Schoharie, and Germanflats on the Mohawk river, the year there-
after by the same people. Germanflats was for some time called
Burnet's fields. The Agoneaseah called the country west of Little-
falls, embracing at this day the towns of Germanflats, Herkimer,
446 HISTORY OF THE
Schuyler, nnd Frankfort, Kow-ogo-con-ugh-ha-rie-gugh-arie. Tliis
was the most remote settlement in the province, and continued to
be such till 1785, when the late Mr. Hugh White transcended Ger-
manflats, and founded VVhitestown, the oldest place in the western
From an act passed in 1726, it appears that the public road on
the north side of fhe Mohawk, ended at Cayadutta creek, about a
mile west of Caughnawaga. The same act directed that a road
should be opened as far westwardly as the settlements extended.
The colonists of Stone Arabia and Germanflats, reached those
places by the Indian roads.
The administration of Mr. Burnet gradually became unpopular,
owing principally to decrees which he made in chancery contrary
to law ; and to his interposition in ecclesiastical and other matters.
The whole assembly became dissaffected to him. It resolved that
the erecting or exercising a court of chancery in the province,
without the consent of the assembly, was contrary to the laws of
England, and subversive of the rights of the subjects. It was also
resolved, that it would at its next session pass a law, declaring all
the decrees and proceedings of said court illegal, null, and void ;
and that it would take into consideration whether such a court be
necessary or not, and in whom the jurisdiction ought to be vested,
he. Mr. Btunet no sooner heard of these resolutions, than he
called the members before him, and dissolved the assembly.
We are now come to the close of Mr. Burnet's administration,
when he was appointed to the chief command of Massachusetts.
The excessive love of money, a disease common to all his prede-
cessors, and to some who succeeded him, was a vice from which
he was entirely free. He sold no offices: nor did he attempt to
raise a fortune by indirect means.
John Montgomery, Esq. superseded Mr. Burnet, on the 15th
day of April, 1728. In talents for government, he was much in-
ferior to his predecessor ; he had neither strength nor acuteness of
parts, and was but little acquainted with any kind of literature.
As in the natural, so in the political world, a violent storm is often
succeeded by a peaceful calm ; tired by the mutual struggles of
party rage, every man now ceased to act under its influence. The
STATE OF NEW- YORK. 447
governor's good humour too, extinguished the flames of contention :
for being unable to plan, he had no particular scheme to pursue; and
thus, confining himself to the exercise of the common acts of go-
vernment, the public affairs of the province flowed on in a peaceful
uninterrupted stream. Governor Montgomery dissolved the assem-
bly, and called a new one. Among the acts passed, are some for
improving and laying out roads in the counties of New- York, West-
chester, and Dutchess. AHer the legislature had risen, his excel-
lency went up to Albany, and on the first of October, held a treaty
with the A2:oneaseah for the renewal of the ancient covenant. He
gave them great presents, and engaged them in the defence of
Oswego. This post was usually guarded by a lieutenant and
On the twenty-ninth of October, 1730^ the assembly passed an
act for the more effectually preventing and punishing the conspiracy
and insurrection of negroes, and other slaves, as it is quaintly stiled.
The act, after providing penalties against such as might trade with
slaves, allowed the owners to punish them for crimes at discretion,
provided the punishment did not extend to life or limb. It con-
tained these farther provision?, that not above three should meet
together, unless it should be in some servile employment ; under the
penalty of being whipped upon the naked back, at the discretion of
any justice of the peace, a number of lashes not exceeding forty for
each offence. The act provided farther, that every city, town, and
manor within the province, should hereafter appoint a common
whipper, or flagiHator for its slaves. This dignified personage
was to have such compensation as the owners of slaves should
vote ; but it was not to exceed three shillings for any case of. fla-
gillaiion, or laceration. It seems that certain slave holders, pos-
sessed of humane feeling, were opposed to such barbarous legisla-
tion : for we find that in cases of neglect, or refusal to pay the
flagiliator, that such flagillated slave or slaves, might be committed to
jail till the same was paid, together with the costs of committal. The
f)unishment for assaulting, or striking any Christian or Jew, was
imprisonment for any period of time, not exceeding fourteen days,
• Smiths Hist, of N.Y.
448 HISTORY OF THE '
and such scourging as two justices of the peace, might in their wis-
dom and power think proper, provided, however, for this strange
law had its provisoes, that it should not extend to life or hmb. By
the same act, slaves were not allowed lo give evidence, except
against slaves. They were debarred the riglit of trial by jury,
unless their masters made election. The proceedings in these
times against this unfortunaie portion of the human race, for crimes,
or supposed crimes and offences, were excessively severe. Every
procedure was committed to jurstices of the peace, who were
vested with the power of trying, condemning, and ordeiing bloody
executions in a summary manner. No appeal lay from their deci-
sion; no merciful hand could interpose. The decree of the justice
was decisive. The sympathy of the owner, if he had any, and
there were such, was of no avail. In vain were his remonstrances
and solicitations in behalf of his slave. He could not bring his case
before a higher, a more intelligent, a more enlightened, and a more
impartial tribunal. O leinpora, O mores ! What an order of things !
Who can read these barbarous laws without indignation and pity.
But why should we advert to the colonial laws of the province, and
to the times ? We have abundance of examples in uur own time.
It is true, the New England people have extirpated slavery among
us ; but in the states southerly of Pennsylvania, and south of
the Ohio, and west of the Mississippi, it still holds with all its force,
its horrors, and its barbarity. There are no governments in the
world where a whole people are held in bondage worse than that
of the Israelites ; but the English and the American — we do not in-
tend to censure the people of the northern, and north-western
states, where slavery either does not exist, or is breathing its last
gasp. In vain do we talk about Ottoman slavery ; in vain do we
commiserate the lot of the Greeks. Their's is the condition of a
conquered people, permitted by their conquerors to enjoy the lands
of their fathers, upon the payment of such exactions as the Sultan
may think proper to make. He does not sell them so long as they
pay exactions, and render submission. He has not deprived them
of ilieir lands. All they can make beyond the exactions, belong
lo them. Many have amassed princely fortunes under the con-
querors. But not so with the English and American slaves. They
, SfATE OF NEW-YORK. 449
have neither houses nor lands : nor have they any of their earnings.
Every thing goes to the master. The slave has nothing vi^hich he
can call his own. He has no home ; no resting place. The des-
pot who owns him, is entitled to all his earnings. He may casti-
gate him ; he may sell him. The slave is valued like other property.
The husf)and may be separated from the wife : or the wife from the
hu!-^band and the children ; and these again from both. Such oc-
currences are frequent and common. They excite no commisera-
tion. They are vulgar; and every thing which is vulgar, passes
without emotion. But we will not consume more time on a sub-
ject, which among slave holders, can only beget us hate.
In the year 1731, the disputed boundary between this province
and Connecticut was settled ; an event of no small moment.
His excellency Mr. Montgomery, died on the first of July this
year. His death, owing to his humane disposition, was consider-
The command of the province then devolved upon Rip Van
Dam, Esq. he being the oldest of the council. During his ad-
ministration, the French built fort Frederick, on the east side of
lake Champlain ; bii^ afterwards they removed the garrison to the
west side, where they erected a strong fort, which gave them the
conmiand of ihe lake, and the only practicable avenue at that time
leading into Canada. The situation of the fort was admirably
adapted to repel an invasion, and to facilitate incursions into New-
York and New England.*
Mr. Van Dam finished his administration on the first of August,
1732, when Williain Cosby, Esq. arrived with a comniission to
govern this, and the province of New Jersey. j\lr. Cosby's ad-
ministration commenced under very favourable auspices.
The legislature convened pursuant to proclamation, on the 19th
of August. The house presented to his excellency a congratula-
tory address, and received in return, his answer filled with compli-
ments, containing a strong intimation for money. Among the laws
enacted, there was one for the improvement and making of roads
in the counties of Queens, Kings, Richmond, Westchester, Dutchess,
* Crown Point.
VOL. 11' 58
450 . HISTORY OF THE
and Ulster : another regulating the rates of ferriage between New-
York and Brooklyn. The latter is a curious specimen of legisla-
tion, and savors much of a tariff bill. Among the rates fixed
upon upwards of three hundred articles, there was one giving to the
ferryman, three eggs for every hundred carried to market.
A law was passed at this session, imposing a tax on wigs. A
custom about this time had been imported, which imposed upon
young men and boys the necessity of shaving their heads, and wear-
ing large wigs. The legislature might, however, after all, have em-
ployed their time to better advantage, than in intermeddling with a
custom so absurd.
But the wig tariff was not so oppressive as the egg tariff. The
latter put women and girls to no small inconvenience, in stopping
when on their way to market, to have their eggs counted ; besides,
it must have occasioned no triing merriment to travellers, to see
the ferryman over-hauling the eggs, and arranging them in rows on
the sand, where he and the females occasionally disputed about the
numbers, and the amount of duty, which often led to a second or
third counting, before the controverted point could be settled. We
should like to know the logical reason which led the assembly to
the passage of such a law. Was it to know how many eggs the
citizens consumed in one year ; or was it because the ferryman was
fond of eggs ; or was it because the members had no other way of
wasting their time.''
Some provision was made for a public school in the city of New-
York, for teaching Latin, Greek, and mathematics.
At the session, in the year 1734, means were provided for the
defence of Albany, Schenectady, and other places in the province.
It appears from ihe act, that the Dutch church at Schenectady was
kept in a defensible situation, so that in case the place should be
assaulted, a portion of the inhabitants might take refuge in it. There
was a road at this lime westwardly to Caughnawaga creek, twenty-
The title of the act, from which we fearn this, is in these words :
" An act for the more equally repairing the road from Towerjoine,
to Caughnawaga creek, in the county of Albany.
An act was passed in favor of the quakers, which conferred on
STATE OF NEW-YORK. 451
them the same privileges which their brethren tlien enjoyed in
The accounts from England, having induced an opinion that
there would soon be a war with France, the house in 1735, voted
six thousand pounds for the defence of New-York, four thousand
for the defence of Albany, and eight hundred for the defence of
Schenectady. Appropriations were made for messengers, and pre-
sents to the Senecas.
There were but two newspapers edited at this time in the colony,
and these tVere both in the city of New-York. The one was the
court, and the other the anti-court paper ; very much like those
distinctions in our own times. The columns of these papers
abounded with approbations and animadversions. Each editor con-
sidered himself in the right ; government stepped lorward, and
ordered some of the numbers to be burnt by the common hang-
man. This was like settling a controverted point : the unfeeling
newspapers had to make expiation at the stake. Zenger, the anti-
court editor was indicted, and after an imprisonment of eight
months, was tried and acquitted.
Georf^e Clark succeeded to the administration in March, 1736.
In 1737, an act was made, called the forty shilling act.
Van Dam also assumed the government : so that the province
. had two presidents. The assembly were convened, and through
the influence of Mr. Alexander, recognized Mr. Clark; but still
Van Dam held on till a commission came from England, naming
the former lieutenant-governor.
Mr. Clark went to Albany, and conferred with the Agoneaseah,
and renewed the former compact. At this time, garrisons were
maintained at New-York, Albany, Fort Hunter, and Oswego.
The assembly, notwithstanding its boasted resolves in favour of
liberty, came to a very extraordinary resolution in relation to the
Jews ; which was this, " that they should neither be allowed to vote
at an election, or testify in a cause." The Jews and Roman catho*
lies, had long been obnoxious to the leading men.
In Europe, war broke out between England and Spain, in the
year 1739. It is not our province to pourtray the popular clamors
452 HISTORY OF THE
raised in England : and the wishes of the people to die their hands
in Spanish blood.
Letters of marque and reprisal were granted. The armies were
augmented ; a fleet was assembled at Spithead ; the naval force of
admiral Haddock was increased j and an embargo was laid on all
outward bound merchantmen.
During this year, the small pox made great ravages in the city
of New-York, and the adjacent parts. Seventy families of Scotch
Highlanders landed in the course of the yi-ar, with an intent of
settling on Wood creek, of lake Champlain. ••
The animosities between the lieutenant-governor and the house,
were renewed in 1739.
We shall next call the attention of the reader, to the negro plot,
as it is called : —
A story was got up, that the negroes had conspired the destruc-
tion of New-York. The prisons were soon filled to an overflowing
with these unfortunate people.
The story was universally believed ; public opinion became
greatly excited. A court of oyer and terminer was called, and
thirty-two were convicted and put to death, upon the bare testimony
of prostitutes, and persons of infamous character.
Fourteen of the victims were burnt at the stake. And to swell
the catalogue of innocent victims, the Rev. John Ury, a catholic
clergyman of unblemished character, and a Mr. Huson, at whose
domicile he had staid while in the city, were put to death as ac-
The wretched Africans weie arraigned, tried, convicted, and sen-
tenced to death, without the benefit of counsel. So great was the
burst of public clamor, that no council dared to tender his services.
The trials were mockerys upon justice, and nierit the hearty exe-
crations of a more enlightened age.
In 1741, the assembly made provision for the defence of New-
V^ork and other places: some supplies were voted in 1742, for
On the twenty-third of September, 1743, George Clinton. Esq.
wIjo had been a[)pointed governor of the colony, arrived and suc-
ceeded Mr. Clark.
STATE OF NEW-YORK. 453
In the administration of Mr. Clark, there is not much to distin-
guish it from that of his predecessor. Yet after all, it must be con-
fessed, that he possessed prudence, moderation, and talents, very
well calculated to promote the prosperity of the province. In
general, he manifesied a strong desire to conciliate the affections of
the people. He was unretnitted in his attention to commerce, and
the general prosperity oftlie province. He was well informed, and
possessed of integrity. Kis speeches do honor to liim as a
The arrival of Mr. Clinton, as was usually the case, diffused joy
throughout the colony. Very favourable accounts of his talents
and generosity had preceded him : hence the people entertained
high expectations. '
The dissolution of the house, on the promulgation of his com-
mission, and the annunciation of a new house, were very acceptable
to the public.
In March, 1744, war broke out between England and France..
Three thousand two hundred pounds were voted for placing the
frontier posts in attitudes of defence: besides an additional sum
for the works at Albany. An act for the relief of imprisoned
debtors was made this year: also an act for the better organization
of the militia.
This year, his excellency had an interview with the chiefs of the
Agoneaseah, and renewed the ancient covenant. At this inter-
view, they wisely declined a participation in the contest between
France and England, so long as the belligerents might not invade
. their state. Commissioners from Connecticut and Massachusetts^
also attended at the interview, for the piu-pose of reviving the an-
cient amity and allegiance, subsisting between their colonies and
them. Meanwhile, the war caused considerable ahirra on the
borders of the province.
A detachment was sent from Albany, to augment llie garrison of
In the course of the year, complaint was made by the governor
of Virginia, to the government of New-York, (tiat the Agoneaseah
had committed some depredations on the frontiers of that province..
A messenger was dispatched to Onondaga, to make enquiries ; but
454 HISTORY OF THE
he soon returned with an answer, from which it appears, that thej
denied the accusation, and alleged that the Virginians had first fired
upon some of their warriors.
The English ministry, in tlie early part of the year 1745, in-
structed the governor of New- York, to carry the war into Canada.
As on form.er occasions, it was supposed that the enterprise would
succeed. The house, however, after deliberation, concluded that
it would be more to the interest of the colony, not to engage in an
enterprise which could at best only incur large expenses to the pro-
vince. Not, however, to give too much umbrage to the ministry,
it voted five thousand pounds towards defraying the expense of an
expedition against Cape Breton. Military centinels were establish-
ed in the city and county of Albany, in order to sound the alarm,
in case the enemy should send marauding parties into the province.
England and France were now preparing to prosecute the war with
vigor. The colonies of both countries were also making prepara-
At an early day, INIr. Shirley, the governor of Massachusetts,,
had communicated to the executive of New-York, his desire of
forming an expedition against Lewisburgh, and had requested his
co-operation. He represented that such an expedition could not
fail of success. He urged the levying of troops, and other mea-
sures in furtherance of the design. He stated that the colony of
Massachusetts, had at a great expense raised her quota.
The schetne of reducing the fortress of Cape Breton, was
planned in Boston, recommended by their general assembly, and
approved by the ministry, who sent instructions to commodore
Warren to sail for the northern parts of America, and there co-
operate with the forces of New Enghind. A body of six thousand
men was assembled, under the command of Mv. Peperel, a mer-
chant of Maine, whose influence was extensive in that country. In
April, ]\h'. Warren arrived at Canso, with ten ships of war, and the
troops of New England being embarked, sailed immediately for
the isle of Cape Breton, where they landed without opposition.
The American troojjs carried on the investment by land, with
so much vigor, that (he garrison despairing of resistance and relief,
capitulated on the 17ih of June, in the same year In the course
STATE OF NEW-YORK 455
of the siege, the fleet under commodore Warren rendered essential
services in intercepting supplies, and straitening the enemy on the
water side. The people of New England acquired great applause
in this enterprise. Indeed the reduction of the fortress and island,
was owing mainly to them. The land army was entirely levied in
While the forces of New England were employed in the reduc-
tion and conquest of Lewisburg, and the island of Cape Breton,
the colony of New- York was sedulously engaged in the defence
and protection of its extended borders. Intelligence had found its
way into the province, that the French intended to invade it from
Canada, with fifteen hundred veterans, and one hundred Indians.
This occasioned considerable alarm. Colonel Schuyler, and major
Collins, who commanded a body of provincials then at Saratoga,
were obliged to suspend the construction of six block-houses, which
they had begun to make, in consequence of the assaults of the In-
dians in the employment of France, on their men. These parties
in a measure intercepted the supplies of men and provisions, going
Murders were often committed by the enemy, within a few miles
of Albany. Two hundred men were drafted to increase and
strengthen the garrisons at the latter place, and Schenectady.
These were drafted from the militia of Suffolk, Queens, West-
chester, Dutchess, Ulster, and Orange. The settlements of Sara-
toga and Hoosack, were broken up, and the inhabitants retired
either to Albany, or those parts near it. Most of the houses were
burnt by the Indians, and the districts entirely devastated; and no in-
considerable number of the people were killed, or carried away into
The inhabitants of Orange and Ulster, were in the utmost con-
sternation : they expected every day that the Mohickanders and
Munseys, would lift the tomahawk against them. Colonel De Kay
was dispatched into those parts, for the purpose of appeasing them.
Many families of Minisink and Esopus, made dispositions to leave
those places, and retire to the left bank of the Hudson, where it
was supposed there was more security. In these exigencies, the
province was left to defend itself.
456 HISTORY CF THE
The frontiers of New England were also exposed to frequent
and destructive inroads. Stockbridge adjoining this state was beset
bvsix hundred French and Indians. Woodstock, a thriving village
in Connecticut, had been destroyed a little before, and nearly two
hundred of the militia cut off.
In October this year, the Agoneaseah, to the number of five
hundred, convened at Albany, and held a grand conference with the
commissioners of New-Yoi-k, Connecticut, Massaciiusetts, and
Pennsylvania. Messrs. Clinton, Horsinanden, and Murray, attend-
ed for the province of New-York; Messrs. Stoddard, Wendel,
Wells, and Hutchins, on behalf of Massachusetts; Messrs. Wol-
cott, and Stanley, on the part of Connecticut; and Messrs. Law-
rence, Kinsey, and Norris, on the part of Pennsylvania.
About a month befoie this conference, the colony of IMassa-
chusetts had declared war against the Eastern and Canadian In-
The objects which the colonies had in view, were to conciliate
the Agoneaseah, and prevail upon them to take part in the war.
But these studiously avoided a participation in a contest, which
would be no benefit to them. All therefore which the commis-
sioners could effect, was a treaty with them.
Ill December, the legislature voted forty thousand pounds for the
defence of the province.
The assembly, in the month of February, 1746, passed a law,
giving rewards for such scalps, and prisoners of the enemy, as
siiould be taken. In palliation for the enactment of such a law, the
framers alleged it was retaliatory, and made to induce the enemy
to conduct the war with more humanity on theii' jjart.
In the early part of this year, the enemy and their Indians had
become so emboldened with success, that small marauding parties
came frequently in tlie very vicinity of Albany, and there were not
instances wanting of their entering the suburbs at night, and carry-
ing off persons.
Thirteen thousand pounds we,re voted for the defence of the
The borders of the province, notwitlistanding the measures