The period of the later Stuarts was remarkable for colonial expansion. New Netherlands was acquired, the Jerseys, Pennsylvania, and the Carolinas were founded, the Hudson's Bay Fur Company was formed, and new settlements were made in the West Indies.
Causes of the attack upon the Dutch.—In 1664 New Netherlands was seized. This was not an isolated event but was a part of a general plan to weaken Dutch power. England had three main objects: to cripple the Dutch carrying trade, to get control of the slave trade, and to obtain New Netherlands, an acquisition which would give geographical unity to the colonies on the Atlantic seaboard. The navigation acts were weapons against the carrying trade. The African Company was organized to strike at the slave trade.
The African Company.—During the first half of the seventeenth century, the Dutch had obtained a monopoly of the trade in slaves to the Spanish and Portuguese colonies in America. To break this monopoly the African Company was formed in 1660, headed by the Duke of York. During the next two years the Dutch vigorously opposed the English Company, soon convincing its officers that it must be organized on a larger scale if it would succeed. In 1663 the Company of Royal Adventurers trading to Africa was organized, being granted the coast from Sallee to the Cape of Good Hope. Vessels sent to the African coast encountered such opposition that in 1664 a squadron was sent to protect them and succeeded in capturing several Dutch forts, but Admiral DeRuyter soon recaptured them.
Seizure of New Netherlands, 1664.—At the same time England prepared to seize New Netherlands, a territory which she had always claimed. The king granted to the Duke of York the northern part of Maine, Long Island, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and New Netherlands. The Duke in turn granted the Jerseys to Carteret and Lord Berkeley. A royal commission was despatched to America with three war vessels and several hundred men. At Boston the expedition was reinforced and then proceeded to New Amsterdam, which surrendered without a struggle. One member of the commission went to the Delaware and took possession. In the Treaty of Breda (1667) the English were given important slave trading privileges, their conquests between the Hudson and the Delaware were confirmed, and Lord Willoughby's colony of Surinam was ceded to the Dutch, who had captured it in the course of the recent war.
Administration of Nicolls.—Nicolls was made governor and his administration was conducted with tact and firmness. In dealing with Connecticut he insisted upon the Duke's right to Long Island. In New Netherlands several Dutch place names were changed, New Amsterdam becoming New York, and Ft. Orange, Albany. The right of property was not disturbed; judicial districts were organized; and to New York City he granted a charter which provided for a mayor, aldermen, and sheriff, whom he appointed. Nicolls drew up a code, known as the Duke's Laws, which was a combination of portions of the codes of Massachusetts and New Haven, Dutch customs, and original ideas. Religious toleration was allowed, and landholding was made the basis for voting. The lack of a representative assembly was a noticeable feature, which led to discord when taxes were demanded.
Representative government demanded.—Lovelace became governor in 1668, and during his administration of five years friction increased, but he managed to maintain his authority. In 1673 when war broke out between England and Holland, New York was captured by the Dutch, but the following year it was restored to the English. Edmund Andros was then appointed governor. He informed the proprietor of the desire for a representative assembly, but James stubbornly refused. In 1681, when James neglected to renew the customs duties, the merchants refused to pay them. Because of the resulting loss of revenue Andros was ordered to England, and during his absence the disaffection greatly increased. Thomas Dongan was appointed governor in 1682. He was instructed to call a representative assembly to advise the governor and council regarding taxation and law making. In October, 1683, seventeen representatives met at New York and drew up a Charter of Franchises and Liberties. This was sent to the Duke, who signed it, but when he became king he rejected it.
Dongan's administration.—Dongan administered the province of New York with marked ability. He granted a new charter to New York City by which the mayor, recorder, and sheriff were appointed by the governor, and the aldermen were popularly elected. He maintained the boundaries of the province against the claims of Penn on the west and Connecticut on the east. In 1684 he made a treaty with the Iroquois, and henceforth they sided with the English in the great international struggle for trade and territory.
Leisler's rebellion.—When James II attempted to consolidate all of the northern provinces under one head New York was included. But when the king was overthrown, Jacob Leisler led a rebellion and drove out Nicholson, the royal representative. Leisler summoned a convention which gave him dictatorial powers. He maintained authority until 1691, when Henry Sloughter arrived as governor. Leisler surrendered, but was tried and hanged.
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