However, his tact, generosity, and unfailing good temper, and the skill with which he kept order and secured prosperity endeared him to the colonists, even though they did at times just realize that there was an iron hand beneath the velvet glove. He completely pacified the Indians, who during his term of command remained almost absolutely tranquil, for the first time in a quarter of a century. He put down all criminals, and sternly repressed the licentiousness of his own soldiery, forcing them to behave well to the citizens. His honesty in financial matters was so great that he actually impoverished himself during his administration of the province. Meanwhile, the city flourished; for there was free trade with England and the English possessions, and even for some time a restricted right to trade with certain of the Dutch ports.
Nicolls soon wearied of his position, and sought leave to resign; but he was too valuable a servant for the duke to permit this until the war with Holland, which had been largely brought on by the treacherous seizure of New Amsterdam, at length came to a close. The Peace of Breda left New York in the hands of the English; for the cold northern province, where now are States already far more populous than Holland, or than the England of that day, was then considered of less value than any one of half a dozen tropical