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"English America and the Restoration Monarchy of Charles II: Transatlantic Politics, Commerce and Kinship"

by J.M. Sosin

University of Nebraska, 1980

cup of java

I found and read this long before I knew of my ancestors' involvement in these dramas - when I was concentrating on the English Civil War and Restoration, trying to grasp the nature of the society my ancestors had come here from. Now that I know my link to this story - and know that Sosin got "Bollan"'s name wrong - should I doubt his accuracy in other points? No reason to, I think. In any case, reading his narrative helps make sense of the correspondence and council minutes in the Dutch and English archives of colonial New York. Definitely worth reading. And as you will see, his direct style makes the book an effortless read.


These passages are quoted from:

Chapter 7: "The New Proprietaries, 1663-73"

During the years following the Restoration, the English crown exercised little control over the squabbling, petty jurisdictions in New England. Charles II compounded the problem of governing the foreign plantations by allowing still more diverse colonies, provinces not subject to the immediate supervision of the crown, to be formed. The origin of four additional colonies - North and South Carolina, New York, and New Jersey - diverse in their social structure and bizarre in their governmental arrangement, was laid during these years, the result of the king's propensity for rewarding personal favorites - particularly a small coterie associated with his brother, James, duke of York - by granting them special proprietary rights in America. The decision seemed immediately attractive: it offered an opportunity to displace foreign powers and to allow the English to preempt portions of North America claimed by the Dutch and Spaniards. Whatever else the king and his advisers hoped to achieve in Puritan New England, religious toleration for Englishmen in the colonies who did not abuse liberty of conscience to disrupt the peace of the community remained a goal, as evidenced by the charters Charles granted to these proprietors.

.... .... .... .... .... .... (The following 12 pages are concerned with the Carolinas.) .... .... .... .... .... ....

Two of the Carolina proprietors, Sir George Carteret and Lord Berkeley, were involved in another colonial adventure to the north, one growing out of an attempt by Charles II and his ministers in 1664 to eject the Dutch from their holdings in North America. The machinations of the adventurer from Long Island, John Scott, and the rivalry between the Puritans of New England and officials of the Dutch West India trading company at New Netherlands also contributed to still another bizarre experiment in proprietary colonization.

A proprietary was considered a species of property, to be alienated, bought and sold, and divided. In the case of the territory known as New Jersey, the logic of the proprietary colony was carried to an absurd conclusion. The division of the property and the government into first two and ultimately more than one hundred shares, with some proprietors residing in America and others in England and Scotland, produced a preposterous situation.

Scattered between the English colonies on the Chesapeake and the Puritan commonwealths in New England was a mixed, heterogeneous population composed of a few thousand Dutchmen, Swedes, Finns, and Englishmen. By 1664 a handful of small settlements located on the lower Delaware were all that remained of an abortive experiment in colonization by the kingdom of Sweden. It had fallen victim to the more numerous Dutch based on the lower Hudson valley. But New Netherlands, an outpost of the Dutch West India Company, was in turn hard-pressed by the aggressive Puritans of Connecticut and New Haven, bent on annexing Long Island and the Hudson and Delaware valleys.

Weakly supported by the government of the United Provinces of the Netherlands and the Dutch West India Company, the director at New Amsterdam had negotiated with commissioners of the United Colonies of New England a temporary line of demarcation between the English and the Dutch towns on Long Island and the mainland. Repudiating this agreement, by 1663 officials of Connecticut were attempting to extend their jurisdiction. John Scott, possibly aware that the English crown planned to send out a military expedition to take over New Netherlands, had also stirred up the villagers against Dutch rule. The authorities at Hartford moved quickly. Following elections held in May 1664, the General Assembly accepted deputies from Hempstead, Jamaica, Newtown and Flushing and declared Long Island to be one of the offshore, adjoining isles granted to Connecticut by the royal patent obtained by Governor John Winthrop from the king in 1662. Even before the forces sent from England under Colonel Richard Nicolls were actually in possession, Charles II in February 1664 had decided to grant the territory disputed with the Dutch to his brother, James, duke of York, as a proprietary colony.

The charter issued to the duke on 22 March 1663/4 was ambiguous ....[rest of paragraph here omitted].

James himself further confused matters. Shortly after Richard Nicolls and the other royal commissioners departed for America, the royal duke without informing his deputy granted away much of the land he had received from his brother, the territory between the Atlantic and the Delaware River, to two courtiers, Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret. Both men the previous year had been recipients of the royal largesse as members of the Carolina proprietary board. In 1662 Berkeley had purchased for the sum of£3,500 a portion of the lands on Long Island claimed by the earl of Stirling by virtue of a patent issued to his grandfather 31 years before by the defunct Council of Plymouth. Failing to win the king's confirmation of his purchase, Berkeley came to an understanding with James, who promised to pay Stirling the purchase price. The duke, perhaps in an attempt to compensate Berkeley and his associate, on 24 June granted them the territory east of the Delaware River, the region to be known as New Jersey. Both parties assumed - and it was a dubious assumption - that with the grant went the right to govern the property.

Thus was created yet another proprietary arrangement - a system of government and landholding ill suited for stability. In New Jersey it was to lead to a bizarre, even grotesque situation.

In contrast to the other charters issued during this decade, the grant to the duke of York imposed no requirement that the proprietor allow the inhabitants of the colony any voice in formulating the laws under which they lived. The proprietor and the officials he appointed were not required to call an assembly elected by the freeholders. ....[rest of paragraph here omitted].

Nicolls carried out the "conquest" of New Amsterdam with little difficulty. Despite the frigid reception the royal commissioners received in Boston, Governor John Winthrop and the authorities at Hartford amply supported the English expedition against New Netherlands. Governor Peter Stuyvesant was in no position to resist and accepted the terms of a capitulation arranged on 27 August 1664 at Manhattan. After receiving a promise of free trade with the Netherlands, the Dutch capitulated two days later. New Netherlands became New York. But for how long? Nicolls remained at Manhattan to establish proprietary rule, while Maverick and Cartwright set off to tour the New England colonies and Carr went off with a small force to reduce the Dutch on the Delaware.

.... .... [Two paragraphs here omitted.] .... ....

Nicolls's position in New York was precarious. While he was absent to inspect the situation on the Delaware, the soldiers of the garrison at New York, short of provisions and money, had mutinied. As Nicolls saw it, the needs of the duke's government and the garrison at New York must be met if they were to maintain themselves among the Dutch populace. A regular trade with England in appropriate merchandise was also essential to prevent Dutch merchants from Amsterdam dominating the commerce of the province. Nicolls feared the Dutch West India Company and the United Provinces would seek to recapture their lost colony. Of more immediate concern was the situation he found on Long Island. Despite all that he and Clarendon had been told in London - probably by John Scott - there were but fifteen "poor" villages scattered over an island 120 miles in length.

Nicolls had yet to settle with commissioners from Connecticut the conflict over boundaries, to verify land titles in the towns, and to establish laws for the polyglot population of the duke's province. The governor well realized his own limitation in such matters. Appreciating that "a good Lawyer will not leave Westminster Hall and his Golden fees for a little Poltry and Corne," he urged the lord chancellor to send out someone knowledgeable in the laws of England. In the interval he sent out requests to the governments of the other English colonies for transcripts of their legal codes. Thomas Ludwell, secretary of Virginia, in dispatching copies of the statutes of Virginia, warned, however, that some peculiar to the Old Dominion would not be appropriate for New York.

Little material support for Nicolls came from London. Clarendon warned him that a squadron had left the Netherlands to raid the English colonies. The enemy might be expected to strike Barbados and then Virginia before reaching New York. The proprietor himself had spoken with several merchants in London who had promised to send a ship or two with supplies. Until they arrived, the royal duke depended on Nicolls to keep up the spirits and courage of the soldiers and the devotion of the people of the colony.

In view of the war with Holland and the massing of a French force in Canada to invade the country of the Iroquois Indians of New York, Nicolls was dependent on the military support of the New England colonies, particularly Connecticut. .... [Rest of this paragraph plus the next here omitted.] .... ....

The antagonism of the settlers in the English villages made governing difficult for Nicolls. Political practices on Long Island and in the colony in general varied. The greater part of Long Island east from Oyster Bay had once come within the jurisdiction of New Haven and Connecticut. In the towns located in this region the laws and procedures of the Puritan commonwealths had prevailed. Initially Nicolls attempted to placate the disgruntled leaders of these villages, men resentful over the failure to include them in Connecticut. He confirmed the local magistrates in office and promised fair treatment, equal to what was accorded in New England, with no taxes other than those already imposed by Connecticut and New Haven. In February 1665 he requested the townsmen who were rateable in the villages on Long Island and the English in Westchester to elect delegates to attend a meeting at Hempstead, where they could present all the records relating to town boundaries. This was a sensitive issue.

At the sessions held at Hempstead late in February 1665, 34 delegates - only 9 of them Dutch - attended. ...[Material here omitted.] ... Although the proprietor had ordered religious liberty for all Christians, under the code promulgated by Nicolls each town was given the power to levy taxes for the support of a minister acceptable to the majority of ratepayers. This followed the procedure employed in the nearby Puritan provinces. To win support among the residents of the English towns, Nicolls used his power of patronage, appointing to office men from these communities.

The governor also had to provide local government for the Dutch. By the terms of the surrender negotiated with Stuyvesant, Nicolls had promised to continue in office for a time the officials in New Amsterdam. On 13 June 1665 on orders from the proprietor but over the objection of the burgomaster, Oloff van Cortlandt, Nicolls dissolved the old government and incorporated all of Manhattan as an English municipality. Instead of a burgomaster with four schepens and a schout nominated by the council and appointed by the director general of the province, New York City would have a mayor, five aldermen, and a sheriff named by the duke's governor. Nicolls chose the first set of municipal officers without calling on the incumbent Dutch officers for their nominations. Under Stuyvesant only one Englishman had sat on the municipal board; under Nicolls, initially four Englishmen and three Dutchmen held office, but the important posts went to the English.

The locus of power under the duke's regime was New York City, where under Nicolls and his successor after 1667, Colonel Francis Lovelace, a close connection existed between the provincial council and the municipality. The council with few exceptions reflected the dominance of the merchants of the city. Most influential were Mathias Nicolls [in omitted passage, stated to be no relation to Gov. Nicolls], the lawyer appointed secretary of the province; Thomas Delaval, a customs official now raised to the post of receivor general; and Cornelius Steenwick, one of the few substantial merchants among the Dutch inhabitants. Inasmuch as England and the United Provinces were at war three times within the third quarter of the 17th century, the relegation of the Dutch in New York to a lesser role during the administrations of Nicolls and Lovelace was not strange. The English mercantile community in the city during this decade was also prominent, given the failure of New Amsterdam to develop under the Dutch West India Company. The earliest adventurers in the Dutch town had sought profits from the West India trade rather than develop local resources, while officials of the company had viewed the colony merely as an outpost for plundering the Spanish empire. For them New Netherlands had been a place to make a modest fortune before returning to Europe.

The restrictive practices of the Dutch West India Company in Amsterdam had forced out of the transatlantic traffic the traders in the colony; consequently, New Netherlands had failed to develop a sizable class of substantial merchants. There were a few well-to-do Dutch families, the Cortlandts, the Philipses, and the Schuylers. These families along with the family of Stephen Delancey, a Huguenot refugee who arrived from London some years later, were to intermarry and form an elite among the Dutch, but one not divorced from the more recently arrived English.

For some years after the English conquest, Manhattan remained a commercial backwater, giving little promise of the great economic expansion it enjoyed in future decades. Dominated by Boston shipping, it was the home port of relatively few oceangoing vessels. While the Dutch merchants of New Netherlands had begun an export trade in flour, demand had suffered because of uneven quality.

The tradesmen and merchants of the city were often at odds with the settlers elsewhere in the province because of economic and ethnic differences. While the Dutch were in the majority both in New York and Albany, the residents in the northern town made their living primarily from farming and the trade with the Indians in furs. In many sections of Long Island where the English dominated, the townsmen engaged in farming and whaling. They held economic and political grievances against the port and the provincial government centered at New York. The city retained the trading privileges and monopoly rights granted to New Amsterdam during the Dutch regime. It was the staple for the entire province. Goods brought into and shipped from the colony went through this one port.

Opposition to the provincial administration imposed by the proprietary duke was strongest in the Long Island towns previously under the jurisdiction of Connecticut and New Haven. The villagers objected to the oaths required by the proprietor, the failure to grant rights fully equal to those enjoyed in the local communities in New England as Nicolls had once promised, and continued taxation by a provincial government in which the townsmen had no voice. In the spring of 1668 violence flared up in Southampton, Southhold, Easthampton, and other villages. The governor fined some of the offenders, removed constables and undersheriffs who had refused to carry out his orders, and through the court of assizes threatened action against towns whose patents the provincial government had not confirmed. The threat seemed effective, as one by one the towns acquiesced and submitted their patents for confirmation.

During these critical years Nicolls had little support from England. He found himself unable to pay the soldiers of the garrison holding New York or the proprietary officials. Salaries alone came to £ 2,000. The sum of£1,000 granted each year by the royal treasury for the troops was inadequate and payment irregular. Nicolls received little from the duke, who expected to realize profits from his proprietary. The governor contracted over£8,000 in debts to administer the province by the time James yielded to his request to be relieved of his burden. His successor, who arrived in New York in March 1668 was Colonel Francis Lovelace. The new governor too was often left to his own resources. Two and a half years after he arrived in the colony he was forced to apologize to Williamson in Whitehall for not maintaining a frequent correspondence. The uncertainty of ships from England touching at New York made corresponding with royal or proprietary officials uncertain. When Nicolls left New York in August 1668, he sailed for England in a Dutch vessel!

Lovelace faced a chronic problem in meeting expenses. When the court of assizes in November 1669 issued a warrant to the sheriffs to levy a rate of one penny in the pound on all assessed property, the townsmen on Long Island protested sharply. Their complaints included economic matters, chiefly the prices set by the merchants of the metropolis for produce and for imports as well as the monopoly granted New York City as the port facility of the province. ....[Rest of paragraph here omitted].

The favored position enjoyed by New York City only heightened tensions. Nicolls and Lovelace - and Edmund Andros, who succeeded them - sought to stimulate the commercial development of the colony and thus to increase the revenue derived from duties on imports. Upgrading the quality of its agricultural exports - pork, beef, and flour - would stimulate demand in the West Indian markets. To ensure standards, regulations were issued for the slaughter of cattle and hogs, the packing of meat, and the milling of wheat. Butchers, millers, and packers in the city were licenses and their operations inspected. While these and other regulations ultimately enhanced the reputation of produce from the colony and stimulated the provincial export trade, initially they appeared to confer what some considered unfair privileges on the merchants and processors of New York City.

There was little support among the English towns in the province when the proprietary government came under direct threat from outside forces. After only two years, Lovelace, in the face of the problems confronting him, had desired leave to return to England. There were rumors too, according to the Calvert family, that James, dissatisfied with the burden and expense of the colony, was unhappy and might be willing to sell the proprietary.

For some time the proprietor of Maryland had been disputing with the governors of New York over the conquered territories on the lower Delaware River. Lovelace had incorporated the settlement at Newcastle as a bailiwick and had erected courts at Schuylkill and Upland (Chester), but these jurisdictions were challenged by the officials of Maryland. Pending a final decision in London, and it did not come until 1685, the disputed region remained under the duke's officers at New York.

At the outset of English rule at Manhattan the governor of NY had assumed that his jurisdiction extended to all the territory from NY Bay and the Hudson River west to the Delaware, the area subsequently to be known as New Jersey. By the grant from the sovereign, James possessed the property in the soil and the authority to make laws. In an effort to build up the English population, following the capitulation of the Dutch authorities at New Amsterdam, Gov. Richard Nicolls had encouraged settlers, mainly from Eastern Long Island and New England, to take up lands across the bay south and west of NYC. John Bayley and five associates received a grant for what later became Elizabethtown. The associates then disposed of a portion of their grant; one section went to men from Massachusetts who founded Woodbridge, the other to four New Hampshire colonists who established Piscataway. Nicolls also granted the Navesink, or Monmouth Patent, to a group of Baptists and Quakers from New England. They founded Middletown and Shrewsbury. Settlers from New Haven moved in to found Newark Township north of Elizabeth; and the Barbadians, William Sandford, John Berry, John Palmer and Lewis Morris, purchased additional tracts of land. The patents issued by Nicolls, the governor of NY, had allowed a period of grace before quitrents were due. The amount of rent was not stipulated. Presumably it was to be negotiated later.

Unknown to Nicolls in New York, even before the expedition he had led against the Dutch had arrived in America, the duke of York on 24 June 1664 had turned over a portion of his proprietary - an area bounded by the Atlantic and the Hudson on the east and south, the Delaware River on the west - to his associates, Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret. Not until 29 Nov 1664 did James write to inform Nicolls in NY of the transfer. By the time the governor received the news, he had already disposed of some lands in New Jersey. The document from James granting "New Jersey" could convey only the title to the land. Charles II was the sovereign, and his brother had no right to delegate the power to rule, the prerogative of the sovereign. The deed from James could not empower Berkeley and Carteret to exercise governmental authority.

Hoping for income from this windfall, Carteret and Berkeley sought to attract settlers to move to what they considered as their separate proprietary colony. On 10 Feb 1664/5, they issued "The Concessions and Agreement of the Lords Proprietors" of New Jersey, promising that all freemen sworn as subjects of the English king would not be disturbed in religion, provided they behaved peaceably and did not abuse this privilege by licentious behavior or breach of the peace. Under these proprietary concessions the freemen would elect twelve deputies to join with a governor and councilors appointed by the proprietors to form a general assembly empowered to pass laws.

Philip Carteret, a 26-year-old cousin of the proprietor, received a commission as governor. The young Carteret arrived in NY Bay on 29 July 1665 accompanied by two assistants, John Bollan, designated secretary and register, and Robert Vauquellin, surveyor general of New Jersey. It was Bollan who showed Nicolls, the duke's governor at NY, a letter from Berkeley and Carteret announcing the grant from James. Nicolls was dismayed. The duke had granted away, he complained in writing home, an area of land more extensive and valuable than that he had retained. Moreover, the grant was prejudicial to New York. According to Nicolls's sources, John Scott, holding the duke responsible for his failure to obtain a grant and the governorship of Long Island, had contrived to bring Berkeley and Carteret into the scheme to limit the duke's territory in America. Nicolls proposed that Berkeley and Carteret be forced to give up New Jersey and accept an award of 100,000 acres of land on the lower Delaware. Nothing came of Nicolls's suggestion. He left America; Philip Carteret remained.

The governor of New Jersey faced stiff opposition from the deputies elected from Middletown and Shrewsbury. Claiming the privileges in the town grants made them by Nicolls, they declined to take the oath of allegiance to the proprietary government, and the settlers in the various villages refused to pay taxes. The affairs of the proprietary government reached a crisis in the spring of 1672 over the refusal of the New Englanders in Elizabethtown to pay rents. The arrival of Captain James Carteret, the heir of the proprietor, gave the dissidents an opportunity to wrap their opposition to Gov. Philip Carteret in the cloak of legality. Deputies from several of the towns met at Elizabeth on 4 May 1672 and elected James Carteret president of New Jersey. Issuing warrants in the name of the king, he denied the authority of his cousin at Bergen. Philip Carteret with the support of his councilors denounced these proceedings and took the issue to London.

Their mission was successful. Sir George repudiated the actions of his son, and Charles II and his brother supported the proprietors against the claims of the dissident deputies at Elizabethtown that they were immune from the authority of the proprietary regime. To Governor Lovelace of New York James remonstrated that his grant to Carteret and Berkeley predated the patents issued by Nicolls to the New Englanders; consequently, "they are void in law." In a letter to John Berry, the deputy governor appointed by Philip Carteret, Charles II referred to New Jersey as a province "we have granted" to Sir George Carteret and Berkeley, the absolute proprietors. In fact, Charles II had not granted NJ to the two courtiers, but in this letter ordered Berry to call on all persons in the name of the king to obey the government established by them.

The proprietors then moved swiftly to consolidate their position by issuing a supplemental declaration. The governor and council might admit freemen to the colony, but no man was eligible to vote or to sit in the assembly who did not hold lands by patent from the proprietors. While they would not recognize title to property by virtue of any patent granted by Nicolls, the governor of NY, they were ready to hear the complaints of the townsmen if they sent over an agent to London.

By 1672 there was a more immediate threat to proprietary, indeed, to English, rule on the Hudson and the Delaware. War - the third with the Dutch republic in 20 years - had broken out. Two squadrons of ships under Cornelius Evertsen and Jacob Binkes had left the Netherlands to cross the Atlantic. After raiding in the West Indies and along the Chesapeake, the Dutch men-of-war arrived off NY late in August and anchored off Sandy Hook. Dutch farmers who came out to meet the ships complained of abuses under the English and asked to be taken under the government of the States General of the Netherlands. Lovelace was not present, they informed the Dutch commander. He was off in Connecticut conferring with Gov. John Winthrop. Moreover, Fort James was poorly garrisoned and ill equipped to defend the town: only 60 men and 6 guns.

When Evertsen landed 600 troops, all but a few of the inhabitants of the town remained neutral. Having received word of the Dutch force, Lovelace hurried back to NY. On reaching Long Island he tried to turn out the militia of the English towns, but none answered his call. On 2 August the duke's officials surrendered on condition that the small garrison in the fort be allowed to leave. The conquerors then brought all of the territory inhabited by the Dutch on the mainland, Long Island and the Delaware under their control.

The corporate Puritan colonies of New England then intervened, not to assert the rights of the English king or his brother, but to press their own claims. The officials of CT again asserted their right to the towns on the eastern end of Long Island, and the General Court of Massachusetts ordered its territory extended west to the Hudson River."

....

END OF QUOTATION

Sosin has "John Bollan" for James Bollen/Bullen. And James was in America before Carteret arrived, but it was he who showed the letter to Nicolls, as Nicolls himself related in his letter of protest. JAMES appears in NJ records 28 Oct 1664 as a witness to the delivery of wampum for Elizabethtown.


While I've chosen to quote sections on New York, this book has especially interesting material on New England. In fact, it should interest anyone wanting to know about the colonies in these years. Although it is out of print,


A couple of my (and your?) ancestors in this history: James Bollen and Robert Vauquellin.

Records of New Amsterdam [NY], 1653-1674 Vol. 1-7tracking

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The Barbary voyage of 1638,: Now first printed from the original manuscript of Sir George Carteret in the possession of Boies Penrosetracking

Fort Orange Records, 1656-1678 (New Netherland Documents.)tracking

Fort Orange Court Minutes: 1652-1660 (New Netherland Project)tracking

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