high character and standing as ever took part in founding a new settlement; but on the other hand there were plenty of others to the full as vicious and worthless as the worst immigrants who have come hither during the present century. Many imported bond-servants and apprentices, both English and Irish, of criminal or semi-criminal tendencies escaped to Manhattan from Virginia and New England, and, once here, found congenial associates from half the countries of continental Europe. There thus existed from the start a low, shiftless, evil class of whites in our population; while even beneath their squalid ranks lay the herd of brutalized black slaves. It may be questioned whether seventeenth-century New Amsterdam did not include quite as large a proportion of undesirable inhabitants as nineteenth-century New York
The sharp and strong contrasts in social position, the great differences in moral and material well-being, and the variety in race, language, and religion, all combined to make a deep chasm between life in New Amsterdam and life in the cities of New England, with their orderly uniformity of condition and their theocratic democracy.
Society in the New Netherlands was distinctly aristocratic. The highest rank was composed of the great patroons, with their feudal privileges and vast landed estates; next in order came the