Minuit was a kindly man, of firm temper, much energy, and considerable executive capacity; on the whole he was by far the best of the four directors who successively ruled the city and colony during the forty years of the Dutch supremacy. But the scheme of colonization was defective in more than one vital particular. The settlement was undertaken primarily in the interest of a great commercial corporation, and only secondarily in the interests of the settlers themselves. The world had not yet grasped the fact that those who went abroad to build mighty States in far-off lands ought by rights to be themselves the main beneficiaries of their toil and peril. A colony was considered as being established chiefly for the good of the colonists.
The West India Company wished well to its settlers, who were granted complete religious freedom, and in practice a very considerable amount of civil liberty likewise; but after all, the company held that the first duty of the New Netherlands colony was to return large dividends to the company's stockholders, and especially to advance the worldly welfare of the company's most influential directors. It sought to establish a chain of trading-posts which should bring great wealth to the mother country, rather