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were never enforced, and were by some colonies openly disregarded.
In its relations towards Canada, New York shared the strong passion for conquest which gradually extended to all the colonies. In its internal affairs, bordering on Puritan New England, it is the most northern colony that admitted by enactment the partial establishment of the Anglican Church. The time bad passed when religious sects constituted the forms under which political questions were discussed. The Presbyterians had never had dominion in New York, but had originally introduced themselves under compacts with the Dutch government. The original settlers from Holland were Calvinists, yet with a church organization far less popular than the system of New England, and having many points of sympathy with the ecclesiastical polity of episcopacy. During the ascendancy of the Dutch, the established authority of their church had often been asserted in an exclusive spirit; when the colony became English, the conquest was made by men devoted to the English throne and the English church, and the influence of churchmen was at once predominant in the council. The idea of toleration was still imperfect in New Netherlands ; equality among religious sects was unknown. It is not strange, therefore, that the efforts of Fletcher to privilege the English church were partially successful. The house framed a bill, in which they established certain churches and ministers, reserving also the right of presentation to the vestrymen and churchwardens. The governor interpreted the act by limiting its meaning to the English service, and framed an amendment, giving the right of presentation to the representative of the crown. The assembly asserted it for the people, rejecting the amendment. “Then I must tell you," retorted Fletcher, this “seems very unmannerly. There never was an amendment desired by the councilboard but what was rejected. It is a sign of a stubborn ill-temper. I have the power of collating or suspending any minister in my government by their majesties' letters patent; and, whilst I stay in this government, I will take care that neither heresy, schism, or rebellion, be preached among you, nor vice and profanity encouraged. You seem to take the whole power into your hands, and set up for everything."
The " stubborn temper” of the house was immovable ; and, two years afterwards, that the act might not be construed too narrowly, it was declared that the vestrymen and churchwardens of the church established in New York might call a dissenting Protestant minister. Not a tenth part of the population of that day adhered to the Episcopal church; the public spirit demanded toleration; and if, on the one hand, the English church succeeded in engrossing the provision made by the ministry acts, on the other, the dissenters were wakened to jealousy, lest the Episcopal party, deriving countenance from England, might nourish a lust for dominion.
The differences were tranquillized in the short administration of the kindlier earl of Bellamont, an Irish peer, with a sound heart and honourable sympathies for popular freedom. He arrived in New York after the peace of Ryswick, with a commission extending to the borders of
- Canada, including all the northern British possessions, 1698.
90. except Connecticut and Rhode Island. In New York, Lord Bellamont, who had served on the committee of parliament to inquire into the trials of Leisler and Milborne, was indifferent to the little oligarchy of the royal council, of which he reproved the vices and resisted the selfishness. The memory of the wrongs of Leisler was revived ; and the assembly, by an appropriation of its own in favour of his family, confirmed the judgment of the English parliament.
The enforcement of the acts of trade, which had been violated by the connivance of men appointed to execute them; the suppression of piracy, which, as the turbulent offspring of long wars and of the false principles of the commercial systems of that age, infested every sea from America to China, were the great purposes of Bellamont; yet for both he accomplished little. The acts of trade, despotic in their nature, contradicting the rights of humanity, were evaded everywhere; but in New York, a city, in part, of aliens, owing allegiance to England, without the bonds of common history, kindred, and tongue, they were disregarded without scruple. No voice of conscience declared their violation a moral offence ; respect for them was but a calculation of chances. In the attempt to suppress piracy, the prospect of infinite booty to be recovered from pirates, or to be won from the enemies of England, had gained from the king and the Admiralty a commission for William Kidd, and had deluded Bellamont into a partnership in a private expedition. Failing in his hopes of opulence, Kidd found his way as a pirate to the gallows. In the House of Commons the transaction provoked inquiry, and hardly escaped censure.
On questions of finance, the popularity of Bellamont prevented collision by an honest promise, “I will pocket none of the public money myself, nor shall there be any embezzlement by others; -and the necessity of the promise is the strongest commentary upon the character of his predecessors. The confiding House of Representatives voted a revenue for six years, and placed it, as before, at the disposition of the governor. His death interrupted the short period of harmony in the colony; and, happily for New York, Lord Cornbury, his successor, had every vice of character necessary to discipline a colony into selfreliance and resistance.
Of the same family with the queen of England; brotherin-law to a king, whose service he had betrayed; the grandson of a prime minister; himself heir to an earldom, -Lord Cornbury, destitute of the virtues of the aristocracy, illustrated the worst form of its arrogance, joined to intel. lectual imbecility. Of the sagacity of the common mind, of its firmness, he knew nothing; of political power he had no conception, except as it emanates from the self-will of a superior ; to him popular rights existed only as a condescension. Educated at Geneva, he yet loved episcopacy, as a religion of state subordinate to executive power. And now, at about forty years of age, with self-will and the pride of rank for his counsellors, without fixed principles, without perception of political truth, he stood among the plebeians of New Jersey and the mixed people of New York as their governor. ... The royalists anticipated his arrival with the incense 1702. of flattery; and the hospitality of the colony, which was not yet provoked to defiance, elected a House of Assembly disposed to confide in the integrity of one who had been represented as a friend to Presbyterians. The expenses of his voyage were compensated by a grant of two thousand pounds, and an annual revenue for the public service provided for a period of seven years. In April, 1703, a further grant was made of fifteen hundred pounds to fortify the Narrows, “ and for no other use whatever.” But should Lord Cornbury regard the limitations of a provin. cial assembly? The money, by his warrant, disappeared
from the treasury, while the Narrowswere still defenceless ; and the assembly, awakened to distrust, by addresses to
the governor and the queen, solicit a treasurer of its 1703. own appointment.
The general revenue had been fixed for a period of years ; no new appropriations could be extorted ; and, heedless of ... menaces or solicitation, the representatives of the 1704. people asserted “the rights of the house." Lord Cornbury expressed his whole character as a statesman in his answer : " I know of no right that you have as an assembly, but such as the queen is pleased to allow you."
The firmness of the assembly won its first victory ; 10. for the queen permitted specific appropriations of incidental grants of money, and the appointment by the general assembly of its own treasurer to take charge of extraordinary supplies.
In affairs relating to religion, Lord Cornbury was equally imperious, disputing generally the right of either minister or schoolmaster to exercise his vocation without his license. The question of the freedom of the pulpit no longer included the whole question of intellectual freedom; the victory for toleration had been won; and the spirit of political freedom found its organin the provincial legislature. The captious reference to the standing instructions in favour of the English church, sometimes encouraging arbitrary acts of power in its behalf, and always tending to bias every question in its favour, led only to acts of petty tyranny, useless to English interests, and benefiting the people by compelling their active vigilance. The power of the people redressed the griefs. If Francis Makemie, a Presbyterian, was indicted for preaching without a license from the governor; if the chief justice advised a special verdict,--the jury, composed, it is said, of Episcopalians, constituted themselves the judges of the law, and readily agreed on an acquittal. In like manner, at Jamaica, the church, which the whole town had erected, was, by the connivance of Lord Cornbury, reserved exclusively for the Episcopalians-an injustice which was afterwards reversed in the colonial courts.
Twice had Lord Cornbury dissolved the assembly. ". The third which he convened proved how rapidly the political education of the people had advanced. Dutch, English, and New England men, were all of one spirit. The rights of the people, with regard to taxation, to courts of law, to officers of the crown, were asserted with an energy to which the governor could offer no resistance. Without presence of mind, subdued by the colonial legislature, and now appearing dispirited as he was indigent, he submitted to the ignominy of reproof, and thanked the assembly for the simplest act of justice.
Shall we glance at his career in New Jersey ? There are the same demands for money, and a still more wary m refusal ; representatives, elected by a majority of 1704 votes, excluded by the governor; assemblies convened, and angrily dissolved. At last, necessity compels a third assembly, and among its members are Samuel Jennings and Lewis Morris. The latter was of a liberal mind, yet having no fixed system; intrepid, but not exclusive. The former, elected speaker of the assembly, was a true Quaker, of a hasty yet benevolent temper, faithful in his affections, “ stiff and impracticable in politics." These are they whom Lord Cornbury describes * as capable of anything but good ;" whom Quarry and other subservient counsellors accuse as “turbulent and disloyal," "encouraging the governments in America to throw off the royal prerogative, declaring openly that the royal instructions bind no further than they are warranted by law." The assembly, according to the usage of that day, wait on the governor
with their remonstrance. The Quaker speaker reads 70% it for them most audibly. It charges Lord Cornbury with accepting bribes; it deals sharply with “his new methods of government,” his “encroachment” on the popular liberties by “ assuming a negative voice to the freeholders' election of their representatives ;" “ they have neither heads, hearts, nor souls, that are not forward with their utmost power lawfully to redress the miseries of their country.”—“Stop!” exclaimed Lord Cornbury, as the undaunted Quaker delivered the remonstrance; and Jennings meekly and distinctly repeated the charges, with greater emphasis than before. What could Lord Cornbury do P Heattempted toretort, charging the Quakers with disloyalty and faction; and they answered in the words of Nehemiah to Sanballat, “ There is no such thing done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart.” And they left, for the instruction of future governors, this weighty truth :-"To engage the affections of the people, no artifice is needful, but to let them be unmolested in the enjoyment of what belongs to them of right.”