The English In New York, 1664-1689

The trading spirit is not of itself sufficient to establish successful settlement, and monopolies cannot safely be entrusted with the government of colonies. The experience of the Dutch in the New Netherland established this truth, which later experience has fully confirmed.

Toward the middle of the seventeenth century Holland controlled the carrying trade of the world. Nearly one half of the tonnage of Europe was under her flag. Java was the centre of her East Indian enterprise, Brazil the seat of her West Indian possessions; and the seas between, over which were wafted her fleets, freighted with the rich products of these tropical lands, were patrolled by a navy hardy and brave. Yet it was at the very zenith of her power that her North American colony, which proudly bore the name of the Fatherland, was stripped from the home government at one trenchant blow.

The cause of this misfortune may be found in the weakness of the Dutch settlement compared with the more populous New England communities, which pressed, threatening and aggressive, on its eastern borders. Under the Dutch rule, New Netherland was never in a true sense a colony. Begun as a trading-post in 1621, and managed by the Dutch West India Company, it cannot be said ever to have got beyond leading-strings, and at the time when it fell into the hands of the English its entire population did not exceed seven thousand souls, while the English on its borders numbered not less than fifteen times as many.

Nor did the West India Company seem ever to comprehend that their hold upon the new continent could be maintained only by well-ordered and continuous colonization. Rapidly enriched by their intercourse with the natives of the sunny climes in which they established their strong posts for trade, they seem to have looked for no more from their posts on the North American coast, or to have had further ambition than to secure their share of the trade in furs, in which they were met by the active rivalry and greater enterprise of the French settlers on the Canadian frontier.

Yet the territory of New Netherland was by natural configuration the key of the northern frontier of the American colonies, and indeed, it may be said, of the continent. The courses of the Hudson and Mohawk form the sides of a natural strategic triangle, and with the system of northern lakes and streams connect the several parts of the broad surface which stretches from the mouth of the St. Lawrence on the Atlantic to the headwaters of the Columbia at the continental divide. This vantage-ground at the head of the great valleys through which water-ways give access to the regions on the slope below, was the chosen site of the formidable confederacy of the Iroquois, the acknowledged masters of the native tribes.

The English jealousy of the Dutch did not spring from national antipathy, but from the rivalry of trade. The insular position of England forced her to protect herself abroad, and when Protestant Holland, by enterprise and skill, drew to herself the commerce of both the Indies, her success aroused in England the same spirit of opposition, the same animosity, which had, the century before, been awakened by the aggrandizement of Catholic Spain. It was the Protestant Commonwealth of England which passed the Navigation Act of 1660, especially directed against the foreign trade of her growing rival of the same religious faith. In this act may be found the germ of the policy of England not only toward her neighbors, but also toward her colonies. This act was maintained in active force after the restoration of Charles II. to the throne. Strictly enforced at home, it was openly or secretly evaded only in the British American colonies and plantations. The arm of England was long, but her hand lay lightly on the American continent. The extent of coast and frontier was too great to be successfully watched, and the necessities of the colonies too many and imperious for them to resist the temptation to a trade which, though illicit, was hardly held immoral except by the strictest constructionists of statute law; and it was with the Dutch that this trade was actively continued by their English neighbors of Maryland and Virginia, as well as by those of New England. In 1663 the losses to the revenue were so extensive that the farmers of the customs, who, after the fashion of the period, enjoyed a monopoly from the King at a large annual personal cost, complained of the great abuses which, they claimed, defrauded the revenue of ten thousand pounds a year. The interest of the kingdom was at stake, and the conquest of the New Netherland was resolved upon.

This was no new policy. It had been that of Cromwell, the most sagacious of English rulers, and was only abandoned by him because of the more immediate advantages secured by his treaty with the Grand Pensionary, a statesman only second to Oliver himself. The expedition which Cromwell had ordered was countermanded, and the Dutch title to the New Netherland was formally recognized by the treaty of 1654. It seems rational to suppose that the English Protector foresaw the inevitable future fall of the Dutch-American settlement, hemmed in by growing English colonies fostered by religious zeal, and that he was willing to wait till the fruit was ripe and of easy grasp to England.

It is the fashion of historians to ascribe the seizure of the New Netherland to the perfidy of Charles; but the policy of kingdoms through successive administrations is more homogeneous than appears on the surface. The diplomacy of ministers is usually traditional; the opportunity which seems to mark a change is often but an incident in the chain. That which presented itself to Clarendon, Charles’s Lord Chancellor, was the demand made by the States-General that the boundary line should be established between the Dutch and English possessions in America. Consent on the part of Charles would have been a ratification of Cromwell’s recognition of 1654. This demand of the Dutch Government, made in January, 1664, close upon the petition of the farmers of the customs of December, 1663, precipitated the crisis. The seizure of New Amsterdam and the reduction of New Netherland was resolved upon. Three Americans who happened to be in London,—Scott, Baker, and Maverick,—were summoned before the Council Board, when they presented a statement of the title of the King, the intrusion of the Dutch, and of the condition of the settlement. The Chancellor held their arguments to be well grounded, and on the 29th of February an expedition was ordered “against the Dutch in America.” The demand of the Holland Government was no doubt stimulated by the intrigues of Sir George Downing, who had been Cromwell’s ambassador at the Hague, and was retained by Charles as an adroit servant. A nephew of the elder Winthrop and a graduate from Harvard, Downing appears to have determined upon the acquisition by England of the Dutch provinces, which were held by the New England party to be a thorn in the side of English American colonization. The expedition determined upon, Scott was sent back to New England with a royal commission to enforce the Navigation Laws. The next concern of the Chancellor was to secure to the Crown the full benefit of the proposed conquest. He was as little satisfied with the self-rule of the New England colonies as with the presence of Dutch sovereignty on American soil; and in the conquest of the foreigner he found the means to bring the English subject into closer dependence on the King.

James Duke of York, Grand Admiral, was the heir to the crown. He had married the daughter of Edward Hyde, the Chancellor of the kingdom, who now controlled its foreign policy. A patent to James as presumptive heir to the crown, from the King his brother, would merge in the crown; and a central authority strongly established over the territory covered by it might well, under favorable circumstances, be extended over the colonies on either side which were governed under limitations and with privileges directly secured by charter from the King. In this adroit scheme may be found the beginning in America of that policy of personal rule, which, begun under the Catholic Stuart, culminated under the Protestant Hanoverian, a century later, in the oppression which aroused the American Revolution. The first step taken by Clarendon was the purchase of the title conveyed to the Earl of Stirling in 1635 by the grantees of the New England patent. This covered the territory of Pemaquid, between the Saint Croix and the Kennebec, in Maine, and the Island of Matowack, or Long Island. The Stirling claim had been opposed and resisted by the Dutch; but Stuyvesant, the Director of New Netherland, had in 1650 formally surrendered to the English all the territory south of Oyster Bay on Long Island and east of Greenwich on the continent. A title being thus acquired by the adroitness of Clarendon, a patent was, on the 12th of March, 1664, issued by Charles II. to the Duke of York, granting him the Maine territory of Pemaquid, all the islands between Cape Cod and the Narrows, the Hudson River, and all the lands from the west side of the Connecticut to the east side of Delaware Bay, together with the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. The inland boundary was “a line from the head of Connecticut River to the source of Hudson River, thence to the head of the Mohawk branch of Hudson River, and thence to the east side of Delaware Bay.” The patent gave to the Duke of York, his heirs, deputies, and assigns, “absolute power to govern within this domain according to his own rules and discretions consistent with the statutes of England.” In this patent the charter granted by the King to the younger John Winthrop in 1662 for Connecticut, in which it was stipulated that commissioners should be sent to New England to settle the boundaries of each colony, was entirely disregarded. The idea of commissioners for boundaries now developed with larger scope, and the King established a royal commission, consisting of four persons recommended by the Duke of York, whose private instructions were to reduce the Dutch to submission and to increase the prerogatives of the Crown in the New England colonies, which Clarendon considered to be “already wellnigh ripened to a commonwealth.”

Three of these commissioners were officers in the Royal army,—Colonel Richard Nicolls, Sir Robert Carr, Colonel George Cartwright. The fourth was Samuel Maverick, an earnest adherent of the Church of England and a bitter enemy of Massachusetts, in which colony he had passed his early manhood. These commissioners, or any three or two of them,—Nicolls always included,—were invested with full power in all matters, military and civil, in the New England colonies. To Colonel Nicolls the Duke of York entrusted the charge of taking possession of and governing the vast territory covered by the King’s patent. To one more capable and worthy the delicate trust could not have been confided. He was in the fortieth year of a life full of experience, of a good Bedfordshire family, his father a barrister of the Middle Temple. He had received an excellent education. When, at the age of nineteen, the Civil War broke out, he at once joined the King’s forces, and, obtaining command of a troop of horse, clung persistently to the Royal cause. Later, he served on the Continent with the Duke of York in the army of Turenne. At the Restoration he was rewarded for his fidelity with the post of Groom of the Bedchamber to the Duke, to whose interests he devoted himself with loyalty, prudence, and untiring energy. His title under the new commission was that of Deputy-Governor; the tenure of his office, the Duke’s pleasure.

The English Government has never been scrupulous as to method in the attainment of its purposes, justification being a secondary matter. When the news of the gathering of the fleet reached the Hague, and explanation was demanded of Downing as to the truth of the reports that it was intended for the reduction of the New Netherland, he boldly insisted on the English right to the territory by first possession. To a claim so flimsy and impudent only one response was possible,—a declaration of war. But the Dutch people at large had little interest in the remote settlement, which was held to be a trading-post rather than a colony, and not a profitable post at best. The West India Company saw the danger of the situation, but its appeals for assistance were disregarded. Its own resources and credit were unequal to the task of defense. Meanwhile the English fleet, composed of one ship of thirty-six, one of thirty, a third of sixteen, and a transport of ten guns, with three full companies of the King’s veterans,—in all four hundred and fifty men, commanded by Colonels Nicolls, Carr, and Cartwright,—sailed from Portsmouth for Gardiner’s Bay on the 15th of May. On the 23d of July Nicolls and Cartwright reached Boston, where they demanded military aid from the Governor and Council of the Colony. Calling upon Winthrop for the assistance of Connecticut, and appointing a rendezvous at the west end of Long Island, Nicolls set sail with his ships and anchored in New Utrecht Bay, just outside of Coney Island, a spot since historical as the landing-place of Lord Howe’s troops in 1776. Here Nicolls was joined by militia from New Haven and Long Island. The city of New Amsterdam was at once cut off from all communication with the shores opposite, and a proclamation was issued by the commissioners guaranteeing the inhabitants in their possessions on condition of submission. The Hudson being in the control of the English vessels, the little city was defenseless. The Director, Stuyvesant, heard of the approach of the English at Fort Orange (Albany), whither he had gone to quell disturbances with the Indians. Returning in haste, he summoned his council together. The folly of resistance was apparent to all, and after delays, by which the Director-General sought to save something of his dignity, a commission for a surrender was agreed upon between the Dutch authorities and Colonel Nicolls. The capitulation confirmed the inhabitants in the possession of their property, the exercise of their religion, and their freedom as citizens. The municipal officers were continued in their rule. On the 29th of August, 1664, the articles were ratified, and Stuyvesant marched out from Fort Amsterdam, at the head of his little band with the honors of war, and embarked the troops on one of the West India Company’s ships for Holland. Stuyvesant himself remained for a time in the city. The English entered the fort, the Dutch flag was hauled down, the English colors hoisted in its place, and the city passed under English rule. The first act of Nicolls on taking possession of the fort, in which he was welcomed by the civic authorities, was to order that the city of New Amsterdam be thereafter known as New York, and the fort as Fort James, in honor of the title and name of his lord and patron.

At the time of the surrender the city gave small promise of its magnificent future. Its entire population, which did not exceed 1,500 souls, was housed within the triangle at the point of the island, the easterly and westerly sides of which were the East and North Rivers, and the northern boundary a wall stretching across the entire island from river to river. Beyond this limit was an occasional plantation and a small hamlet known as New Haarlem. The seat of government was in the fort. Nicolls now established a new government for the province. A force was sent up the Hudson under Captain Cartwright, which took possession of Fort Orange, the name of which was changed to Albany, in honor of a title of the Duke of York. On his return, Cartwright took possession of Esopus in the same manner (the name of this settlement was later changed to Kingston). The privileges granted to the inhabitants of New Amsterdam were extended to these towns. The volunteers from Long Island and New England were now discharged to their homes.

The effect of the prudent and conciliatory measures of Nicolls, which in the beginning had averted the shedding of a single drop of blood, and now appealed directly to the good sense of the inhabitants, was soon apparent. The fears of the Dutch were entirely allayed, and as no inequality was imposed upon them, they had no reason to regret the change of rule. Their pride was conciliated by the continuance of their municipal authorities, and by the cordial manner in which the new-comers arranged that the Dutch and English religious service should be held consecutively under the same roof,—that of the Dutch church in the fort. Hence when Nicolls, alive to the interests of his master, which could be served only by maintaining the prosperity of the colony, proposed to the chief citizens that instead of returning to Holland, as had been arranged for in the capitulation, they should take the oath of allegiance to the King of Great Britain and of obedience to the Duke of York, they almost without exception, Stuyvesant himself included, accepted the conditions. The King’s authority was thus peaceably and firmly established in the metropolis and in the outlying posts of the province of New York proper, which, by the King’s patent to the Duke, included all the territory east of the Delaware. The commissioners next proceeded to reduce the Dutch settlements on the Delaware, and established their colleague, Carr, in command, always however in subordination to the government of New York. The necessities of their condition, dependent upon trade, brought the Dutch inhabitants into easy subjection. Indeed it seems that though their attachment to the mother country, its laws and its customs, was unabated, the long neglect of their interests by the Holland Government had greatly weakened if not destroyed any active sentiment of loyalty.

The southern boundary established, the commissioners turned to the more difficult task of establishing that to the eastward. The Duke of York’s patent covered all the territory claimed alike by the Dutch and by the Connecticut colony under its charter of 1662,—involving an unsettled controversy. A joint commission finally determined the matter by assigning Long Island to New York, and establishing a dividing line between New York and Connecticut, to run about twenty miles distant eastwardly from the Hudson River. The superior topographical information of the Connecticut commissioners secured the establishment of this line in a manner not intended by the Board at large. The boundary was not ratified by the royal authorities, and was later the source of continual dispute and of endless bad feeling between the two colonies.

Nicolls next settled the rules of the customs, which were to be paid in beaver skins at fixed valuations. Courts were now established,—an English modification of those already existing among the Dutch. These new organizations consisted of a court of assizes, or high court of law and equity. Long Island was divided, after the English manner, into three districts or ridings, in which courts of sessions were held at stated intervals. The justices, sitting with the Governor and his Council once in each year in the Court of Assizes, formed the supreme law-making power, wholly subordinate to the will of the Governor, and, after him, to the approval of the Duke. To this body fell the duty of establishing a code of laws for such parts of the province as still remained under the Dutch forms of government. Carefully examining the statutes of the New England colonies, Nicolls prepared from them a code of laws, and summoning a convention of delegates of towns to meet at Hempstead on Long Island, he submitted it for their approval. These laws, though liberal in matters of conscience and religion, did not permit of the election of magistrates. To this restriction many of the delegates demurred; but Nicolls fell back upon the terms of his commission, and the delegates submitted with good grace. The code thus established is known in jurisprudence as the “Duke’s Laws.” Its significant features were trial by jury; equal taxation; tenure of lands from the Duke of York; no religious establishment, but requirement of some church form; freedom of religion to all professing Christianity; obligatory service in each parish every Sunday; recognition of negro slavery under certain restrictions; and general liability to military duty.

Next in order came the conforming of the style and manner of the city governments to the custom of England. The Dutch form was abolished, and a mayor, aldermen, and sheriff appointed. The Dutch citizens objected to this change from the habit of their forefathers, but as the preponderance of numbers was given to citizens of their nationality, the objection was not pressed, and the new authorities were quietly inaugurated, if not with acquiescence, at least without opposition or protest. These changes occurred in June, 1665. Thus in less than a single year, in a population the Dutch element of which outnumbered the English as three to one, by the moderation, tact, energy, and remarkable administrative ability of Nicolls, was the conquered settlement assimilated to the English body politic to which it was henceforth to belong, and from the hour of its transmutation it was accustomed to look to Great Britain itself for government and protection. Such was the first step in the transition of the seat of the “armed commercial monopoly” of New Amsterdam, through various modifications and changes, to the cosmopolitan city of the present day.

The war which the violent seizure of New Netherland precipitated upon Europe was little felt on the western shores of the Atlantic. There was nothing in New York itself, independently of its territorial situation, to tempt a coup de mains. There were “no ships to lose, no goods to plunder.” For nearly a year after the capture no vessel arrived from England with supplies. In the interval the King’s troops slept upon canvas and straw. The entire cost of maintaining the garrison fell upon the faithful Nicolls, who nevertheless continued to build up and strengthen his government, personally disposing of the disputes between the soldiers and settlers at the posts, encouraging settlement by liberal offers to planters, and cultivating friendly relations with the powerful Indian confederacy on the western frontier. While thus engaged in the great work of organizing into a harmonious whole the imperial domain confided to his charge,—which, extending from the Delaware to the Connecticut, with the Hudson as its central artery, was of itself a well-rounded and perfect kingdom,—he received the disagreeable intelligence that his work of consolidation had been broken by the Duke of York himself. James, deceived as to the gravity of the transaction, influenced by friendship, or because of more immediate personal considerations, granted to Carteret and Berkeley the entire territory between the Hudson River on the east, Cape May on the southward, and the northern branch of the Delaware on the west, to which was given the name of Nova Cæsarea, or New Jersey. In this grant, however, the Duke of York did not convey the right of jurisdiction; but the reservation not being expressed in the document, the grantees claimed that it also passed to them,—an interpretation which received no definitive settlement for a long period.

While the Dutch Government showed no disposition to attempt the recovery of their late American territory by immediate attack, they did not tamely submit to the humiliation put upon them, but strained every nerve to maintain the honor of their flag by sea and land. For them as for the English race, the sea was the natural scene of strife. The first successes were to the English fleet, which, under the command of the Duke of York in person, defeated the Dutch at Lowestoffe, and compelled them to withdraw to the cover of their forts. Alarmed at the triumph of England and at the prospect of a general war, Louis XIV. urged peace upon the States-General, and proposed to the English King an exchange of the territory of New Netherland for the island of Poleron, one of the Banda or Nutmeg Islands, recently taken from the English,—a kingdom for a mess of pottage. But Clarendon rejected the mediation, declining either exchange or restitution in a manner that forced upon the French King a declaration of war. This declaration, issued Jan. 29, 1666, was immediately replied to by England, and the American colonies were directed to reduce the French possessions to the English crown. Here was the beginning of the strife on the American continent which culminated a century later in the conquest of Canada and the final supremacy of the English race on the Western continent.

While the settlers of New England, cut off from the Western country by the Hudson River and the Dutch settlements along its course, and alike from Canada by pathless forests, and in a manner enclosed by races whose foreign tongues rendered intercourse difficult, were rapidly multiplying in number, redeeming and cultivating the soil and laying the foundations of a compact and powerful commonwealth, divided perhaps in form, but one in spirit and purpose, their northern neighbors were no less active under totally different forms of polity. The primary idea of French as of Spanish colonization was the conversion of the heathen tribes. The first empire sought was that of the soul; the priests were the pioneers of exploration. The natives of the soil were to be first converted, then brought, if possible, through this subtle influence into alliance with the home government. This peaceful scheme failing, military posts were to be established at strategic points to control the lakes and streams and places of portage, the highways of Indian travel, and to hold the country subject to the King of France. Unfortunately for the success of this comprehensive plan, there was discord among the French themselves. The French military authorities and the priests were not harmonious either in purpose or in conduct. The Society of Jesus would not subordinate itself to the royal authority. Moreover the Iroquois confederacy of the Five Nations, which held the valley of the Mohawk and the lakes south of Ontario, were not friendly at heart to the Europeans. They had not forgotten nor forgiven the invasion by Champlain; yet, recognizing the value of friendly relations with a power which could supply them with firearms for their contests with the fierce tribes with whom they were at perpetual war, they welcomed the French to dwell among them. French policy had declared itself, even before England made of the King of France. Yet such was the independent spirit of this proud tribe, that it required the threat of another expedition to bring them to submission. A treaty was made by which they consented to receive missionaries. This completed the title of possession of the Western territory which the French Government was preparing against a day of need.

The war in Europe was closed by the treaty of Breda, which allowed the retention by each of the conflicting parties of the places it occupied. This provision confirmed the English in peaceful and rightful possession of their conquest of New Netherland. The intelligence was proclaimed New Year’s Day, 1668. It enabled the Duke of York to accede at last to the repeated requests of his faithful and able deputy, and permission was granted to Nicolls to return to England. His successor, Colonel Francis Lovelace, relieved him in his charge in August following.

Francis Lovelace, the successor of Nicolls, continued his policy with prudence and moderation. To him the merchants of the city owed the establishment of the first exchange or meeting-place for transaction of business at fixed hours. He encouraged the fisheries and whaling, promoted domestic trade with Virginia, Massachusetts, and the West India Islands, and took personal interest in shipbuilding. By his encouragement the first attempt toward a post-road or king’s highway was made. During his administration the first seal was secured for the province, and one also for the city. He appears to have concerned himself also in the conversion to Christianity of the Indian tribes,—a policy which Nicolls initiated; but as yet there was no printing press in the province to second his efforts. Of more practical benefit was his interference to arrest the sale of intoxicating liquors to the savage tribes from the trading-post at Albany.

In 1668 the policy of the English Government again veered. A treaty, known as the Triple Alliance, was signed between Great Britain, the United Provinces, and Sweden, to arrest the growing power and ambitious designs of France. Popular in the mother country, the alliance gave peculiar satisfaction to the New York province, and somewhat allayed the disappointment with which the cancellation of the order permitting the Dutch freely to trade with New York was received by its citizens of Holland descent. Throughout the Duke’s province there was entire religious toleration. None were disturbed in the exercise of their worship. At Albany the parochial Dutch church was maintained under his authority, and in New York, he authorized the establishment of a branch of the Dutch Reformed Church, and directed the payment of a sufficient salary to the minister invited from Holland to undertake its charge.

The efforts begun by Nicolls and continued by Lovelace, to bring into harmonious subjection the diverse elements of the Duke’s government were not wholly successful. The inhabitants of eastern Long Island clung tenaciously to the traditions of the Connecticut colony, and petitioned the King directly for representation in the Government; but the Council for Plantations denied the claim, on the ground that the territory was in the limits of the Duke of York’s patent and government. The unsettled boundaries again gave trouble, Massachusetts renewing her claim to the navigation of the Hudson, which the Dutch had, during their rule, successfully resisted. Massachusetts further claimed the territory to the Pacific westward of the line of the Duke of York’s patent. The contiguous territory was however held by the Mohawks, who had never acknowledged other sovereignty than their own. In 1672 this tribe made a considerable sale of lands on the Mohawk River to the inhabitants of Schenectady, by which New York practically acquired title to the soil as well as sovereignty.

In 1672 English politics again underwent a change. The Triple Alliance was dissolved, and a secret treaty entered into with France. War was declared against the Dutch. In a severe action at Solebay, the Dutch won an advantage over the allied fleets of England and France. In the engagement Nicolls, the late governor of the New York province, fell, killed by a cannon ball, at the feet of his master, the Duke of York, Lord High Admiral of England, who commanded the British fleet. But while the Dutch maintained an equality at sea with the combined fleets of the powers, their fortune on land was not as favorable. Turenne and Condé led the armies of France to the soil of the Dutch Republic, and to mark his advantage, Louis XIV. brought his court to Utrecht. A revolution in Holland was the immediate consequence. The Grand Pensionary, who in his alarm sought peace, lost the favor of the people, resigned his office, and was quickly murdered by the excited followers of William of Orange. William, having demanded and obtained appointment as Stadtholder, at once placed himself at the head of the war party, and active hostilities were prosecuted by sea and land, both far and near. Among the rumors which reached the inhabitants of the New York province, whose kinsmen were again at war with each other, was one to the effect that a Dutch squadron which had been despatched against the West India colonies was on its way along the Atlantic coast. Lovelace discredited the information, and seems to have made no immediate efforts to strengthen the forts. Troops were called in, however, from the river garrisons and the posts on the Delaware; but their number, with the volunteers, reached only three hundred and thirty men. The alarm soon subsiding, the new-comers were dismissed, and the garrison left in Fort James did not exceed eighty men. Lovelace himself, in entire serenity of mind, left the city on a visit to Governor Winthrop in Connecticut. The rumor, however, proved true. The Dutch squadron, after capturing or destroying the Virginia fleet of tobacco ships in the Chesapeake, sailed northward, and on Aug. 7, 1673, anchored off Staten Island. Informed of the precise state of the New York defences by the captain of a prize captured at the mouth of James River, the Dutch commander made an immediate demand for the surrender of the city. The Dutch fleet, commanded by Evertsen, originally consisting of fifteen ships, had been reinforced in its course by seven men-of-war, and with its prizes now numbered twenty-seven sail, which carried sixteen hundred men. Against this force no resistance was possible. On the morning of the 8th the fleet moved up the bay, exchanged shots with the fort, and landed six hundred men on the shore of the Hudson just above the city, where they were joined by a body of the Dutch burghers. A storming party was advanced, under command of Captain Anthony Colve, to whom Captain Manning, who commanded in the Governor’s absence, surrendered the fort, the garrison being permitted to march out with the honors of war. Thus New York was again surrendered without the shedding of a drop of blood.

A few days later Lovelace, entrapped into a visit to the city, was first courteously entertained, then arrested on a civil suit for debt and detained. The river settlements of Esopus and Albany surrendered without opposition; and those in the immediate neighborhood of the city, where the Dutch population was in ascendency, made submission. The eastern towns of Long Island, of English descent, came in with reluctance. The commodores Evertsen and Binckes, who acted as council of war of New Netherland, after confiscating the property of the Duke of York and of his agent, by proclamation commissioned Captain Anthony Colve Governor-General of the country, and set sail for Holland,—Binckes taking Lovelace with him on his ship at his request.

New York had greatly changed in nine years of English rule. From a sleepy Dutch settlement it had become the capital of a well-ordered province. Colve, the new Dutch governor, went through the form of a return to the old order of city government of the home pattern, and prepared a provincial Instruction to which the outlying towns were to conform. Massachusetts again asserted her old claim to run her southern line to the Hudson, and Connecticut hankered once more after the fertile towns of Long Island, settled by her sons. But Massachusetts had no disposition to take up arms to restore the Duke of York to his possessions. The refusal of the Duke to take the test oath of conformity to the Protestant religion of the Established Church, and the leaning of Charles to the French alliance, alarmed the Puritans, and Connecticut was content, by volunteer reinforcements, to strengthen the eastern towns in their resistance to Colve’s authority.

The news of the recapture of New York reached Holland in October, when Joris Andringa was by the States-General appointed governor of New Netherland under the instructions of the Board of Admiralty. Notwithstanding the earnest request of the Dutch inhabitants of the reconquered province and the petition of persons interested in its trade in the mother country, the States-General recognized the impossibility of holding their American possessions on the mainland, surrounded as they were by a growing and aggressive English population. The Prince of Orange, with true statesmanship, saw that the only safety of the Republic was in a concentration of resources in order to oppose the power of France. The offer of a restitution of New Netherland was directly made to Charles II. as an evidence of the desire for peace and a good understanding. Charles referred the subject to Parliament, which instantly recommended acceptance, and within three days a treaty was drawn up and signed at Westminster, which once more and finally transferred the province of New York to the King of Great Britain. Proclamation of the treaty was made at the City Hall early in July, 1674. The news came by way of Massachusetts and Connecticut. Connecticut determined to make one more push for the control on Long Island of Southampton, Easthampton, and Southold, and petitions were addressed to the King. At the same time she sought again to include the territory between the boundary line established in 1664 and the Hudson. And it may be stated as a curious instance of the politics of the time, that some friend of Massachusetts, urged by her agent in London, actually contemplated the purchase of the entire province of New York in her interest.

The new governor appointed by the King to receive the surrender of the New Netherland was one Edmund Andros, major in a dragoon regiment. In continuance of the liberal policy of 1664, all the inhabitants were by his instructions confirmed in their rights and privileges, and in the undisturbed possession of their property. By the treaty of Westminster, the New Netherland, the rightful possession of which by the Dutch was implied by its tenor, was ceded to the King. Although termed a restitution, it was held that the rights of the Duke of York had been extinguished by the conquest, and that restitution to the sovereign did not convey restoration to the subject. The Duke of York, now better informed as to the nature and value of the territory, on June 29, 1674, obtained from his royal brother a new patent with enlarged authority. To Andros, who bore the King’s authority to receive submission, the Duke now conferred his commission to govern the province in his name. Lieutenant Anthony Brockholls was named his successor in case of death. Andros was a man of high character, well suited by nature and experience to carry out the policy of his master,—the policy skilfully inaugurated by Nicolls and loyally pursued by Lovelace, -the institution of an autocratic government of the most arbitrary nature in form, but of extreme mildness in practice; one which, insuring peace and happiness to the subject, would best contribute to the authority and revenue of the master. Colonization was encouraged, the customs burdens lightened, the laws equally administered, and freedom of conscience secured. Although the Duke of York, in his refusal to take the test oath prescribed by the Act of 1673, had proclaimed himself an adherent of the Church of Rome, and Brockholls was a professed Papist, and neither master nor servant could hold office in England under that Act, and although the British American colonies were not within its provisions, yet it does not appear that any effort was made by the Church of Rome to exercise its religion under the guarantee of the King and of the Duke. There were doubtless few of that faith in the Protestant colony of New York to claim the privilege. It was left to the wise men who laid the foundations of the Empire State in 1777 to put in practice the freedom of religion to all, which, strangely enough, was first guaranteed in word by the Catholic prince.

The new patent of 1674 restored to the Duke his full authority over the entire domain covered by the original grant, and brought New Jersey again within his rule; yet he was persuaded to divest himself of this proprietorship by a new release to Carteret. No grant of power to govern being named in either the first or the second instrument, this authority was held as reserved by the Duke. The cession was nevertheless of extreme and lasting injury to the New York province, as it impaired its control over the west bank of the mouth of the Hudson and the waters of the bay. On the other hand, the Duke’s title to Long Island and Pemaquid was strengthened by a release obtained from Lord Stirling; and the assumption of Connecticut to govern the eastern towns in the former territory was summarily disposed of. The Duke’s authority in Pemaquid, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket, though disturbed by some of the inhabitants who sought to bring them under the government of Massachusetts, had been maintained during the period of Colve’s administration. They had not been named in the commission of the Dutch commanders to Colve. The claim of Connecticut to the strip of land between the Mamaroneck line and the Hudson River was disallowed by the Duke, and possession of the territory entered by Connecticut was demanded by Andros. Connecticut held to the letter of her charter; Andros to the letters-patent of the King. The rising of the Narragansett tribes under King Philip afforded Andros an opportunity to assert the Duke’s authority. Sailing with three sloops and a body of soldiers, he landed at Saybrook, and read the Duke’s patent and his own commission. The Connecticut officers replied by reading the protest of the Hartford authorities. It is reasonable to suppose that had Andros found the Saybrook fort unoccupied, he would have put in a garrison to protect from the Indians the territory which he claimed to be within his commission. Had he intended a surprise, he would not have given notice to Winthrop that the object of his journey was “the Connecticut River, his Royal Highness’s bounds there.” Neither Andros nor the Connecticut authorities desired an armed collision. Andros, content with the assertion of his claim, crossed the Sound, despatched aid to his dependencies of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, and returned, after reviewing the militia and disarming the Indians. The course of Andros was approved by the Duke, who, while insisting on his claim to all the territory west of the Connecticut River, ordered that the distance of twenty miles from the Hudson be observed for the dividing line.

The northern frontier was also watched with jealous solicitude. The increase of French influence through their missionaries now became the occasion of an English policy- of far-reaching significance, - a policy felt throughout the American Revolution and in the later contest of the States of the Union for Western territory. The friendship of the Mohawks, the only tribe which did not acknowledge French supremacy, was encouraged. Andros personally visited the stronghold of the Mohawks, and on his return to Albany confirmed a close alliance with the Iroquois and organized a board of Indian Commissioners. This sagacious plan served in the future as an effectual check to the encroachments of the French. The ministers of Louis XIV. were quick to feel the blow, and in 1677 the counter claim was set up that the reception of the Jesuit missionaries had given sovereignty to France over the Iroquois. The future contest which was to shake the two continents was already foreshadowed. The same year the supremacy of New York over the Iroquois was tacitly admitted by Massachusetts in the treaty made with them “under the advice” of Andros.

In the details of his administration Andros showed the same firmness. The old contraband trade with the Dutch was arrested; no European goods were admitted from any port that had not paid duties in England. This strict enforcement of the Navigation Laws diminished the coastwise trade with Massachusetts and promoted a direct intercourse with England, which gradually brought the province into close relation with the English com mercial towns. Social and political alliance was the natural result, and New York grew gradually to be the most English in sentiment of the American colonies, notwithstanding the cosmopolitan character of her population.

Increasing commerce requiring greater accommodation, a great mole or dock was built on the East River, which afforded protection to vessels in the rapid tide, and for a long period was the centre of the traffic of the city of New York. The answer of Governor Andros to the inquiries of the Council of Plantations as to the condition of the province gives the best existing account of it in 1678. The following are the principal points:—
“Boundaries,—South, the Sea; West, Delaware; North, to ye Lakes or ffrench; East, Connecticut river, but most usurped and yett posse’d by s’d Connecticut: Some Islands Eastward and a Tract beyond Kennebeck River called Pemaquid.. . . Principall places of Trade are New Yorke and South’ton except Albany for the Indyans; our buildings most wood, some lately stone and brick; good country houses, and strong of their severall kindes. About twenty-four towns, villages, or parishes in six precincts, divisions, Rydeings, or Courts of Sessions. Produce is land provisions of all sorts, as of wheate exported yearly about sixty thousand bushells, pease, beefe, pork, and some Refuse fish, Tobacco, beavers’ peltry or furs from the Indians, Deale and oake timber, plankes, pipestavves, lumber, horses, and pitch and tarr lately begunn to be made. Comodityes imported are all sorts of English manufacture for Christians, and blanketts, Duffells, etc., for Indians, about 50,000 pounds yearly. Pemaquid affords merchantable fish and masts. Our merchants are not many, but most inhabitants and planters, about two thousand able to beare armes, old inhabitants of the place or of England, Except in and neere New Yorke of Dutch Extraction, and some few of all nations, but few serv’ts much wanted, and but very few slaves. A merchant worth one thousand pounds or five hundred pounds is accompted a good substantiall merchant, and a planter worthe half that in moveables accompted [rich?]. With all the Estates may be valued at about £150,000 There may lately have trade to ye Colony in a yeare from ten to fifteen ships or vessels, of which togeather 100 turns each, English, New England, and our own built, of which 5 small ships and a Ketch now belonging to New York, four of them built there. No privateers on the coast. Religions of all sorts,—one Church of England, several Presbyterians and Independents, Quakers and Anabaptists of severall sects, some Jews, but Presbyterians and Independents most numerous and substantial. There are about 20 churches or meeting-places, of which about half vacant. Noe beggars, but all poor cared for.”
In 1678, the affairs of the province being everywhere in order, Andros availed himself of the permission given him by the Duke to pay a visit to England. He sailed from New York on the 12th of November, leaving Brockholls to administer the government in his absence, with the commission of commander-in-chief. On reaching London Andros was knighted by the King. His administration was examined into by the Privy Council and approved. In May he sailed for New York with the new commission of vice-admiral throughout the government of the Duke of York. He found the province in the same quiet as when he left it.

The marriage of William of Orange with Mary, daughter of the Duke of York and heiress to the throne of England, in the autumn of 1677, was of happy augury to the New York colony. It gave earnest of a restoration of the natural alliance of the Protestant powers against France, the common enemy. To the Dutch of New York it was peculiarly grateful, allaying the last remains, of the bitterness of submission to alien rule. Andros wisely promoted this good feeling by interesting himself in the formal establishment of their religion. Under his direction a classis of the Reformed Church of Holland met in New York for purposes of ordination, and its proceedings were approved by the supreme ecclesiastical authority at Amsterdam. New points in law were now decided and settled; strikes or combinations to raise the price of labor were declared illegal; all Indians were declared to be free.

But Andros was on occasion as energetic and determined as he was prudent and moderate. He dallied with no invasion of his master’s rights or privileges, as he evinced when, in 1680, he arrested Carteret in New Jersey and dragged him to trials for having presumed to exercise jurisdiction and collect duties within the limits of the Duke’s patent.

The position of the Duke of York now became daily more difficult, indeed almost untenable in his increasing divergence from the policy of the kingdom. The elements of that personal opposition which was later to drive him from the throne were rapidly concentrating. His adherents and those who favored a Protestant succession were forming the historic parties of Tories and of Whigs. To avoid angry controversy the Duke ordered the question of his right to collect customs dues in New Jersey to be submitted to Sir William Jones. Upon his adverse decision so far as related to West Jersey, the Duke directed the necessary transfer to be made; and when the widow of Carteret made complaint of his dispossession from authority, the action of Andros was wholly disavowed by the Duke, and his authority over East Jersey was relinquished in the same form. Andros himself, against whom complaints of favoring the Dutch trade had been made by his enemies, was ordered to return to England, leaving Brockholls in charge of the government; at the same time a special agent was sent over to examine into the administration. Conscious of the integrity of his service, Andros obeyed the summons with alacrity, proclaimed the agent’s commission, called Brockholls down from Albany to take charge of the government, and took ship for England. The absence of his firm hand was soon felt. The term for the levy of the customs rates under the Duke’s authority had expired just before his sailing, and had not been renewed. Immediately after his departure the merchants refused to pay duties, and the collector who attempted the levy was held for high treason in the exercise of regal authority without warrant. He pleaded his commission from the Duke, and the case was referred to England. The resistance of the merchants was stimulated by the free condition of the charter just granted to Pennsylvania, which required that all laws should be assented to by the freemen of the province, and that no taxes should be laid or revenue raised except by provincial assembly. The Grand Jury of New York presented the want of a provincial assembly as a grievance; a petition was drafted to the Duke praying for a change in the form of government, and calling for a governor, council, and assembly, the last to be elected by the freeholders of the colony. On the arrival of the Duke’s agent in London with his report upon the late administration, Andros was examined by the Duke’s commissioners, whereupon he was fully exonerated, his administration was complimented, and he was made a gentleman of the King’s Privy Chamber. The Duke’s collector, after waiting in vain for his prosecutors to appear, was discharged from his bond, and soon after appointed surveyor-general of customs in the American Plantations.

Notwithstanding his dislike to popular assemblies, the Duke of York saw the need of some concession, and gave notice of his intention to Brockholls. Thus by the accident of the non-renewal of the customs’ term, the people of New York were enabled, in the absence of the governor, to assert the doctrine of no taxation without representation, to which the Duke in his necessity was compelled to submit.

Great changes had taken place in the neighboring territory of New Jersey, which the Duke had alienated from his original magnificent domain, to its mutilation and lasting injury. Pennsylvania was formally organized as a province, and Philadelphia was planned. East New Jersey passed into the hands of twelve proprietors, who increased their number by sale to twenty-four, selected a governor, summoned a legislature, and organized the State.

While the English race, true to its instincts and traditions, was thus organizing its settlements, bringing its population into homogeneity, and preparing for a gradual but sure extension of its colonization from a firm, well-ordered base, the more adventurous French were pushing their voyages and posts along the lakes and down the Western streams, until the discovery of the mouth of the Mississippi by La Salle completed the chain and added to the nominal domain of the sovereign of France the vast territory from the Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico, to which he gave the name of Louisiana.

The governor selected by the Duke of York to succeed Andros and to inaugurate the new order of government in his province was Colonel Thomas Dongan, an Irish officer who had commanded a regiment in the French service. Though a Roman Catholic, an Irishman, and a soldier, he proved himself an excellent and prudent magistrate. The instructions of the Duke required the appointment of a council of ten eminent citizens and the issue of writs for a general assembly, not to exceed eighteen, to consult with the Governor and Council with regard to the laws to be established, such laws to be subject to his approval,—the general tenor of laws as to life and property to be in conformity with the common law of England. No duties were to be levied except by the Assembly. No allusion was made to religion. No more democratic form of government existed in America, or was possible under kingly authority.

Dongan reached the city of New York, Aug. 28, 1683, and assumed the government. Installing his secretary and providing occupation for Brockholls, he summoned an assembly, and then hastened to Albany to check the attempt of Penn to extend the bounds of the territory of Pennsylvania by a purchase of the valley of the Upper Susquehanna from the Iroquois, who claimed the country by right of conquest from the Andastes. In this Dongan was successful; the Cayugas settling the question by a formal conveyance of the coveted territory to the New York Government, a cession which was later confirmed by the Mohawks. At the same time this tribe was instructed as to their behavior toward the French. The claim of New York to all the land on the south side of the lake was again renewed and assented to by the Mohawks. The astute Iroquois already recognized that only through the friendship of the English could their independence be maintained.

The New York Assembly met in October. Its first act bore the title of “The Charter of Liberties and Privileges granted by his Royal Highness to the Inhabitants of New York and its dependencies.” The supreme legislative authority, under the King and the Duke, was vested in a governor, council, and “the people met in general assembly;” the sessions, triennial as in England; franchise, free to every freeholder; the law, that of England in its most liberal provisions; freedom of conscience and religion to all peaceable persons “which profess faith in God by Jesus Christ.” In the words of the petition of right of 1628, no tax or imposition was to be laid except by act of Assembly,—in consideration of which privileges the Assembly was to grant the Duke or his heirs certain specified impost duties. The province was divided into twelve counties. Four tribunals of justice were established; namely, town courts with monthly sessions for the trial of petty cases; county or courts of sessions; a general court of oyer and terminer, to meet twice in each year; and a court of chancery or supreme court of the province, composed of the Governor and Council. An appeal to the King was reserved in every case. In addition to these there was a clause unusual in American statutes, naturalizing the foreign born residents and those who should come to reside within the limits of the province, which had already assumed the cosmopolitan character which has never since ceased to mark the city of New York, The liberal provisions of the statute gave security to all, and invited immigration from Europe, where religious intoleration was again unsettling the bases of society. It was not until the 4th of October, 1684, that the Duke signed and sealed the amended instrument, “The Charter of Franchises and Privileges to New Yorke in America,” and ordered it to be registered and sent across sea.

Connecticut making complaint of the extension of New York law over the territory within the contested boundary lines, Dongan brought the long dispute to a summary close by giving notice to the Hartford authorities that unless they withdrew their claims to territory within twenty miles of the Hudson he should renew the old New York claim to the Connecticut River as the eastern limit of the Duke’s patent, and refer the subject directly to his Highness. In reply to an invitation from Dongan, commissioners proceeded from Hartford to New York, who abandoned the pretensions set up, and accepted the line proposed by Dongan, thus finally closing the controversy.

The city of New York was now divided into six wards, certain jurisdiction conferred upon its officers, and a recorder was appointed.

Dongan with the vision of a statesman recognized the value of the friendship of the Indians. The Iroquois tribes he described as the bulwark of New York against Canada. The policy of the Duke’s governors from the time of Nicolls was unchanged. It consisted in a claim to all the territory south and southwest of the Lake of Canada (Ontario), and the confining of the French to the territory to the northward by the help of Indian allies. The French officers by negotiation and threat endeavored first to impose their authority on the several tribes of the Iroquois confederacy, and failing in this to divide them. But Dongan, carefully observing their mano=euvres, obtained from a council of chiefs a written submission to the King of England, which was recorded on two white dressed deer-skins. The presence on the occasion at Albany of Lord Howard of Effingham, the Governor of Virginia, added greatly in the eyes of the Indians to this solemn engagement. Four nations bound themselves to the covenant, and asked that the arms of the Duke of York should be put upon their castles; and Dongan gave notice of the same to the Canadian Government, in witness that they were within his jurisdiction and under his protection. But in this submission the Indians recognized no subjection. The Iroquois still claimed his perfect freedom.

The claim of Massachusetts to territory westward of the Hudson was another perplexing element in the Indian question. In answer to a renewal of this demand, Dongan set up his claim as the Duke’s governor to jurisdiction over the towns which Massachusetts had organized on land covered by the Duke’s patent on the west side of the Connecticut River; but the matter being soon disposed of by the cancelling, for various offences, of the Massachusetts patent by the King, through the operation of a writ of quo warranto, the Duke had no further contestant to his claims. The New Jersey boundary was also matter of dispute, but Dongan, at first of his own motion, and later by specific instruction from the Duke, took care to prevent Penn from acquiring any part of New Jersey or from interfering with the Indian trade.

The controversy with Canada as to the country south of the St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario now drew to a head. Dongan clung persistently to the claim asserted by Andros in 1677. Against this the Canadians set up the sovereignty of France, acquired by war and treaties and the planting of missionaries among the tribes. The question turned upon the independence of the Iroquois, parts of which tribes had never made submission, or had repudiated the interpretation set upon their engagements. The new French governor, De la Barre, made ineffectual menace, but not supporting his threat with arms, lost the respect of the savages. The prestige of the English was increased, and the coveted trade passed into their hands to such an extent that in 1684 the Senecas alone brought into Albany more than ten thousand beaver skins. Nor was Denonville, who succeeded De la Barre in the government of Canada, more fortunate in enforcing his policy. His wily effort to engage the sympathies of his co-religionist Dongan in a support of the French missionaries among the tribes, was foiled by the New York governor, who at the same time secured the approbation of his Roman Catholic master by proposing to replace them with English priests.

The death of Charles II., early in the year 1685, and the accession to the throne of the Duke of York as James II., were of momentous influence upon European politics. They at once changed the political position of New York. The condition of proprietorship or nominal duchy altered with that of its master and proprietor. The Duke became a King; the duchy a royal province. The change involved a change in the New York charter, and afforded opportunity for a reconsideration and rejection of the entire instrument. The words “the people” were particularly objected to by the new King as unusual. The revocation of the Massachusetts charter by the late King, the government of which colony had not yet been settled, presented a favorable occasion for an assimilation of all the constitutions of the American colonies as preliminary to that consolidation of government and power at which James aimed as his ideal of government. Nevertheless the existing New York charter remained,—not confirmed, not repealed, but continued. The Scotch risings and the Monmouth rebellion interfered with any immediate action by the Government in American affairs. Yet the New York province hailed with joy the accession of their Duke and Lord proprietor to the throne. His rule had been just and temperate; his agents prudent and discreet. The immediate Governor, Dongan, was thoroughly identified with the interests of the province confided to his care, and aimed to make of its capital the centre of English influence in America. In 1686 the city received a new charter, with a grant of all the vacant land in and about the city. Albany, also, under an arrangement with the landed proprietors, was incorporated and intrusted with the management of the Indian trade. The suppression of the Monmouth rebellion enabling James to turn his attention to America, he directed proceedings to be instituted in the English courts to cancel the charters of the Connecticut, Rhode Island, West Jersey, and Delaware colonies. In the interim a temporary government was established for Massachusetts, Plymouth, Maine, and New Hampshire, in accordance with the order of Charles made in 1684. A board of councillors was appointed, of whom Joseph Dudley was named president.

Weary of the trouble and expense of maintaining authority in distant Pemaquid, Dongan urged the King to annex this dependency to Massachusetts, and to add Connecticut to New York. Dudley pleaded the claim of Massachusetts with the Connecticut authorities. They held an even balance between the two demands, however, and resolved to maintain the autonomy of the colony, if possible, against either the machinations of her neighbors or the warrant of the King.

It has been seen that as Duke of York the policy of James in the government of his American province was, with the exception of the weakness shown in the case of Carteret and New Jersey, the consolidation of power. His accession to the throne enabled him to carry out this policy on a broader field. He determined to put an end to the temporary charge by commissioners of the New England colonies, and to unite them all under one government, the better to defend themselves against invasion. The assigned reason was the policy of aggression of the French on the frontiers. The person selected for the delicate duty of harmonizing the colonies into one province was Sir Edmund Andros, who, as the Duke’s deputy, had first suggested that a strong royal government should be established in New England, and of whose character and administrative abilities there was no question. He was accordingly commissioned by the King “Captain-General and Governor-in-Chief over his territory and dominions of New England in America.” By the terms of his instructions, liberty of conscience was granted to all, countenance promised to the Church of England, and power conferred on the Assembly to make laws and levy taxes. Pemaquid was annexed to the new government.

To assimilate the New York government to that of the new dominion a new commission was issued to Dongan as King’s captain-general and governor-in-chief over the province of New York. The charter of liberties and privileges recently signed was repealed; the existing laws, however, were to continue in force until others should be framed and promulgated by the Governor and Council. The liberty of conscience granted in 1674 and limited in 1683 to Christians, was now extended to all persons without restriction. A censorship of the press was established. The trade of the Hudson River was to be kept free from intrusion by any.

While the King was thus strengthening his power and gathering into one grasp the entire force of the colonies, his ministers allowed themselves to be outwitted by the French in negotiation. A treaty of neutrality inspired by France engaged non-interference by either Government in the wars of the other against the savage tribes in America, and struck a severe blow at the policy of the New York governors. The announcement of the treaty was accompanied by the arrival of reinforcements in Canada and the organization of an expedition against the Iroquois. The treacherous seizure and despatch to France of a number of chiefs, who had been invited to a conference at Quebec, opened the campaign, at once ended the French missions among the Five Nations, and consolidated their alliance with the English. The expedition of Denonville was partially successful. The Seneca country was occupied, sovereignty proclaimed, and a fort built on the old site of La Salle’s Fort de Conty. But the power of the Iroquois was not touched. Hampered by his instructions, Dongan could only lay the situation before the King and suggest a comprehensive plan for the fortification of the country and assistance of the friendly tribes. Alarmed at the news from the frontier, he resolved to winter in Albany, and ordered the Five Nations to send their old women and children to Catskill, where they could be protected and cared for. A draft was also made of every tenth militia man to strengthen the Albany post. Denonville, despairing of conquering the fierce Iroquois, though they were supported only by the tacit aid of the English, now urged upon Louis XIV. the acquisition of the coveted territory by exchange or by purchase, even of the entire province of New York, with the harbor of the city.

Dongan’s messenger to James easily satisfied the King that the treaty of neutrality was not for the interest of England, and that if the independence of the Five Nations were not maintained, the sovereignty over them must be English. Orders were sent to Dongan to defend and protect them, and to Andros and the other governors to give them aid. To the complaints of Louis, James opposed the submission made at Albany in 1684 by the chiefs in the presence of the Governor of Virginia. As a compromise between the Governments it was agreed by treaty that until January, 1689, no act of hostility should be committed or either territory invaded. The warlike defensive operations against the French put the New York Government to extraordinary charges, amounting to more than £8,000, to which the neighboring colonies were invited to contribute under authority of the King’s letter of November, 1687. The occasion to urge the importance of New York as the bulwark of the colonies, and of strengthening her by the annexation of Connecticut and New Jersey, was not forgotten by the sagacious Dongan. Now that the Dutch pretension to rule in America was definitively set at rest, it was evident to statesmen that a struggle for the American continent would sooner or later arise between the powers of France and England,—indeed the rivalry had already begun. To James, who thoroughly understood the practice as well as the theory of administration, and was as diligent in his cabinet as any of his ministers, it was equally evident that the consolidated power of New France in the single hand of a viceroy was more serviceable than the discordant action of provinces so much at variance with each other in principle and feeling as the American colonies. To the viceregal government of New France he resolved to oppose a viceregal government of British America. To New England he now determined to annex New York. Dongan was recalled, gratified with military promotion and personal honor, and Sir Edmund Andros was commissioned governor-general of the entire territory. His commission gave him authority over

”All that tract of land, circuit, continent, precincts, and limits in America lying and being in breadth from forty degrees of northern latitude from the equinoctial line to the River St. Croix eastward, and from thence directly northward to the River of Canada, and in length and longitude by all the breadth aforesaid throughout the main land, from the Atlantic or Western Sea or Ocean on the east part to the South Sea on the west part, with all the islands, seas, rivers, waters, rights, members, and appurtenances thereunto belonging (our province of Pennsylvania and country of Delaware only excepted), to be called and known, as formerly, by the name and title of our territory and dominion of New England in America.”
On the 11th of August, 1688, Andros assumed his viceregal authority at Fort James in New York. A few days later the news arrived of the birth of a son to King James. A proclamation of the viceroy ordered a day of thanksgiving to be observed within the city of New York and dependencies. Thus New York was formally recognized as the metropolis and the seat of government in the Dominion of New England. By the King’s instructions the seal of New York was broken in council, and the great seal of New England thereafter used.

The Governor of Canada was notified that the Five Nations were the subjects of the King of England, and would be protected as such. The new governor visited Albany, and held a conference with the delegates from the Five Nations, and renewed the old covenant of Corlaer. The Indians showing signs of restlessness all along the frontier as far as Casco Bay, the viceroy endeavored to settle the difficulties between Canada and the New York tribes, and engaged his good offices to secure the return of the prisoners from France. On his return to Boston Andros left the affairs of the New York government in the charge of Nicholson. Dongan retired to his farm at Hempstead on Long Island. Though peaceful, the new dominion was not at rest. The liberty of conscience declared by the King was not precisely that which each dissenting denomination desired. Gradually men of each grew to believe that James was indifferent to all religions that were not of the true faith; and regarding the simple manner in which by legal form he had stripped them of their chartered rights, began to fear that by an act as legal he might strip them of their liberty of worship. The test Act which he had refused to obey, to the loss of his dignities and honors as Duke, might be altered to the ruin of its authors. A Roman Catholic test might take the place of the Protestant form. The King reigned, and a son was born to him, who doubtless would be educated in the papist faith of the Stuarts. William of Orange was only near the throne.

While the colonies were thus agitated, a spirit of quiet resistance was spreading in England, where alarm was great at the arbitrary manner in which charters were stricken down. Property was threatened. In the American colonies the agitation was chiefly religious. Among their inhabitants were Huguenot families whom the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 had ruthlessly driven from their homes to a shelter on the distant continent. The crisis was at hand. Strangely enough, it was precipitated by the declaration of liberty of conscience and the abrogation of the test oath against Dissenters which King James had commissioned Andros to proclaim in America. This liberty of conscience included liberty to Catholics, which the Protestants would have none of. The abrogation of the test oath opened the way to preferment and honor to Catholics, which the Protestants were equally averse to. Ordered to read the proclamation in the churches, seven bishops, headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, refused to obey the command. The prelates were committed, tried, and acquitted. Encouraged by this victory, the great Whig houses of England now addressed an invitation to William of Orange, who was already, with naval and military force, secretly prepared to cross the sea. On the 5th of November the great Stadtholder landed on the shores of Devon, and proclaimed himself the maintainer of English liberties. Thus a declaration of liberty of conscience brought about the fall of a Catholic king. The news caused great excitement in the colonies. Andros, who had but lately returned to Boston from an expedition to the northeastern frontier of Maine, where he had established posts for protection against the tribes who were threatening a second Indian war, was seized and imprisoned by a popular uprising. In New York the agitation was as intense. Nicholson, the lieutenant-governor, unequal to the emergency, let slip the grasp of power from his hand; and on the open revolt of Leisler, one of the militia captains, who seized the fort, he determined to sail for England, and the control of the province passed to a committee of safety. The revolt of Leisler forms the opening of a new chapter in the story of the New York province.

John Austin Stevens, Narrative and Critical History of America, Vol III, 1889

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