, SUNY Fredonia)
<:37> As was noted in
the preceding chapter, one of the inducements to Cazenove's purchase of
lands south of the Mohawk was the demand already evident for lots in that
region. Cazenove, not loath to prove to his principals what profitable
investments they bad made at his advice, was eager to open the lands to
immediate settlement. None of the other Dutch holdings was yet in
a situation to permit resales: in the Genesee the Indian title had yet
to be secured, in Pennsylvania the warrants had not even been located.
In central New York on the other hand the Dutch title was clear or seemed
to be; the lands were already surveyed into township units and further
subdivisions could be quickly made; best of all the tracts were not so
large as to be unmanageable in the hands of a single agent as yet inexperienced
in the land business. While Boon was carrying on his sugar experiments,
Lincklaen, according to Cazenove's plans, would take the initial steps
necessary for the resale of the great holdings acquired by the Dutch during
the preceding year. Lincklaen, fired with enthusiasm by his journeys
through the back country, was eager to undertake the enterprise and, when
in the spring of 1793 consent arrived from Holland, he lost no time in
making preparation for sales at Cazenovia.
Nothing will illustrate better the methods which he planned to pursue than an extract from his announcement to the public in a handbill dated at Albany April 23, 1793. [Footnote 37-1]
<:38> "Mr. Lincklaen being sensible that the progress of the new settlements, though going on very rapidly, has, notwithstanding been very much retarded for the want of proper assistance & encouragement, wishes to obviate this by turning his constant care and attention to whatever has a tendency to promote the good of the country at large, and his lands in particular. With this view he is forming a settlement in the road township, at the outlet of a beautiful lake of about three and a half miles long and one mile wide, where he is laying out a town for the accommodation of mechanics; building mills, erecting a well assorted store, potash works, and opening different roads to Whitestown, the Salt-springs, the Chenango river and Catskill.
"The main road which leads to Whitestown into the Genesee country, passes at six miles distance only from the above mentioned town, where Mr. Lincklaen means to reside himself, and where he will be happy to see the emigrants, and give them such farther description of the country, and information with respect to the terms of settling, as they may wish.
"The terms of payment will be made very easy, and encouragement given to all kinds of mechanics.
"N.B. Mr. Lincklaen must inform the public, that he will sell no lands but to actual settlers."
Where had Lincklaen acquired these ideas for the opening of a new settlement? Here at the very beginning, before he had yet sold a single acre, he was planning in its entirety what James Wadsworth was later to dub a "hot-house settlement." The proprietors themselves were to erect saw mills, grist mills, potash works, to establish a general store, to open roads and having laid out a town site to populate it by proper encouragement to mechanics, which meant not merely the erection of shops, furnishing of tools and lending of money to artisans, but such pleasant <:39> things as the establishment of breweries and distilleries to supply the needs of the happy settlers. If Lincklaen had been asked why such elaborate plans were necessary for his settlement, he undoubtedly would have answered as Boon did five years later for his establishment at Oldenbarneveld. [Footnote 39-1] They were designed "to enhance the value of the land by encouraging settlement, to draw the attention of mechanics who are unavoidably necessary and to give them and all those workmen who are connected with them work and it is the settler who reaps the benefit. This again attracts other settlers and by that means they enhance the value of the lands," and consequently any loss which might arise from them was purely imaginary.
Lincklaen and Boon had gained their ideas from the same experiences. They bad traveled together through the interior of New York and Pennsylvania and through parts of New England, visiting settlements old and new, talking with proprietors, settlers and would-be settlers. They had learned what it was that made one establishment attractive and another repellent; and the lack of what advantages deterred the Yankees from leaving their homes for the West. They had seen how some land owners had succeeded in making rapid and apparently very profitable retail sales by overcoming these difficulties. Above all, they had been influenced by Williamson's magnificent attempt to turn the wilderness into a blossoming paradise. [Footnote 39-2] Every one who had the slightest interest in the land business was talking of the wonderful success which this energetic and resourceful agent was winning in western New York. The two Dutch travelers had <:40> studied his methods and drunk from the inexhaustible wells of his enthusiasm. They too had visions of the new world which was to spring out of the forest at their bidding. Who would not have been generous in encouragement to the settlers when they were to be coworkers in such a splendid enterprise? There were glory and happiness and profit in store for both settler and proprietor. Lincklaen and Boon could not have realized at the beginning the extent of the drafts they would be required to make upon their principals in order to carry out these bright schemes. They believed that after the first expenditures the settlements would pay their own way and that thereafter the proprietors need trouble themselves with nothing save means of disposing of their profits. The proprietors were led to believe the same thing and gave their consent and a free hand to their representatives in America to develop the enterprise.
When the accounts of the establishment were made up four years after the beginning of sales, it was found that not a cent had yet been remitted to Holland, that on the contrary heavy drafts had been made upon the proprietors' bankers, development expenditures having already reached the large sum of $128,000 as compared with $87,000, the original cost of the land. [Footnote 40-1] Though considerably more than $10,000 had been advanced to artisans and others whose presence on the lands was considered of value in promoting their settlement, it would appear that the expenditure had been only moderately successful. A census of the village of Cazenovia in 1800 showed only 27 men in the place, among whom were 1 shoemaker, 2 blacksmiths, 2 carpenters, 2 bricklayers, 1 tailor; 1 tanner, 1 cooper and 1 miller. [Footnote 40-2] To this number there should undoubtedly be added some others located outside the <:41> village. Two store-keepers had in addition received $11,500 as loans to get their shops under way. But much the largest item among expenditures was that of $81,767 which embraced the outlays for building of saw and grist mills and of farm houses and barns, clearing of farms and town lots, the purchase of stock and tools, the erection of potash works and of a distillery and a brewery. [Footnote 41-1]
An analysis of the accounts shows that the funds which had passed through Lincklaen's hands had not been squandered. For most of them there was something tangible and real to show. The establishment was undoubtedly more valuable than five years previous. By 1800 there were 1600 inhabitants on the settlement; in 1797 the number of settlers probably exceeded 1000. [Footnote 41-2] Their very presence increased the value of the unsold lands. Many of them had certainly been attracted to the settlement by the improvements which Lincklaen had undertaken. The money lent to the storekeepers at least was drawing interest and the prospect of its repayment was good. The proprietors owned several good mills, a number of houses, some partially cleared farms and a certain amount of live stock. All this Lincklaen could point to as an evidence of his activity and his constant attention to the needs of his settlement. When the Dutch complained that they did not want all those mills and farms and buildings and debts, as this sort of investment <:42> did not pay, and there was other use for the money invested in them, Lincklaen could admit all their objections but justify himself with the claim that without such expenditures the settlement would not have reached the flourishing state it was in, nor would the lands unsold have been nearly as valuable as they were then. It pleased the Dutch to learn that their settlement was in a prosperous condition and that their lands were more valuable than when purchased, but, if their investment was flourishing, why was it always calling for help instead of yielding dividends, and, if their lands were more valuable, why could they not sell them, take their gains and be done with the business?
We can not wonder at the Dutch questioning, nor on the other hand can we withhold our sympathy from Lincklaen. When he began his operations, neither he nor his principals had anticipated such heavy expenditures as the first five years were to show. The cash return from lands sold had not reached the proportions that the agent had expected, and calls upon the proprietors' bankers had continued much longer than he had counted upon. Moreover once the "hot house" system was adopted, it was found to demand continually heavier outlays. It had been intended that the carpenters, masons and smiths should work off their indebtedness by labor upon the proprietors' constructions and that much of the work of clearing and preparing the farms inventoried above should be done by settlers who thereby would pay off the interest accruing on their land debts. Not one of these people however was able to live the first few years from his other labor alone. The agent found it necessary to pay them wages in order to secure their services. The mills, the tavern, the potash works and the distillery cost more than had been anticipated and, though much had <:43> been expected of them, they could not be made to show a profit on their own accounts. [Footnote 43-1]
All of these enterprises bad undoubtedly helped to vivify the settlement. To Lincklaen's mind and indeed according to the general sentiment of the period when they were begun, they were essential to the success of a large establishment and, since they would be introduced very slowly, if at all, by private individuals, it was necessary that the owners should construct them. The Dutch had been drawn into them before they were aware of the depth of the expenditures to be required and now they asked if it would not have been better to allow the settlement to take its own course with but a minimum of assistance from the owners. It might have been slower but would it not have been more profitable? Would it not have been wiser to leave it to the natives themselves to supply mills, potash works and distilleries as they became necessary, to allow the villages to grow up as they would on the principle that the necessary artisans would come to them when there should be work enough for their support, in short to leave the settlement as much to itself as possible, confining the activities of the agent to his duties of selling land and collecting payments? These were vital questions of vast importance for the future of the Holland Company and its settlers. In western New York they possessed over 3,000,000 acres which would have to be sold out at retail, unless a sale en gros could be made shortly; in Pennsylvania they held a million and a half of acres and while a portion of this was already being settled the larger part had not yet been opened to colonists. The system to be pursued on these lands <:44> would therefore be largely determined by the experience or the owners at Cazenovia and Oldenbarneveld. On 100,000 acres they had paid out in five years over $100,000 without receiving one cent in return. Suppose that their larger holdings should require outlays in proportion! They were aghast at the idea. The thing was impossible. And, after all, did not the fact that it was impossible on a large establishment go to show that it was not necessary on a small one? It was not difficult for the proprietors to prove to themselves that it was time for retrenchment at Cazenovia.
In the fall of 1798 the Dutch sent peremptory orders to their representatives in America to stop all further development enterprises and to cut all expenses to the lowest figure possible. [Footnote 44-1] Busti, who now was in charge of the correspondence for the Cazenovia settlement, had none of the sanguine temperament of his predecessor; indeed he saw the future in colors quite as somber as his employers [Footnote 44-2] He impressed upon the agents in central New York the absolute necessity of economy and, when this seemed to fail in its purpose, he took measures to prevent further large expenditures there by instructing the proprietors' bankers to furnish neither Lincklaen nor Mappa more than $2000 without previous notice from him. Though this somewhat drastic action was probably not necessary in Lincklaen's case, Busti felt that stern measures were needed. At all events they were effective. Lincklaen himself was exasperated by the trouble which the care of the mills and his other enterprises caused him and, aside from their expense, he had begun to doubt <:45> their wisdom. "Private enterprises," he wrote at the time, "must be introduced for the country will prosper in direct proportion to the number of individuals who feel interested in the general welfare on account of the property they possess. The company should not lay out more money than is indispensably necessary for the improvements of a private nature (1) because those improvements can never be any profit to them and (2) by keeping all to themselves and undertaking everything which appears profitable themselves, they will discourage the emigration of valuable men and men of property." [Footnote 45-1] So Lincklaen willingly accepted the new order of things. Thereafter no new undertakings demanding large expenditures were begun either in Oldenbarneveld or in Cazenovia. Indeed at both places the agents set out vigorously not merely to curtail expenses as far as possible but to increase the income from their establishments. Before we consider the methods employed by Lincklaen in this work, it will be well to look more closely at the conditions under which the settlers took up the lands at Cazenovia.
Lincklaen had promised at the opening of his settlement that to actual settlers the terms for the land would be made easy. He kept his word. The first ten families to come received their lots of 100 acres at $l.00 per acre while the more tardy settlers were charged $1.50. [Footnote 45-2] This was not a high price considering the location and the terms offered. The demand was so great that surveyors could barely keep ahead of land seekers; Lincklaen's office was filled with men who found themselves forced to accept their fourth or fifth choice of lots because others preceding them by a few moments had gained the more desirable locations. It was natural therefore that the <:46> original low price should soon be advanced. Leaving out of account the lands in and immediately around the village of Cazenovia, we find that the average price per acre charged during the first three years of settlement, was somewhat less than $2.50.
The terms of payment were also liberal. Though as much cash was accepted at the time of sale as could be obtained from the settler, yet there was required only a payment of $10.00 on each lot of 100 acres, and it seems probable that after the first rush was passed, many were admitted to the lands without any cash payment whatever. Credit of 10 years was allowed at 7% interest. It was thought that the industrious settler could in the first few years effect his clearing and establish himself, paying for his necessities from his potash and whatever surplus products he could spare, and that later he would gain from his lands the means to pay for them. Many other settlements at the time were requiring larger cash deposits and allowing shorter credit.
When terms were as liberal it was not surprising that sales were brisk. By the end of the year 1795, nearly one-third of Lincklaen's agency had been sold out. At the time it was not noted that a large proportion of those warmly welcomed settlers were of the type that would never be able to pay for their lands, nor even be desirous of paying for them. These were the "regulars" to whom pioneering was a business. They loved the work of conquering the forest but they had not any inclination for the arts of cultivation. They were the men who felt themselves cramped when neighbors began to appear, men whose work was gone when good roads began to be opened or frame houses to be thought of. Some of them would undoubtedly make small payments upon the lands they had taken up; but long before the contract price had been paid, they would have sold out their "betterments" <:47> to more stable and usually more wealthy settlers, and have moved on to wilder country where they could live over again the cycle just completed. They rendered unquestionable service in the building of the nation, but they proved a most exasperating element to those land owners who expected payments from them. At this time Lincklaen did not know them well enough to discount their permanent value; he was happy in the very rapid settlement of his lands.
Unfortunately, at this point, Lincklaen and Cazenove made the mistake of sharply advancing the price of lands and at the same time of introducing sterner terms of payment as well as a system of wide reservations. The minimum price demanded for the least desirable lands in Brackel township was $5.50; other more desirable lots were fixed at various prices up to $10.00 per acre. With the exception of a small portion of Brackel all lots thereafter were to be sold on a 4 years' credit, 25% being required in hand at the time of the contract. Moreover even these prices and terms were applicable to but one-third of Lincklaen's agency, on-third having been already sold and the last third now reserved for higher prices. [Footnote 47-1]
The experience of the next few years amply demonstrated that the change in prices and terms had been ill-timed. Although sales during the three seasons preceding the end of the year 1795 had reached a total of almost 40,000 acres, those of the next five years only slightly exceeded 3000 acres. [Footnote 47-2] The decline in sales resulted mostly from the new terms combined with the competition of cheaper lands in western Pennsylvania and in the Ohio valley. That region was more remote from market to be <:48> sure but one could never tell when and where new markets might spring up or what new routes of transportation might be opened. To many settlers with slender resources it seemed much better to accept the chances of the western country with its low land prices rather than to assume such a large burden of debt in a more settled and accessible region.
There were also other reasons for the decline. Most of the most desirable locations in the Cazenovia settlement were either reserved or sold; the choice of lots was much more limited than it had been earlier. Moreover something of the brilliant promise which the settlement had held three years before had now disappeared. In spite of all the good things which the agent had done for his settlers life had not proved easy, nor profits quick or large. To be sure, roads had been opened to both the Mohawk and the Chenango, but transportation on those rivers, especially the latter, was difficult and costly. Old Fort Schuyler was not proving the entrepôt which it had been hoped. The marketing of excess produce was very difficult. There were not many more dreams remaining about the establishment; the realities were obtruding themselves too stubbornly upon both settlers and agent. Many settlers wanted to go to regions whose possibilities were still hidden and, in imagination at any rate, were greater than those of Cazenovia. Finally there was another cause at work for the decreased sales. The "regulars" among the pioneers were becoming restless; many of them were selling their partially cleared lots and were moving westward. The result of this was that many of the land seekers of the wealthier class remained in Cazenovia but without purchasing from the agent. They bought the contracts of the earlier settlers often at prices lower than those Lincklaen was charging for uncleared land. This indeed <:49> was a competition which every land agent had to meet in the sale of his lands. The wise agent accepted it philosophically, consoling himself with the thought that certainly the new settler would be a more reliable debtor than his predecessor. He might even bring with him capital and ability very necessary to the development of the settlement. Lincklaen and Cazenove felt something of this and were therefore not discouraged even when year followed year with no improvement in the situation. Eventually, with the beginning of the new century, improvement began; the course of sales thereafter will be followed on a later page.
Lincklaen understood from the commencement of his agency that he must look to the New England states for most of his settlers. Even before any land had been purchased for him, he was making plans for a settlement which would prove attractive to the farmers of Massachusetts and Connecticut and Vermont. A year after his arrival in America he wrote Mr. Stadnitski a long letter filled with tribute to the unique qualities displayed by the New Englanders in the settlement of the back lands. What impressed him was their ruggedness, their disregard of hardships, their skill as axemen and their practical turn of mind which made it possible for them to overcome so easily the difficulties offered by a new country. These were the men he wanted to build up any lands which he might be given charge of, and these were the men, as the event proved, whom he obtained. In August, 1798, he reported that most of the settlers in these parts are Yankees, the others Low Dutch. [Footnote 49-1] There were to be sure some who had come from New Jersey and from Pennsylvania but the great bulk of his purchasers were from the east of the Berkshires. Indeed Lincklaen <:50> made special efforts to attract the Yankees to his settlement. He had handbills printed and maps engraved. These by the agency of the Cazenovia pastor were distributed among the churches of Massachusetts and Connecticut and, we may presume, aided to induce many to come on to the lands. [Footnote 50-1]
In a settlement of Yankees it was natural that the agent should give some attention to the religious and educational needs of his people. Lincklaen from the first had had this in mind. Not a religions man at the time he nevertheless appreciated the part which religion played in the lives of his people and he coveted for him self and his principals the gratitude of the church-going settlers which, he knew, would result from aid granted for a church. During the first two years, the number of settlers did not warrant the building of a church or the hiring of a pastor but in the course of 1795 the religiously inclined among the new settlers began laying plans for the founding of a church. Lincklaen assigned them one lot in the village of Cazenovia, one out lot and 150 acres in the lands reserved in the Road Township. At the same time he set aside one village lot and a lot of 150 acres for the aid of public instruction. [Footnote 50-2] Later when the settlement had grown more populous he announced after some consideration that to the first church and to the first school established in each of the five districts into which his agency was divided he would assign a lot of 100 acres. It seems probable that all of these were granted to the settlers during the course of the year 1797. It is to be assumed that thereafter the settlers were left to take care of these activities by themselves.
Yankee settlers were admirable in many respects but <:51> in one they deserved no special praise: like settlers from any other section they worried very little about the terms of their land contracts as long as the land agent did not press them too severely. During the first three years of settlement, Lincklaen was too busy selling lands to bother greatly about the men who had agreed to pay for them at the end of ten years and to keep up their interest on their land debts in the interim. By 1796 frequent inquiries began coming from the proprietors regarding the date when they might expect an end to the heavy expenditures on their Cazenovia lands. Lincklaen then realized that his settlement was not fulfilling his early calculations of paying most of the agency's expenses from the proceeds of the current sales. The Dutch were evidently becoming restive under the increasing burden of expense; either he must give up the plan of settlement from which he hoped so much, or he must increase his immediate income from the lands themselves. Accordingly be began reminding the settlers of their unpaid interest instalments. The burden of many of the replies which he received tallied with what he knew to be true for part of his settlers: their failure to pay was not the result of ill will but simply of their inability. Some had been unable to raise any surplus produce beyond the barest needs of their families, others had found it impossible to market the little they had for sale. They were determined however to fulfill their contracts as soon as possible.
Lincklaen, knowing that it was as unwise as useless to take legal action against these men, set himself to find some means of helping them to pay their debts. That which seemed the most feasible was assistance in the marketing of their products. To this end he aided the agent at Oldenbarneveld to develop the embryo village of Utica, known at the time as Old Fort Schuyler. An account of the Utica enterprise will be given in the chapter <:52> on Oldenbarneveld. [Footnote 52-1] Of more immediate advantage to the settlers were Lincklaen's experiments in receiving payments in kind. During the spring and summer of 1796 he sent his representative, DeClerc [Hendrick deClercq], through the community gathering cattle from the settlers at current New York prices. As the experiment resulted ill a loss of $500, it did not seem to Lincklaen and Cazenove to warrant a repetition. [Footnote 52-2] Some attempts were soon after made to take pot and pearl ashes in payment of interest but these also were shortly given up. It was only later in Dutch experience with American land affairs, when interests had accumulated in the Genesee to a far greater extent than at this time in Cazenovia, that it was considered wise to abate a part of the interest due as a means of collecting the rest.
In the course of DeClerc's [deClercq's] search for cattle he seems to have found sufficient evidence for Lincklaen to conclude that some of his settlers, though able to make payments of interest, were using their money for other things. Against these delinquents the agent resolved to bring suit. Evidently a number were ejected for in the accounts of 1800 an item is included of somewhat more than $8000 expended for lots sold on execution.
Lincklaen meanwhile was busily engaged in his endeavors to get payments from men less obstinate, especially to collect the interest due year by year. By persuasion here, encouragement there, and now and then by coercive measures, he was able before the end of 1797 to collect two- thirds of what was due for the year. This left still a large amount unpaid but considering the difficulties of the settlers and the relatively small amounts collected the preceding years, it was encouraging. The high price of grain caused by England's demand during <:53> the Napoleonic wars was partially responsible for the greater ease that the settlers experienced in paying.
The following table will give some idea of the state of Lincklaen's settlement at the end of the year 1800: [Footnote 53-1]
in tract . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .124,228
Acres sold 1793-1800 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42,885
Principal of all land sold . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$99,110
Principal received to Jan. 1, 1801 . . . . . . . . (a) $24,609
Interest arrears, Dec. 31, 1799 . . . . . . . . . . . $9,971
Interest arrears, Jan. 1, 1801 . . . . . . . . . . . .$13,189
Total interest paid 1794-1800 . . . . . . . . . . (b) $21,620
(a) Includes $8398 paid by the agency for 25 lots sold on execution.
(b) Includes $1533 paid by the agency for 25 lots sold on execution.
To Busti whose vision of
the future in American lands was streaked with gray and to Lincklaen whose
great expectations of eight years before had faded one by one, this situation
was anything but encouraging. As we look back on it now, it does
not seem a bad showing. Of the lands sold not quite 10% had reverted.
This was unfortunate but not unnatural. Of a total principal of slightly
less than $100,000, 1-6th [1/6] had been received from the settlers.
Considering that most of these sales had been made with a very small cash
deposit, and that the rest of the land debts was not due until 1803, or
1804, the receipt by the end of 1800 of 1-6th [1/6] the purchase price
did not warrant any fears of disaster. To be sure it indicated that
the entire payments would not be made by the dates specified in the contracts,
but no experienced land agent would have expected any such happy termination
of his land business. He would be content that the lands, not yet
paid for, were becoming yearly more valuable and that as a consequence
his land debt was becoming more secure. It was true that, despite
the most strenuous efforts to collect, the arrears of interest were growing
annually; but it was something that in seven <:54> years the settlers
had paid more than $20,000 on their interest accounts. Meanwhile
their herds had been increasing as had their acreage of cleared land.
It could be expected therefore that in the years following they would find
their payments easier. This Lincklaen understood and when he could
forget the exaggerated expectations of his first years at Cazenovia, he
felt confident of the future.
Though Lincklaen's loyalty and integrity were unquestioned from the beginning, the proprietors in Holland thought it wise, after the settlement was once well started, to give their agent a more personal interest in the enterprise than he had had at first. The opportunity to effect this purpose came with the change of the proprietorship from a joint ownership to that of a stock company. It will be recalled that the first two townships were purchased for the Club of Three, which comprised Stadnitski and Son, P. & C. Van Eeghen, Ten Gate & Vollenhoven, and that the remaining lands under Lincklaen's care were bought for the accounts of the Four Houses, one-half going to the Van Staphorsts, one-fourth to Stadnitski and one-eighth each to P. & C. Van Eeghen and to Ten Gate & Vollenhoven. [Footnote 54-1] The difficulties which arose in accounting because of this unequal division combined with the desire on the part of some of the proprietors to sell their holdings when convenient counseled a change in the manner of ownership. Accordingly it was determined to establish a stock company for the 119,195 acres at Cazenovia, and in the new division to commute Lincklaen's 2 1/2% commission on all sales to a certain number of shares as nearly equal as possible to the future value of those commissions. [Footnote 54-2] The change took place on August 6th 1794. To determine the capital, each acre was evaluated at $5.50 or 1.3 and 1/3 florins <:55> Dutch currency. This gave a total capital. of 1,589,266.13 florins to be divided into 1,589 shares of 1000 florins, each representing 75 acres of land, and one fractional share of fl.266.13 representing 20 acres. These shares were divided as follows among the proprietors: Van Staphorst and Hubbard 418, P. & C. Van Eeghen 244, Ten Gate & Vollenhoven 244, Pieter Stadnitski 502, Stadnitski & Son (their commission for the management of the enterprise) 16, Lincklaen 126 4/15 plus 39 for his commission, making a total for Lincklaen of 165 4/15 shares. The 126 4/15 shares were transferred to Lincklaen's account by Stadnitski whose part in the original purchase entitled him to 628 4/15 shares. Whether this was a purchase which Lincklaen made of Stadnitski or a gift made by the latter to his protege' does not appear. From the frequent expressions of gratitude in Lincklaen's letters to Stadnitski, the latter seems the more probable.
It should be noted that, though the share holders were for the most part the same, the stock company formed for the lands at Cazenovia was quite distinct not only from that soon after created for the lands north of the Mohawk but also from the Holland Land Company properly so called which owned the lands in western New York and Pennsylvania. The Willinks and Schimmelpenninck were not concerned with the two companies owning land in central New York.
The act of incorporation contained a clause which limited to fl. 75 per share, or 1 guilder per acre, the amount which the shareholders might be called upon to pay for the furtherance of their enterprise. At this time the Dutch had no notion of the extent to which Lincklaen's undertakings would involve them. When at the end of summer, 1795, they cast up their accounts, they found that already the calls on their bankers in New York necessitated a contribution of fl.80 per share. Within the next <:56> year and a half, three more calls were made upon the shareholders for a total of another fl.80 per share. Apparently at the time all of the shares were still in the hands of the original purchasers and none refused to meet the payments. As there was the possibility at any time of a sale to some outsider, it was considered unsafe to allow the old act to stand. On the 31st of March, 1797, therefore, a second notorial act was procured by which the commissioners were permitted to levy assessments as they might find it necessary upon the shareholders. In case any shareholder should fail to make the payments when required, his assessment would be increased 2% monthly for two years after which time be should have no longer any claim to profits of the enterprise. Under the terms of this act three more assessments, the last June 21st, 1798, were made upon the shareholders totaling 35 guilders per share. Thereafter the settlement paid its own way. By that date the Dutch had expended upon its account fl.507,164 or about fl.319 per share. These shares had been nominally valued four years before at fl.1000 but it is doubtful if at any time they were worth that much.
No record is available to show the extent to which the shares were sold among the Dutch people. It is probable that most of them remained in the hands of the original purchasers and their heirs. During the summer of 1816 Van Eeghen & Company informed Busti that they frankly did not know what the shares were worth. So few of them appeared on the market that it was almost impossible to say how the Dutch public evaluated them. The year before they had been assessed for legal purposes at fl.150, and this appears to have been considered a fair price for them. Though a few months later, in October, 1815, a dividend was paid upon them of fl.15 per share <:57> and in May, 1816, another of fl.30, no new stimulus seems to have been given them as an active stock. [Footnote 57-1]
Fortunately for Lincklaen and other shareholders in the Cazenovia enterprise, that settlement had hardly turned the corner of the new century before it began to recover from the slump of the preceding five years. Prices were reduced from the high level fixed in 1796. Land sales increased. Though they did not attain the proportions reached during the first rush after the opening of the settlement, yet they were steady and satisfactory. From 1801 to 1815 an average of 3000 acres was sold each year. More important even than the increased sales were the growing receipts. Many of the newcomers were of a type somewhat wealthier than the settlers of the previous years. Their initial payments were larger and their later instalments more punctually paid. Moreover those earlier settlers, from whom Lincklaen had found it impossible to make collections theretofore, were now able to make small payments. Each year the clearings on their farms were becoming larger and the size of their herds increasing. Turnpike roads and other means of communication were bringing the markets nearer to their settlement. Lincklaen's records show how successful the settlers were in reducing their debts. [Footnote 57-2] By the end of the year 1809 they had paid upon their land debts nearly $200,000 of principal and $70,000 of interest. Over against the payments there was outstanding slightly more than $100,000 of principal and interest due on the land sales. During this period there was a steady increase in the value of the unsold lands. Lots which at the beginning of the settlement could hardly have been given away, now sold at substantial prices and on shorter credit than at first was possible. The years 1808 and <:55> 1809 to be sure failed to bring any advance; indeed the land business began to take on an aspect dangerously like that of a decade earlier; but when the effects of the embargo had passed, sales again became brisk and collections good.
The second war with England though threatening disaster at first soon proved a veritable boon to the settlements of central New York. Many of those Yankee emigrants, who would otherwise have passed by the Cazenovia lands in favor of others further west, took counsel of discretion and fixed themselves on lands less exposed to depredation. The price of all sorts of food-stuffs rose so high that farmers with anything at all to sell were soon able to lessen their debts considerably. The extraordinary growth in the number of banks at the time increased the circulating medium hugely, while the presence of a large body of troops on Lake Ontario added to the ready money in circulation. [Footnote 58-1] Business was never more flourishing at Cazenovia than in the years 1814 and 1815.
This unwonted prosperity led to a surprising reaction among the directors in Holland. Instead of determining them to hold on to their proverty with the hope of eventually recovering their whole investment plus interest, it confirmed them in an already half formed intention to sell out. The war was over in Europe, Holland had entered upon a new era, and money which could again be counted as safe in that country was needed for the work of reconstruction. These facts combined with the thriving state of Cazenovia settlement induced the directors to order a sale of the whole enterprise as soon as this could be accomplished.
The order came to Lincklaen during the summer of <:59> 1816 and alarmed him considerably. He feared that no such sale could be made without great loss and, since most of his fortune was tied up in his 166 shares, it might prove disastrous to him. He suggested as a possible remedy that he become the purchaser himself. [Footnote 59-1] Busti, having had unpleasant experiences with so called whole sale purchasers both in the Genesee and in Pennsylvania, welcomed the idea, for he knew he could rely implicitly upon Lincklaen's honesty and he had great faith in the ability of Lincklaen's foster-son, J.D. [Jonathan Denise] Ledyard, who was already acting as assistant agent at Cazenovia. The directors gave their consent and after rather lengthly [lengthy] negotiations a contract of sale was made between Busti and Lincklaen at Philadelphia on November 24th, 1817.
The inventoried value of the establishment was fixed at $284,000. This amount was so far discounted as to make the purchase price $190,800. This Lincklaen agreed to pay in twenty annual instalments, with interest at 4%, beginning the 1st of January, 1818. As the purchase price included Lincklaen's own share he had in reality to pay only $170,880.
Lincklaen at the time believed that he had made a very good bargain. He cherished high hopes of collecting a large share of the difference between the purchase price and the inventoried value of the enterprise, and there was always the possibility that the wild lands unsold might increase greatly in value. As the sequel proved however the proprietors bad gained more than their agent. They had sold out just before the financial stringency of 1819 put an end to the temporary post-war prosperity. At no time after the sale was made did the prospects at Cazenovia appear as bright as in the two or three years before it. A combination of circumstances served to make the land business of central New York <:60> very dull indeed. In addition to the hard times which affected all parts of the country, Cazenovia suffered from other difficulties. The opening by the Federal Government of vast tracts of fertile lands in the Mississippi Valley at low prices offered a competition for settlers which Cazenovia was wholly unable to meet. Internal improvements in New York state and beyond opened routes to these cheaper lands and so aided in the movement westward. Even the Erie canal which did so much for other sections appears to have been less a boon than a burden. To be sure it somewhat facilitated the carriage of products to the New York market but the advantage thus gained was lost by the competition which it made possible of produce from the western country. Moreover the opening to settlement of the Mississippi Valley was a signal for a general reduction in land prices. More than one family on Lincklaen's settlement was induced to leave by the attractive terms offered by agents to the west. These circumstances together account for many of the difficulties experienced by the agents at Cazenovia during the 20 years succeeding the sale to Lincklaen.
Lincklaen struggled against the difficulties with more or less success until his death in 1822, when Leydard [Ledyard] took up the burden. Ledyard was a man of excellent business ability. Generous and kindly, he won the good will of his settlers. If anyone was able to collect debts from them, it was he. Perhaps under the influence of Busti he became convinced of the necessity of aiding his settlers to pay their debts. Already, as has been seen, a beginning had been made under Lincklaen of a system of payment in kind. Ledyard continued it vigorously. Every year his agents passed through the settlement offering generous prices for cattle, and usually collecting a large number. The business on the face of it did not appear <:61> profitable; annually there was a loss of 10 or 15% on the credit allowed the settlers and sometimes as much as 25%, but this to Ledyard appeared a relatively small sacrifice to make for the prosperity of his settlement. Large payments were made in this way which would otherwise not have been made at all. Brackel appears to have been populated largely under the stimulus of the system. It required time and patience for its development; Ledyard was quite willing to give both since it made it possible for him to meet his obligations by aiding his debtors ~ their turn to meet theirs.
Ledyard's system was a policy of forbearance and encouragement. Rarely was a settler prosecuted before the courts for failure to pay. If he were lazy, he might be threatened, and often the stimulus brought results. Were he unfortunate but well-meaning, he was encouraged and often assisted. In any case he was given opportunity to fulfill his engagements. Little by little Ledyard managed to collect what was owing to him and in turn to make the payments due on his contract with the Dutch proprietors. New purchasers were annually found for parts of the unsold lands; unusually large numbers came during the boom years which preceded the panic of 1837. While in the Genesee the Holland Company's agents were disposing of the remains of their holdings, Ledyard at Cazenovia found sale for nearly all that remained to him unsold. Early in the spring of 1841 he was able to forward to Vanderkemp, Busti's successor at Philadelphia, the last payment on the contract which his foster-father had made more than 20 years earlier. Vanderkemp promptly sent to him the title papers and what was left of land debts and unsold lands passed out of the hands of the Dutch proprietors. The Cazenovia settlement as a Dutch enterprise had come to an end.
It had not been a rich investment; but on the other <:62> hand the evil presentiments of disaster which the proprietors had harbored at the end of the century had not materialized. Roughly calculated, the proprietors by 1800 had invested $220,000 in the settlement. By the first of January, 1816, Lincklaen had remitted in yearly payments since 1801 to the proprietors' bankers in New York $225,000. [Footnote 62-1] Two years later he had purchased the entire enterprise for $190,000. This with interest at 4% was paid by 1841. The dreams and visions of 1793 had faded into hard realities, but when those realities had been reduced into monetary terms, they were not disagreeable to look upon. Moreover there was something else to be considered than the profit of the business. To some of those who were concerned in the enterprise there was a vast satisfaction in the successful opening and settlement of the wild country to the south of Cazenovia Lake. Lincklaen and Ledyard, who had given so much of themselves to the success of the settlement, had every reason to be proud of their contribution. They had worked together with the tough-bitted pioneers as well as the steadier and more prosperous farmers who followed. Their combined efforts had brought to fruition in half a century a region which had been virgin forest.
Charles Williamson was the agent of the Pulteney Association which owned over a million acres mostly in the present county or Steuben. For an account of Williamson's method see O. Turner: History of the Pioneer Settlement of Phelps and Gorham's Purchase, especially pp. 252ff.
HCoP, Box O-V, No.8. Busti writing a year and a half later expressed his satisfaction that the proprietors had refused their consent to the establishment of a brewery at Oldenbarneveld on the owners' account. The brewery at Cazenovia which lacked occupation was an irresistible argument against calculations made in advance of the needs of settlement. A population of six times that of Cazenovia and Oldenbarneveld combined would be necessary to make a brewery succeed. Beer that cost $6.00 in Cazenovia could be had in Philadelphia for half that price. Moreover eua de vie [water of life] and rum mixed with water were just as good and cheaper. (HCoP, Chest 9. Letter Book, Busti to Stadnitski and Van Heukelom, Dec.13, 1799.)
HCoP, Box "Oude Papieren." In his proposal made at the time for a plan of settlement in the Genesee, Lincklaen declared that though these enterprises were profitable when run hy private individuals, for a company they were a continual source of trouble, expense and vexation for it was almost impossible to find honest people to attend them.
Paul Busti, an Italian resident of Holland, was a brother-in-law of Ten Cate. He entered the employ of the Holland Company in 1796, reached America in February, 1797, and cooperated with Cazenove until the latter returned to Holland in the spring of 1799. Busti then had entire charge at the Philadelphia office until his death in 1824.
L.M. Hammond: History of Madison County, page 210, apparently quoting from an account written by Major Foreman [Samuel S. Forman].