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Stories of New Jersey
The Winning Of The Prize
The English Ownership of New Jersey. (Period, 1664.)

By Frank R. Stockton

Originally published in 1896
This Web version, edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

AFTER the importance of the discovery of North America came to be properly appreciated by the nations of Europe, the ownership was looked upon as a great national prize, and there were several nations who were anxious to play for it. This country, so readily approached by the Delaware, became attractive not only to kings and sovereigns, but to settlers and immigrants. Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden granted a charter to a company called the West India Company, which was formed for the purpose of making settlements on the shores of the Delaware Bay and River, and commissioned them to take possession of this country, without the slightest regard to what the English sovereign and the Dutch sovereign had granted to their subjects.

The Swedes came to Delaware Bay. They stopped for a while at Cape Henlopen; and then, of course, they sailed up the Delaware, when things soon began to be very disagreeable between themselves and the Dutch, who were there before them.

The Swedes were a warlike set of people, and they held their ground very well. Besides making some settlements, they built a fort which they called Elsinburgh; and, if a Dutch ship happened to pass by mat fort, it was obliged to strike its flag in token of mission to a superior power. The Indians, who were perhaps as much opposed to the Swedish settlement as they had been to those of other nations, no not appear to have been able to attack this fort with any success; and as for the Dutch, it is not certain that they even attempted it. So the Swedes at that time governed the passage tip and down the Delaware, as the English now govern the passage through the Straits of Gibraltar.

It was probably winter time or cool weather when the Swedes built their proud fort on the banks of that river which they now named "New Swedeland Stream;" but when the warm and pleasant days came on, and it was easy to travel from the interior to the river shore, and when the weather was so mild that it was quite possible to spend the nights in the woods without injury, there came an enemy to Fort Elsinburgh which proved The fort was surrounded; and frequent and violent attacks were made upon it, especially in the night, when it was almost impossible for the garrison to defend themselves. Many bloody single combats took place in which the enemy generally fell, for in bodily prowess a Swede was always superior to any one of the attacking force. But no matter how many assailants were killed, the main body seemed as powerful and determined as ever. In course of time the valiant Swedes were obliged to give way before their enemy. They struck their flag, evacuated the fort, and departed entirely from the place where they had hoped a flourishing settlement would spring up under the protection of their fort.

The enemy which attacked and routed the Swedes was a large and invincible army of mosquitoes, against whom their guns, their pistols, their swords, their spears, and their ramparts afforded them no defense. After that, the deserted fort was known as Mygenborg, meaning Mosquito Fort. on the Swedes, who continued to establish themselves at various points; and did not make an alliance The Dutch looked with great disfavorwith the body of natives who had driven these northern people away from Elsinburgh, – for a compact of that kind would be dangerous in many ways, – they took up the matter by themselves; and finally the Dutch, under their valiant Peter Stuyvesant, completely conquered the Swedes, and sent their leaders to Holland, while the ordinary settlers submitted to the Dutch.


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