Continued from last week
Two years before the later Maartin, the nephew, boarded a ship for America, the Peace of Westphalia had been signed in 1648. The Netherlands were now officially free from Spain. The wars were over, at least for the moment. What should the soldier class do?
This Maartin was sixty-six when he decided to take his family and start out for Nieu Amsterdam in 1650. He had no castle. The courts had taken that from his line. He himself had settled as an adult in Amersfoort in the province of Utrecht. The family had slowly moved west through Dutch territory from generation to generation.
But the intrigues of the province of Holland, the westernmost province of the Netherlands, were of no interest to his temperament. It was far too broad-minded for Maartin. They actually had a non-Christian synagogue in Amsterdam! He had seen it.
The people from Holland were always fighting over irrelevant ideas, he thought. A century ago there was that rascal Erasmus, who had pushed back against the Reformation. Then forty some years ago there was Arminius at Leiden, that heretic who unfortunately died before they could behead him. At least the Synod of Dortrecht had put an end to the Remonstrants and all their nonsense.
Give him the black and white faith of the Dutch Reformed Church. God determined everything, and everything that happened was so because of his divine decree. None of this angels on the head of a pin business.
But Maartin hoped to change his family's fortunes in the new world. The thought of a new adventure, of new territory to conquer, invigorated him, even at sixty-six. He loaded his sons Roelof and Jan, his daughter Anetje on a ship in March of 1650. He hoped to come back for his wife Maria within the year.
Maartin would die of yellow fever at sea and never return for his wife. The thirty year old Roelof and his siblings said a small word commending him to the sea and dropped his body in the ocean. God's will is God's will, Roelof said. God would raise him up from the sea again on the day of resurrection.
As for them, they were determined to make a new and better future for themselves!