Among the principal acts passed at this session, there was one
for indemnifying those who were excepted out of the general
pardon, in 1691 ; another against pirates ; and one to raise fifteen
hundred pounds, as a present to his Lordship, and five hundred
pounds for the lieutenant-governor Mr, Nanfan.
A law was also made for the regulation of elections. It requi-
red that the electors should be resident, and possessed of freeholds
of the value of forty pounds, or upwards. It was likewise voted,
that the post office in the city of New- York, should be continued
two years longer.
This assembly took also into consideration, sundry extravagant
grants of land, which colonel Fletcher had made to several of his
Among these four grants, two to Dellius the Dutch minister at
Albany, one to Nicholas Bayard, and one to Captain John Evans,
were the most considerable. Dellius was one of the commissioners
for Agoneasean affairs, and had fradulently obtained Agoneasean
deeds, according to which, the patents had been granted. One of
these lay on the east side of the Hudson, and extended northerly
seventv miles, and had a breadth of twelve miles. It commenced
on the northernmost boundary of Saratoga, and stretched north-
wardly to the rock Rossian.* The rent reserved to the crown on
this enormous grant, was one hundred raccoon skins per annum.
* At this period, ths country on both sides of the Hudson was called Sara-
412 HISTORY OF THE
A second to the said Dellius, and to Messrs. Pinhorn and Bank-
er, was on tlie Mohawk river. It began above a place then called
Orakkee, and from a place named by the Agoneaseah, Owendiere,
and ran vvestwardly along that river, to a place denominated Arach-
Sochne, fifty miles. It had a breadth of four miles, two being on
each side of the river. The annual rent reserved, was five beaver
skins. Dellius spoke the Huron language, and occasionally
preached to the people living in the Mohawk canton.
The third grant was made to colonel Nicholas Bayard. [It com-
menced at the mouth of Schoharie creek, and extended from the
Agoneasean fields, then called Icanderago, but since fort Hunter, to
the head of the creek's first springs, at or near the hill then known
by the name of Kanjearagore, which we suppose to be the Kaats-
kill mountains. The two extremities then, were Icanderago, or
the flats at fort Hunter and Kanjearagore or the Kaatskill mountains
at the head of the creek. l"he breadth of this grant is not speci-
fied : we presume, however, that it embraced all the country from
whence the Schoharie and its confluents derive their waters. Our
induction or jjresumption is founded on the consideration that the
heads of streams, among the Agoneaseah, Moheakanneevvs, and
other American nations, were often deemed boundaries, and that
from the difliculty in always determining these with accuracy, the
source of many of their wars may be traced.
This extensive grant was erected into a lordship or manor called
Kingsfield. It had no civilized inhabitants. Two of the Mohawk
clans, to wit : the Icanderagoes and Schoharies occupied it. The
sonorous names of Icanderago and Kanjearagore have given place
to Fort Hunter and Kaatskill. It is much to be regretted that the
names of ancient places have been changed ; and that others which
have no meaning, or what is worse than no meaning, have been
substituted. The name of a little block-house and stockade fort .
has supplanted that of Icanderago. But why should we find fault
with those who lived a century ago, for doing what is every year's
practice in our own times .^ England, Germany, Turkey, and Hin-
dostan, are ransacked for names.
toga. Thf> rock Rossian is in Willsborough, Essex county, and is now called
STATE OF NEW- YORK. 4 1 fi
The fourth grant was made to capt. John Evans. It lay on the
west side of the Hudson. It began at a place called False, and
extended southerly along the river to the Mohickander lands, at
Murderer's kill, in Orange county, and thence westerly to the foot
of the high hills called Pitkiskaker and Aiaskatvasting, (now Sha-
wangunk mountain,) and thence southerly, all along the said hills,
and the river Peakadasand (now Shawangunk river,) to a water
pond lying upon the said hills, named Marchary, comprehending
all those lands, meadows, and woods denominated Nescotonck,
Chawangen, Memorasink,Kacogh, Getawan, Annuck, and Gillata-
Such were the exorbitant grants. There were several others of
less extent. All these grants were vacated at the instance of Lord
Bellamont, on the ground that they would impede the settlement
of the country, and tend to estrange the Agoneaseah and Mohick-
The act of vacation provided that no governor should thereafter
demise or grant any lands for a longer period than he should
be in office. Before this the governors had authority to make un-
limited grants. Wise as the provision was, the colonial governors,
and, after them, the state governors, devised means of evading it.
Hence all the public lands have been trifled away and have fallen
into the hands of a few favourites, a few speculators, and some
governmental servants, who have either leased or sold them out
to actual settlers, or still hold them.
This has retarded the population of the state. Now, emigrants
pass through the state, to Ohio, Michigan, and Canada, where lands
can be had on liberal terms.
A law was enacted by the legislature, at this session, against Je-
suits and popish priests, which savoured very strong of the bigotry
of the times.
The act required all Jesuits, and popish priests to leave the pro-
vince by the first day of November, in the same year, under the
penalty of perpetual imprisonment, and death in case they attemp-
ted to break prison. It authorised the justices of the peace to ap-
prehend such persons as were suspected without warrant, process,
or information. It also gave rewards. The preamble is a curiosity
414 HISTORY OF THE
in legislation, and reminds us of the preamble to the act'establishing
a hierarchy in the city and county of New- York, &c. to the mani-
fest detriment of dissenters and the public. It is in these words :
" Whereas divers Jesuits and popish missionaries have of late come,
and for some lime have had their residence in the remote parts of
this province, and others his majesty's adjacent colonies, who by
their wicked and subtle insinuations industriously'labour to debauch,
seduce, and withdraw the Indians, from their due obedience unto his
most sacred majesty, and to excite and stir them up to sedition,
rebellion, and open hostility against his majesty's government : For
prevention whereof," <fcc.
In vain might such legislators declaim against the illiberal policy
which created the Romish inquisition : the better informed part of
mankind will consider both as having emanated from the same pol-
luted source. Every country has had its fanatics, its bigots and
persecutors. If Roman catholicks have been illiberal and have
departed from generous legislation : — we have an instance in the
case before us of a set of protestants, armed with power, being
At this time the French maintained some Jesuits and missionaries
among the Agoneaseah an independent nation. This gave umbrage
to the government, and origin to the law. The English government
pretended to jurisdiction over this people, and claimed them as
subjects. The Agoneaseah have preserved their freedom and inde-
pendence to this day ; they have never acknowledged an extrane-
ous domination ; they are still as free as the air they breathe.
They had the right to receive and entertain the French missiona-
ries or those of any other nation.
In the month of August, in the year 1700, one thousand pounds
were voted to build a fort at Onondaga. No fort, however, was
ever built. The Onondagas, as well as tl.e other Agoneasean can-
tons, had concluded peace with the French, and they did not in-
cline to have them, or the English, erect fortifications in their coun-
try. They viewed these establishments as steps towards depriving
them of their rights and liberties.
On the 29th of October, in the same year, a law was made de-
STATE OF NEW- YORK. 415
daring the town of East Chester, in the county of Westchester, a
distinct parish forever from the town of Westchester ; provided
that the inhabitants should maintain a good, orthodox, protestant
minister, (a minister of the church of England.) By the very pro-
vision of the act, the town reverted again to Westchester, whenever
the inhabhants failed in a compliance. We have noticed this act
merely because it is an anomally in legislation.
The earl of Bellamont died on the 6th of March, 1701. He
seems to have been a man of art, and some talents, but he was
strongly tinctured with prejudice and fanaticism, the common fail-
ings of the age.
John Nanfan, the lieutenant-governor, succeeded him.
The British crown gave two thousand pounds for the defence of
Albany and Schenectady, and five hundred pounds for erecting a
fort in Onondaga. Not long after, an ordinance was issued for
creating a Court of Chancery, which was to sit once a month.
The powers of the chancellor were vested in the governor and
council, or any two of that board. Masters, clerks, and a register
Great were the struggles, at the ensuing election, between the
Leislerians and the Anti-Leislerians, but the former prevailed.
The Assembly convened on the I9th of August, 1701. The
fire of contention, which had lately appeared in the tumultuous
elections, blazed out afresh in the house.* A Mr. NicoU and a
Mr. Wessels were excluded by ]\Ir. Nanfan. This occasioned a
secession of seven members.
Among the opposers of Leisler there was a Mr. Livingston. The
measures of the convention, at Albany, had been very much direc-
ted by his advice, and he was now obnoxious to his adversaries, not
only on these accounts but because he was a man of sense and re-
solution, two qualifications rarely to be found united in one person
at that day. His intimacy with the late earl had till that time been
liis defence against the rage of the party which he had formerly
opposed. They were, therefore, now bent upon his destruction.
Several charges were made against him which were false ; and it
was proposed to pass a law to con6scate his estate. One of the
Smith's Hist, of N.T.
416 HISTORY OF THE
charges was his refusins; to account for monies received as com-
missioner of excise. He could not account because his opponents
had, previous to making the charge, drawn out of his hands the
books and vouchers, which they declined allowing him access to.
The news of the appoinment of Lord Cornbury, so strongly
animated the hopes of the Anti-Leislerians, that about the comence-
ment of the year 1702, one Nicholas Bayard, a violent partizan,
promoted several addresses to the king, the parliament, and Lord
Cornbury. In that to his Majesty, he assured him, " that the
late differences were not grounded on a regard to his ijiterest ; but
the corrupt designs of those who laid hold on an o]>}5ortunity to en-
rich themselves, by the spoils of tlieir neighbours. The petition
to the parliament, says, that Leisler and his adherents gained the
fort at the revolution without any opposition ; that he oppressed and
imprisoned the people without cause, plundered them of their goods,
and compelled them to flee their country, thougii they were well
affected to the prince of Orange. That the Earl of Bellamont
appointed indigent sheriffs, who returned such members to the as-
sembly, as were unduly elected, and in his Lordship's esteem.
That he suspended many from the board of council, who were
faithful servants to the crown, introducing his own tools in their
stead. Nay, they denied the authority of the late assemby, and
added, that the house had bribed both the lieutenant-governor, and
the chief justice ; the one to pass the bills, and the other to defend
ihe legality of their proceedings. A third address was prepared to
be presented to Lord Cornbury, to congratulate him on his arrival,
as well as to possess him in their favour, as to prejudice him against
the opposite party.
Nothing could have had a more natural tendency to excite the
wrath of the lieutenant-governor, and the revenge of the council
and assembly, than the reflections contained in these addresses.
Nanfan had no sooner received intelligence of them, than he sum-
moned one llutchins, an alderman and inn keeper, who had these
addresses, to deliver them up to him, and upon his refusal commit-
ted him to jail, on the 19ih of January. The next day, Messrs.
Bayard, Van Dam, French, and VVenham, hot with party zeal,
sent an impertinent note to the lieutenant-governor, boldly justifying
STATE OF NEW- YORK 41 Y^
the legality of the address, and demanding his discharge out of pri-
son. Mr. Nanfan, under the shadow of a law, passed in 1691,
and which this very Bayard, had been instrumental in getting en-
acted, to bear upon the adherents of Leisler, committed him now
to jail as a traitor, and lest the mob should interpose, placed a com-
pany, of soldiers at the prison to prevent it. We shall not recite
the i'i.l; Ijt't content ourselves with observing, that it gave the
governor no power to commit.
The framers of the law, no doubt supposed at the time they made
' it, and while they were in power, that it gave them the same powers
as were now taken. The framers, and interpreters of arbitrary
laws, ought to be considerate ; for they do not know but what they
may come under their baleful influence.
Parties, hke the waves of the ocean, are up and down, and what
may suit those in authority, may not when divested of it. Here
Bayard complained of its injustice, and justly, and so had others,
on whom he and his partizans hrd brought it to act.
Nanfan issued a commi. 'on on the 12th of February, to try
Bayard, who shortly after v/as arraigned, tried, and convicted of
high treason, and sentenced to death. Several reasons were offer-
ed in arrest of judgment ; but the prisoner was in the hands of an
enraged party, and Aiwood overruled them, [i^^y
Bayard applied to tiie lieutenant-governor for a reprieve, till his
majesty's pleasure rnight be known ; and obtained it rol without
great difficulty. Several others were also convicted. He was re-
leased by Lord Cornbury, and an act reversing his attainder,
After these trials, Nanfan erected a court of exchequer, and again
convened the assembly, who thanked him for his late measures,
and passed an act to oudaw Philip French, and Thomas VVenham,
who had absconded upon Bayard's commitment.
Lord Cornbury began his [administration on the third of May,
1702. He was in very indigent circumstances, and hunted out of
England by a host of hungry creditors. Naturally a prodigal, and
very avaricious, he determined to squeeze all the money he could
Smith's Hist, of N.Y.
VOL. u. 54
418 HISTOUY OF THE
out of the purses of an impoverished people. His talents were not
superior to those of the most inconsiderable of his predecessors.
In spiritual concerns, he was a great promoter of the hierarchy. His
Lordship, without the least disguise, espoused the Anti-Leislerian
party, upon which, the chief justice, and some others, thought pro-
per to retire from his frowns.
On the seventh of Nov(>mber. the house voted one thousand eight
hundred pounds, for paying and subsisting one hundred and fifty
fuziieers, for five months, and for thirty men, to be employed as
scouts for sixty-two days.
An act for destroying wolves in the province was passed. At
tliis time, the counties of Richmond and Westchester, which had been
settled upwards of seventy years, were still infested with these
On the 27th of November, an act for the encouragement of a
grammar, or free school, in the city of New- York, went into a law.
This appears to have been the first legislative step, taken to pro-
mote literature in the colony.
The act whereby a post office had been erected in New-York,
was extended for four years and a half, to be computed from April,
1700 J and some regulations were made, in order to enforce its
From the tenor of the act, we are induced to believe, that it
was an unpopular establishment in its inception, and for some time
In the course of this year, some of our people advanced up the
river Mohawk, as far as Caughnawaga, and seated themselves on
the lands which the Caughnawagas had formerly occupied.
Anterior to this, the Caughnawagas, who were a clan of the
Mohawks, had emigrated 'to Canada at 'the solicitations of the
French. The reader will recollect, that in the conflagration of
Schenectady, in the month of February, 1090, some of this clan
accompanied the French in their hibernal expedition.
The summer after his Lordship's arrival, was rem-arkable for an
uncommon mortality, which prevailed in the city of New- York,
and makes an epoch among its irihabitants, distinguished by the
" (line ofthr.grcnl sickness.'^ The fev(M- was brought in a vessel,
STATE OF NEW-YORK. 419
from the island of St. Thomas h the West Indies. Hitherto, no
quarantine had been established. This fever, which in all joroba-
bility, was the yellow fever, which in our time, has on several oc-
casions ravaged the city, proved fatal in almost every instance.
The sickness induced Lord Cornbury to change his residence to
Jamaica, a village' on Long Island, distant about twelve miles fiom
The Inhabitants of Jamaica, consisted at that time partly of the
original Dutch planters ; but nicsily of New England emigrants,
encouraged to settle there after the surrender, by the duke of
York's conditions for plantations, one of which was in these words :
" That every township should be obliged to pay tlieir own minis-
ters, according to such agreements as they should make with them ;
the minister being elected by tb.e major part of the house-holders,
and inhabitants of the town. These people had erected an edifice
for the worship of God, and enjoyed a handsom.e donation of a
parsonage house, and glebe, for the use of their minister. After
the ministry act was passed by colonel Fletcher, in 1G93, a hw
episcopalians crept into the town, and viewed the presbyterian
church with a jealous eye. The town vote, iu virtue of which, the
building had been erected, contained no clause to prevent its being
hereafter engrossed by any other sect, The episcopal party who
knew this, formed a design of seizing the edifice for themselves,
which they shortly after carried into execution, by entering the
church between the morning and evening service, while the pres-
byterian minister and his congregation were in perfect security, and
unsuspicious of the zeal of their adversaries, and of a fradulent
ejectment, on a day consecrated to sacred rest.
Great outrage ensued among the people, for the contention which
was pro ai'is etfoch; was animating and important. The, original
proprietors of the house, tore up their seats, and afterwards got the
keys, and the possession of the church, which was shortly after
taken from them by force, and violence. In these controversies,
the governor abetted the episcopal zealots, and harrassed the others
by numberless prosecutions, heavy fines, and long imprisonments ;
420 HISTORY OF THE
through fear of which, many who had been active in the dispute,
fled out of the province.
Lord Cornbury's noble decent and education, should have pre-
vented him from taking part in so ignominious a quarrel ; but his
lordship's sense of honour and justice, was as weak and indelicate
as his bigotry was rampant and uncontroulable: and hence, we
find him guilty of an act complicated of a number of vices, which
no man could have perpetrated without violence to the very last
remains of generosity and justice. When his excellency retired to
Jamaica, the Rev. Mr. Hubbard, the presbyterian minister, lived in
the best house in the town. His Lordship begged the loan of it
for the use of his own family; and the clergyman put himself to
no small inconvenience to favour his request ; but in return for the
generouc benefaction, his Lordship peradiously delivered his house
into the h nHs of the episcopal party, and encouraged one Cardwell
the sheriff, a mean fellow, to seize upon the glebe, which he farmed
for the benefit of the episcopal church.
These tyrannical measures justly inflamed the indignation of the
injured cjTerers, and that again the more embittered his lordship
against 'hem. They resented, and he persecuted ; nor did he
confine his pious rage to the people of Jamaica. He detested all
who were of the same denomination : nay, he was averse to every
sect, except his own, he insisted, that neither the ministers, nor
school masters of the Dutch, had a right to preach, or instruct with-
out his gubernatorial licence.
The assembly were so well pleased with his lordship,' because
he headed their party, that they voted him two thousand pounds, as
Though war was proclaimed by England, on the 4th of May,
1702, against France and Spain, yet as the Agoneaseah had en-
tered into a treaty of neutrality with the French in Canada, the
province of New-York, instead of being harrassed on itsborders,
by the enemy carried on a very advantageous trade, to such as were
concerned in it. This shows, that the former depredations were
occasioned in a great measure by the provincial rulers, who had
generally encouraged thera to commit depredations upon jhe
STATE OF NEW-YORK. 421
French in Canada, in order to keep up the national dispute, to the
benefit of a few, and the detriment of many.
The Agoneaseah, although they had been hostile to the French,
had been disposed on several occasions to come to peace, and
would, had they been left to act according to their own judgment.
At length, however, they came to a sense of their own interest ;
but it was not till they had been severely made to feel the horrors of
This neutrality was beneficial for the infant colony. All the
predictions of the interested, turned out to be untrue. The French
did not molest our borders.
Lord Cornbury, however, in consequence of his poverty, ava-
rice, and extravagance, continued his solicitations for money, with
unremitted importunity, by alarming the assembly and the people,
with the prospect of attacks by sea and land.
Fifteen hundred pounds were voted, and raised by the assembly,
under pretence of fortifying the Narrows, below New-York; but
which his lordship craftily intended, and did apply to his own pur-
Whether it was owing to the sagacity of the house, or their pre-
sumption, that his Lordship was as little to be trusted as any of his
predecessors, that after voting the above sum for the fortifications ;
they added, that it should be for no other purpose. It is certain,
they now began to see the danger of placing the public money in
the hands of a receiver-general appointed by the crown, from
whence a treacherous governor might draw it at his pleasure.
But, although the province of New- York enjoyed peace, it was
not the case with the New-England borders.
In August, 1703, five hundred French, and Adirondacks, and
others, their allies divided into several small parties, assaulted most
of the setdements between Casco bay and Wells. They killed and
captured one hundred and thirty persons, and burnt and laid waste
most of the settlements.
The whole country was in the utmost consternation, alarms were
every where taking place, and the entire frontier from Deerfield on
Connecticut riVer, to Casco_,bay, was kept in alarm by the enemy's
422 HISTORY CF THE
The province voted a sum to maintain one hundred and thirty
fuzileers, on its frontier about Albany. Four independent compa-
nies were at the same time in the pay of the crown. His lord-
ship being under the influerree of avarice and poverty, was con-
stantly calling for money, for the public service, declaring, that
the people were in danger: for he had the faculty, notwithstanding
all his vices, of making them believe that he wasllieir friend.
Time, which tests all things, at length exposed this noble lord,
and those who had been his ardent admirers, abandoned him.
The legislature, who were apprehensive at first of incensing the
people against them, had recourse to cunning, ia order to elude
this prodigal's demands. They prudently declined any further
aids, till they were satisfied that he had made no misapplication.
For this purpose, they appointed a committee, who reported that