New York And East New Jersey
Population.—Economically and socially New York and East New Jersey were closely related. At the end of the Andros régime the population of New York was probably 18,000, and that of East New Jersey about 10,000. More than half of the New Yorkers were Dutch. The rest were mainly English, but there were some Huguenots and a few Jews. The settled area covered almost all of Long Island and the Hudson Valley to a point a few miles north of Albany. Most of the population of East New Jersey was along the coast opposite New York harbor. The English predominated, but there was a sprinkling of Dutch, Scotch, and Huguenots.
Industry in New York.—During the first decades of the Dutch occupation of the Hudson Valley the fur trade had been almost the only business, but after 1638 many settlers came who began general farming. Lumbering also developed. The general lines of industry thus begun were carried on after the English occupation. The fur trade was greatly stimulated by Dongan and it was probably the chief source of wealth in the colony. Population increased slowly. The advantageous position of New York attracted shipping, and the merchants developed a commerce with the West Indies and the Dutch possessions in the Caribbean to which were shipped bread stuffs, pease, meat, and horses. The returning vessels brought wine, rum, molasses, and various tropical products. To England the New Yorkers shipped furs, oil, and naval supplies in return for manufactured goods.
Settled areas in the Middle Colonies about 1700.
A contemporary description of New York.—Governor Dongan wrote concerning the province in 1687: "The principal towns within the Govermt are New York Albany & Kingston at Esopus. All the rest are country villages. The buildings in New York & Albany are generally of stone & brick. In the country the houses are mostly new built, having two or three rooms on a floor. The Dutch are great improvers of land. New York and Albany live wholly upon trade with the Indians England and the West Indies.... I believe for these 7 years last past, there has not come over into this province twenty English Scotch or Irish familys. But on the contrary on Settled Areas in the Middle Colonies Long Island the people about 1700 encrease soe fast that they complain for want of land and many remove from thence into the neighboring province."
Religion and education in New York.—Regarding religion Dongan wrote. "Every Town ought to have a Minister. New York has first a Chaplain belonging to the Fort of the Church of England; secondly, a Dutch Calvinist; thirdly a French Calvinist; fourthly a Dutch Lutheran—Here bee not many of the Church of England; few Roman Catholicks; abundance of Quakers preachers men & Women especially; Singing Quakers, Ranting Quakers, Sabbatarians; anti-sabbatarians; Some Anabaptists some Independents; some Jews; in short of all sorts of opinions there are some, and the most part of none at all.... The most prevailing opinion is that of the Dutch Calvinists." This description applied to religious conditions in New York City, then as now a cosmopolitan place. On Long Island, where New Englanders were predominant, the Congregational church held sway, while in the Hudson Valley, where most of the settlers were Dutch, the Dutch Reformed church was in the ascendency. The Dutch had maintained elementary schools, but when the English occupied the country, most of the school-masters left, and little was done by the authorities to stimulate education. Such schools as existed were established by the local communities.
Large estates.—During the Dutch régime many large estates had been created, the most important being the patroonship of Van Rensselaer about Albany. Although the other patroons had surrendered their rights, the Dutch governors, officials, and merchants had acquired vast estates, which continued in their families after the English occupation. The English governors followed the example, and several large holdings were created, the most famous of these being the Livingston manor on the east bank of the Hudson below the Van Rensselaer tract.
Conditions in East New Jersey.—The people of East New Jersey came mainly from New England and Long Island, and they built up a miniature New England, each village being an entity surrounded by tributary farm lands. Garden truck, fish, oysters, and fruits were the principal products. The proprietors hoped to develop commerce, but the Duke of York's restrictions throttled it, and East New Jersey was forced into the position of a supply station for New York. Gawen Laurie, the deputy-governor, described conditions as follows in 1684: "There is great plenty of oysters, fish, fowl; pork is two pennies the pound, beef and venison one penny the pound, a whole fat buck for five or six shillings; Indian corn for two shillings and six pence per bushel, oats twenty pence, and barley two shillings per bushel: We have good brick earth, and stones for building at Amboy, and elsewhere: The country farm houses are built very cheap: A carpenter, with a man's own servants, builds the house; they have all materials for nothing, except nails, their chimnies are of stones; they make their own ploughs and carts for the most part, only the iron work is very dear: The poor sort set up a house of two or three rooms themselves, after this manner; the walls are of cloven timber, about eight or ten inches broad, like planks, set one end to the ground, and the other nailed to the raising, which they plaster within; they build a barn after the same manner, and these cost not above five pounds a piece; and then to work they go: Two or three men in one year will clear fifty acres, in some places sixty, and in some more: They sow corn the first year, and afterwards maintain themselves; and the increase of corn, cows, horses, hogs and sheep comes to the landlord;... the servants work not so much by a third as they do in England, and I think feed much better; for they have beef, pork, bacon, pudding, milk, butter and good beer and cyder for drink; when they are out of their time, they have land for themselves, and generally turn farmers for themselves."
Religion and education in East New Jersey.—Another letter of the same date says: "There be people of several sorts of religions, but few very zealous; the people, being mostly New-England men, do mostly incline to their way; and in every town there is a meeting-house, where they worship publickly every week: They have no publick laws in the country for maintaining publick teachers, but the towns that have them, make way within themselves to maintain them; we know none that have a settled preacher, that follows no other employment, save one town, Newark."
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