Tuesday, May 1, 2012

New York, New Jersey, and New Amsterdam

New York under James 1664-88

In March 1664 King Charles II granted his brother James Stuart, Duke of York and Albany, proprietorship of New Netherland with Long Island, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and all of Maine east of the Kennebec River. James had personal title to all the lands with authority to govern without a representative assembly, and he appointed Col. Richard Nicolls to be his deputy governor. On September 8 the Dutch surrendered Fort Amsterdam, and it and New Netherland became New York. In the negotiation the English promised Stuyvesant that none of the Dutch who swore allegiance to King Charles would be punished or have their possessions confiscated, and they would have freedom of religion and free trade with the Netherlands. Most of the Dutch merchants found Nicolls to be wise, gentle, and intelligent, and they stayed and prospered. Only in Delaware did Robert Carr expropriate property for his own use and sell resisting Dutch soldiers into slavery. Nicolls went to the Delaware River and made Carr give back some of the goods. In January 1665 the Governor decreed that no purchase of land from Indians would be valid without his approval so that the same tracts would not be sold more than once. (source: Beck)

Governor Nicolls confiscated all the property of the Dutch West India Company and that of Dutch owners who did not swear allegiance to the British crown. He established no courts of law but judged all the cases himself, and he was respected for his integrity and moderation. On March 1, 1665 he met at Hempstead with 34 delegates from Westchester and Long Island and promulgated the Duke's laws based on those of Massachusetts and Connecticut for what was now called Yorkshire, but in 1674 they were extended to Manhattan and two years later to Delaware. The deputies had no legislative power and submitted. At the same time Charles II was declaring war against the Dutch in Europe. The Duke only gradually began collecting quitrents from the landholders. The Rensselaerswycks retained their patroonship, and manors were recognized in Fordham, Pelham, Philipsburgh, Fox Hall, and later in Livingston and Van Cortlandt. Stuyvesant even became a friend and advisor of Nicolls. English soldiers were quartered in Dutch households, and this caused some conflicts. The Treaty of Breda in July 1667 confirmed English sovereignty over New York, and the next year Nicolls spent several months instructing his successor Col. Francis Lovelace before leaving in August. Nicolls was such a benevolent autocrat that he was thanked by the burghers with a farewell dinner. ... (source: Beck)

On June 29, 1674 Charles II again granted the territory to his brother James without regard to claims made by others, and three days later the Duke appointed Major Edmund Andros governor. He had served in the Netherlands and could speak Dutch as well as French. Andros took over on October 31, and two days later he reinstated all the magistrates and officials from before the Dutch interlude except Peter Alrichs in Delaware. Now only English was recognized in New York courts. Ignoring the wishes of those in Albany, the Governor ordered all imports and exports to pay duties in New York City. During his six years in office New York's trade would increase tenfold. Thirty merchants became rich enough to hold more than half the assessed wealth. Poverty was increasing, and 1,600 slaves lived in crowded conditions.

In April 1675 the Council required all inhabitants to swear allegiance to the English authority. Nicholas Bayard and seven other Dutch burghers refused to take the oath; but they promised obedience as long as they did not have to take up arms against a Dutch nation. A third of their estates were confiscated, and Bayard was also imprisoned. When 23 coopers joined together to set rates for casks and barrels, Andros fined them for forming an illegal combination. He summoned sachems from the Hackensacks and other tribes in New Jersey to meet at Fort James; he made them promise allegiance, and he kept hostages as guarantees. With the powerful Iroquois he formed the important alliance called the Covenant Chain. The militia had about 2,000 men. The English Test Act of 1673 assured that only Protestants could serve in the government. A 1679 law declared Indians in New York free and mandated the emancipation of imported Indians within six months, but this law was not well enforced.

Andros went to London and made a report in 1677, and he returned the following August. Some criticized Andros for favoring Dutch merchants, for violating the Navigation Acts, obstructing trade, accepting bribes, extorting money, and keeping provincial taxes. He retaliated by dismissing his critics from office and prosecuted some. The Duke of York recalled him to London, and Andros left New York in January 1681. Captain Anthony Brockholls again became acting governor. Merchants and people on Long Island went on a tax strike for a year or so. The collector of customs, William Dyer, impounded trading goods illegally and was charged with treason. He was sent to England but was exonerated. In March 1682 the Duke indicated he might accept an Assembly. ... (source: Beck)

New Jersey 1664-1744

In June 1664 the Duke of York granted the territory of New Jersey between the Hudson and Delaware rivers to his friends John Berkeley and George Carteret, who were also among the proprietors of Carolina. They chose George's 26-year-old cousin Philip Carteret as governor. Two or three thousand peaceful Lenni-Lenape (Delaware) Indians already lived there along with a few Dutch and Swedish settlers. To attract colonists and promote trade, in February 1665 their Concessions and Agreements offered freedom of religion, a representative assembly with control over taxes, 150 acres each if they came before 1666, and a moratorium on quitrents until 1670. In December 1664 New York governor Nicolls granted land to some Long Islanders who founded Elizabethtown, and they made the final payment to the Indians with four hundred fathoms of white wampum. At a town meeting in February 1666 the settlers had to swear allegiance to Charles II and the proprietors of New Jersey. In April 1665 Nicolls granted the Monmouth patent to eight Quakers and four Baptists for the townships of Middletown and Shrewsbury. They each paid £3 or £4 for 120 acres plus 60 acres for each servant, and they were exempted from taxes for seven years. They held regular town meetings starting in June 1667 at Portland Point. Thirty came from New Haven to found Newark in May 1666, and four men from New Hampshire founded Piscataway in December 1666.

Carteret summoned the first assembly of New Jersey in May 1668, and their first act was to threaten with a fine or corporal punishment anyone who resisted official authority by actions or words. Every adult male had to equip himself with a gun. In November the Governor would not let the delegates meet together with the Council. In 1670 those with grants from Nicolls refused to pay quitrents, and George Carteret's second son James arrived in the summer of 1671 during the turmoil over the quitrents. The proprietor did not authorize their meeting at Elizabethtown in May 1672, and the deputies elected Captain James Carteret as president of the province. The Governor and his Council ordered these nine deputies to submit to his authority, and Philip Carteret left for England in July. The Duke of York instructed Governor Lovelace of New York to support the proprietors of New Jersey and ruled that the two Nicolls grants were void. The proprietors ordered that all quitrents be paid up by 1676. (source: Beck)

After the Dutch capture of New York in 1673, about 2,500 settlers in northern New Jersey had to swear allegiance to the Dutch government. In March 1674 soon after the Dutch returned New Netherland to England, Berkeley sold his proprietary rights in New Jersey to the Quakers Edward Byllynge and John Fenwick. Byllynge was bankrupt, and he let the Quaker trustees William Penn, Gawen Laurie, and Nicholas Lucas manage his affairs. In June 1674 Charles II gave his brother James Stuart a new grant, and the Duke of York only released to Carteret the northeastern half of New Jersey. The proprietor summoned the Assembly again in November 1675, and anyone spreading false news could be fined ten shillings. Capital crimes included false witness, rape, sodomy, smiting parents, and witchcraft, as in New England. In July 1676 in London the territory was formally divided between Carteret, who governed East Jersey, and Penn and the Quakers, who held West Jersey. (source: Beck)

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