New York the English Province
(previous ... New York Again a Dutch Colony )
Administration of Andros
In November, 1674, New York finally passed from the hands of the Dutch to
remain for one hundred years an English province. The Duke of York tightened his grasp on the colony; to cover
all doubt he secured a new grant from the king; he gave again New Jersey to Carteret and sent to New York as
governor, Major Edmund Andros, who, he doubted not, would be thoroughly alive to his master's interest.
For ten years Major Andros was busy with the affairs of the colony; now he was penetrating into the far west of
the unsettled Mohawk valley, viewing the fertile flats and making friends of the Indians; now he was sending to
Martha's Vineyard to assert the claims of the Duke. He assumed that New Jersey was still under his control and went
so far as to arrest Governor Carteret. He renewed the old contest with Connecticut, landed in force at Saybrook and
demanded the surrender of the fort. Being refused he read the grant of the Duke and his own commission; and when
these selections did not soften the hearts of the Connecticut Puritans, Andros sailed sadly home.
Conditions of the Colony
In 1678, Governor Andros while visiting England left on record an account of his
colony. New York since Stuyvesant's surrender had doubled its eight thousand inhabitants; about three thousand
of these were in New York city. This place was built up at the expense of the rest of the province by the
bolting act, which for many years gave the city the sole right of bolting and exporting flour from the
But its growth was slow compared with its progress in the nineteenth century; at the close of the seventeenth
century the northern limit of the city was a palisade wall, the present Wall Street. Beyond this were a few houses
here and there, a burying ground, and a few huge Dutch wind-mills; further on, farms, and then a rocky wilderness.
A mile from the town, the law allowed wood to be cut; in the numerous ponds, fresh water fish could be taken; the
hunting too was good, probably , for a visitor tells of treeing a bear in an orchard where Maiden Lane now is.
In the city itself, the fort was the first object that greeted the sight of the ships coming up the bay; within
this was a church; and leading from it was a "Broad way". Within the corporation were numerous swamps, ponds and
creeks and there had been ill smelling tanneries and slaughter houses, which were often ordered out of the city
limits. North of the city, where the Tombs prison is now, was a lake known as the Fresh Water pond. Six public
wells were dug in the middle of the streets, not so much for the bad tasting water as for a protection against
Two English visitors at this time tell how they were rowed across East River in the ferry boat; upon landing
they went "up a hill, along open roads and woody places and through a village called Breuckelen (Brooklyn) which
has a small ugly church in the middle of the road." They slept in the house of one Simon DeHart, a house still
standing, and supped on oysters, venison and wild turkey. They were surprised at the apples, peaches, grapes and
the "great heaps of watermelons." All kind of fish abounded; oysters were plentiful; drift whales were frequently
cast upon the beach of the island; while off the coast, whalers could capture their huge game.
In the eastern part of Long Island schools were well sustained; but elsewhere the children of the colonists were
no better educated than under Dutch rule. Some of the people could afford to have private teachers; some sent their
children to New England schools; but the mass of the people were ignorant and superstitious. As a result many of
the laws were barbarous; stealing might be punished with death; or the thief was branded with a T on the cheek;
stocks, pillories, placards and other means of exciting derision were common punishments. The Sunday laws were
strict; the Connecticut blue laws were scarcely more so. "No youths, maydes or other persons," said the law,"may
meet together for sports or play."
(continues... Dongan Charter)