LEISLER'S ADMINISTRATION What we now propose is not merely for our own safety but the general good of all New England since we are all embarked in one bottom and, though they who are nearest the fire burn first, yet if Albany be destroyed, which is the principal land bulwark in America against the French, then there is not only an open road for the French and Indians to make incursions into your Honours' territory but the Five Nations who are now for us will be forced to turn their ax the other way. The Agents of Albany and Ulster Counties to the Govern ment of Connecticut. March, 1690.
As the year 1689 had opened, so it closed amid fears of the French. The allies in the great struggle in Europe, de claring their purpose to destroy the commerce of the French, forbade even neutral nations to trade with them. This car ried the war at once into the West Indies. Despite King William's promises he could as yet spare no ships to protect the mainland colonies or even properly to defend the islands then thought so much more important. St. Christopher's, as Leisler knew by August, was taken by the French; the other English West Indies were in imminent danger; and far at the north French privateers were capturing New England fishing smacks while the royal frigate that the insurgents at Boston had dismantled in the spring was still lying a prisoner in their harbor. It seems to have been owing to Leisler's good prepa rations for defence that there was no great dread in New York of any one who might come by sea.
Border dangers were another matter. Nothing had as yet been heard of Frontenac, but the Five Nations were rest less, and alarming news of raids by French Indians came up from Maryland. New York was in great peril, Lord Howard reported from Manhattan where he was intending to take ship for England. And the weakness of New York greatly increased the peril of New England. Each of the northern colonies, all formerly 'under protection of New York,' now stood 'on its own bottom,' said a Bostonian writing to Eng land; the New Englanders having stirred up 'the Yorkers,' `up jumps hot-brained Captain Leisler into the saddle and has his hands full of work' ; and New England, 'recently 'united and formidable,' was now divided into 'about ten little independent kingdoms' each of them acting as if it knew no superior power. The Indian troubles, wrote Randolph to the Lords of Trade, proved the value of the union of the colo nies ; now, down to Carolina, they were all in peril of being overrun by the French. It was dangerous, Andros soon afterwards explained in England, for Massachusetts to send to Albany to treat with the Iroquois or to invite them to Bos ton; it revealed the disunion of the colonies. The colonies, it may be added, were as penniless as they were disunited. The whole expense of defending the borders of New England was borne by a few private persons, for no public funds and very little ammunition had been found at the time of the revolu tion and the resources of taxation could not be invoked to much purpose. Moreover, it was a year of great drought and consequent scarcity and of much sickness. Smallpox carried away hundreds of people in Massachusetts. One-third of the people of Connecticut, it was said, were confined to their beds or houses.
The king and his counsellors were not forgetting New York. Nicholson must have regretted his flight from the province. Had he remained to receive the king's orders, doubtless he would soon have received a commission as governor. Now, after he had given his testimony and the Lords of Trade had again advised that a governor be sent out at once in a 'ship of strength,' he tried for the appointment but failed to get it for 'lack of interest' it was said. Early in September it was decided to appoint Colonel Henry Sloughter to New York, to raise two companies of foot for service there, and to appro priate £1000 for presents for the Indians of the Five Nations.
Ensign Stoll and Matthew Clarkson, who had left New York is August with the address from the committee of safety and Leisler's personal letter to the king, did not reach England until the beginning of November. Nicholson and the Reverend Mr Innis had then had ample time to imbue the Lords of Trade with their own ideas; and thus Leisler and his party, says William Smith, 'missed the rewards and notice which their activity for the revolution justly deserved.' Further more, their envoys had been ill chosen. Matthew Clarkson had made the voyage in his own interest : bringing with him a certificate of his business ability, he used it to support a petition for appointment as secretary of New York. The Lords of Trade indorsed his request, possibly because he was the son of a prominent Nonconformist minister of Yorkshire; and in December he obtained the post. He neither helped nor hindered Ensign Stoll, who, with the energy of a stupid, conceited ignoramus, loudly burlesqued his mission. After being admitted to kiss the king's hand and present his de spatches, to which he added a paper of his own that described him as the chief agent in effecting the revolution at New York, he drew up for Shrewsbury, the secretary of state, an explan atory document which he called a Cathological Brief Informa tion. It said that the other papers would show why he now urged that the king should grant certain boons which he pro ceeded to enumerate and define. The first was explicit appro bation for the course of the committee of safety and the militia officers of New York, `as also that of hiniself Joost Stoll in particulars.' The second was a charter for New York which should resemble the charter of 'the city of Boston' a phrase which, taken with its context, shows that Stoll did not know the difference between Massachusetts and Boston or between a colonial patent and a municipal charter. Equally clear and equally wise were the other suggestions which he begged the secretary to consider with all possible speed be cause of the peril that threatened New York from 'the roaring state and spite of his Majesty's public enemy the French king.' Just before he presented them to Shrewsbury, on November 14 the king approved the draft of the commission prepared for Colonel Sloughter and ordered that a frigate be prepared to transport him and his household to New York. Nicholson was appointed lieutenant-governor of Virginia, which meant its acting governor as Lord Howard remained in England.
Colonel Sloughter is said to have been a Protestant refugee from Ireland. However he may have got his colonial ap pointment he was familiar, or at once made himself familiar, with colonial conditions. In October he had presented to the Lords of Trade a long and sensible paper setting forth the needs of New York especially from a military point of view. Pennsylvania, the Jerseys, and Connecticut, he said, should be added to his government. This suggestion was not con sidered; and although in the first draft of Sloughter's com mission Plymouth Colony was annexed to New York, Increase Mather made plain the inconvenience of such an arrange ment.
In the Public Record Office there is preserved from this period a list of New York councillors, actual or proposed, with comments against all the names except those of Van Cortlandt and Philipse. As Nicholas Bayard, it is written, had been secretary under 'the Dutch government' he was the fittest person to resume this office. Charles Lodwyck whom, it was supposed, the secretary would wish to make his deputy was `a leader of the faction now in power.' Palmer and Graham were in custody at Boston. Brockholls and Baxter were papists. Matthias Nicolls was superannuated (in fact, by this time he was dead). His son William was a lawyer and an 'understanding man.' William Smith, de scribed as 'the late mayor of Tangier,' was a 'good man.' Good men or understanding men, and some of them 'rich also,' were Peter Schuyler of Albany and his brother Brandt who lived at New York, Van Cortlandt's brother Johannes, John Lawrence, Paul Richards, Gabriel Minvielle, and one Paulin of Esopus. Nicholas De Meyer was very old and ill and had once been indicted for extortion, and Francis Rombouts was `unsteady' and not `well affected.' Nevertheless, both Rombouts and De Meyer figured on a list of members pro posed for his council by Colonel Sloughter, undoubtedly with Nicholson's advice, and approved by the Lords of Trade. It included also Philipse, Van Cortlandt, and Bayard, Minvielle and William Nicolls, William Smith and Thomas Willett of Long Island, and an undistinguishable John Haynes. This William Smith, it should be said, was not the father of the historian, also named William, but the Colonel Smith already more than once mentioned. Before he came to New York he had been governor of Tangier, and so he was commonly called 'Tangier Smith' and his family, which grew rich and influential, the 'Tangier Smiths.' Even to-day some of his descendants use 'Tangier ' as a middle name.
Late in December twenty-one English merchants, traders with the colonies, thanked the king for the appointment of so excellent a governor as Colonel Sloughter and begged that ships of war and a considerable armament might also be sent to New York because, if this `centre of all the English plantations in North America' should be lost, so too would all its neighbors be lost or ruined, and then the West Indian islands would starve. The French certainly had designs upon New York, said likewise Peter Reverdye, a Huguenot who sometimes figures in the writings of the time as Pieter Rieverdingh or Roberdie. He had been one of the seventy merchants who in 1667, before the Treaty of Breda was concluded, petitioned that Holland would insist upon retaining New Netherland. Now on the point of sailing to rejoin his family in New York, he wrote from shipboard to the bishop of London that there were two hundred French families in or near the city who would be put to the torture should it fall, and urged the bishop to get at once a royal order encouraging Captain Leis ler, 'now governor there,' to secure the place until Colonel Sloughter should arrive.
As the year 1690 opened, Leisler established in New York County and in Queen's courts of oyer and terminer, and in New York a court of exchequer, composed of Samuel Edsall and four others, to compel recusants to pay the customs and excise dues. None of these appointees, defendants natu rally protested, held a commission from the king as baron of his exchequer.
Unaware of the way in which his enemies were gaining ground at Whitehall, on January 7 Leisler wrote to the king, seemingly by Milborne's hand, that he had received and acted upon the royal instructions. Two members of Andros's coun cil, he said, had 'pretended' to the king's letter, but his own course had been 'to the great satisfaction of the generality of the people.' With much detail, in a letter which some of his councillors also signed, he explained to Burnet, formerly William's chaplain and now bishop of Salisbury, the course of the revolution in New York not omitting to say that Van Cortlandt had burned his wig in honor of a papistical prince-. ling and his own course since his accession to the chief command. He told how he had altered and was using the old seal of the province. He intended, he said, to defray `contingent expenses' out of the revenue, which he was deter mined to collect although 'sensible of great opposition.' He declared that Dongan was holding 'cabals' at his house on Long Island, designing to retake the fort. And he asked that twenty-five cannon might be sent him, with small-arms and ammunition and 'some small vessel' in case the French should visit New York in the spring.
The anti-Leislerian Modest and Impartial Narrative tells how at this time John Tuder, the English attorney who some years before had unsuccessfully brought suit against Mayor Rombouts for illegal use of judicial power, tried to obtain the freedom of a young man named Philip French who had been arrested for threatening to tear down proclamations. When bail was refused, Tuder . . . applied himself to the mayor of the city with the king's writ of Habeas Corpus returnable to the next mayor's court which was the 7th of the same month. This writ so signed by the mayor was safely conveyed to Mr. French and by him delivered to his keeper who forthwith acquainted the head gaoler Leisler therewith. . . .
Leisler simply ordered that French be more strictly guarded. When the mayor's court met and Tuder found that his client was not present he explained the nature of the writ of habeas corpus. `Our usurper's oracle Milborne' replied, untruth fully, that Philip French was not a subject of the king. Then the bystanders hissed and some charged Milborne with being `the principal actor of our present troubles.' Thus, says the Narrative, the usurpers showed how small a regard they had for that 'pretended act of assembly' (the Charter of Liberties of 1683) which they had cited to defend their own measures, for they transgressed the clauses that safeguarded the liber ties of the individual. It was a point well taken. The Charter of Liberties, it is true, had not mentioned the Act of Habeas Corpus, but there can be no doubt that those who framed the Charter intended to affirm the right of the people of New York to the protection of this as of all other English statutes of the kind. So the advisers of James II had under stood, for when they commented adversely upon the Charter they took pains to explain that the Act of Habeas Corpus did not extend to the colonies.
Before Leisler despatched his letter to Bishop Burnet he added a postscript telling why he had just imprisoned two of his chief opponents. Believing that a 'hellish conspiracy' to subvert his government was on foot he had issued a war rant for the examination of all letter-carriers and travellers who had no passes. Thus there fell into his hands letters that had been given secretly to Colonel Morris of Westchester and by him to Perry the postman as he went by on his way to Boston. One from Bayard to John. West accused Leisler `our Masaniello' of various criminal intentions besides com plicity in a plot to 'massacre' on New Year's Day Bayard him self, Van Cortlandt, and three or four other conspicuous per sons, and lamented that there was not force enough available to suppress the 'arch-rebel and his hellish crew.' Another letter, from William Nicolls to George Farewell who, like West, was one of the officials in confinement at Boston, contained the passage already quoted which declared that out of hell there was nothing to match Leisler's government, and urged Farewell to show himself, when he should get to England, 'a mortal, diligent, inveterate, and unreconcilable enemy' to Leisler and his adherents, and to use all possible influence to get 'those rogues removed and left to the severity of the law' so that for all future time they might be an example to all other rebels. There was also intercepted a letter of a similar kind from Bayard to Brockholls and one from Brockholls to Edward Randolph. Therefore the Leislerian leaders had ordered the arrest of Bayard, Van Cortlandt, Brockholls, Nicolls, and two or three others as having committed 'high misdemeanors against his Majesty's authority.' All escaped except Bayard and Nicolls. In Nicolls's pocket was found an anonymous letter threatening Leisler and his posterity with annihilation by 'poinard, poison, or pistol' should he injure a hair of any of his prisoners. Both Nicolls and Bayard, Leis ler explained to Burnet, denied writing the letters, which he enclosed to the bishop to show their 'horrible devices.' After the arrest, so Livingston wrote from Albany, Leisler caused Bayard `to be carried in a chair through the fort by porters, with irons on, in triumph.' Still fettered, says another account, Bayard was thrown into the 'noisome dungeons' of the fort where Nicolls also was secured. Meanwhile, one of Leisler's own letters to Governor Treat having been broken open and misrepresented by his adversaries, he sent a mes senger to inform the people of Connecticut by word of mouth what was happening in New York.
With the account of these arrests the Modest and Impartial Narrative comes to an end. As printed at Boston at some time during the year 1690 and soon afterwards at London it includes a prefatory note saying that it had been prepared to be presented to the mayor's court of New York on January 25 but that, when the time arrived, it was not considered safe to present it because on the `previous day,' January 24, several persons of note were seized and confined by order of that 'insolent man Leisler.' Not, however, in the vehement and vituperative shape it wears in print can the Narrative have been meant for use before a Leislerian court. And just how it was put in this shape is a problem. If by Bayard, as internal evidence supports tradition in affirming, he must have done the work while imprisoned in Fort William, where he spent the whole of the year 1690, and therefore cannot have been as rigorously treated as was commonly believed.
Leisler refused to accept the bail that was offered at once for Bayard and Nicolls. Nicolls, so far as appears, bore his fate with dignity, neither begging for release nor trying in any way to placate Leisler. Bayard immediately collapsed. On the 24th a proof that the arrest must have taken place sooner than the Narrative says he prepared this petition, forgetting for the moment that he was addressing an arch rebel and his hellish crew : To the Honourable Jacob Leisler Esq., Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of New York and the Honourable Council.
The Humble Petition of Nicholas Bayard Humbly Showeth That the petitioner and prisoner since this two days hath been taken with an extreme sickness in body, and humbly craves your honour's honorable commiseration, the petitioner acknowl edging his great error in disgrading the authority which he humbly owns and craves pardon for Praying that he may be relieved from his dismal detention, promising to behave from henceforth with all submission and perform whatever your honours shall be pleased to adjudge against him, praying that his errors may be attributed de priving from his impatience and vents of foolish passion, and there fore that the honours will be pleased to remit his fault at least by rising from this miserable confinement.
And the Petitioners as in duty bound shall ever pray and remain your Honour's Humble Servant.
Bayard may have revived a little when he came to know that, after lying in jail for ten months, for two months since the order to send them at once to England had arrived, Sir Edmund Andros, Randolph, Dudley, Graham, Palmer, West, and Farewell had at last been set on shipboard. They sailed on February 14. Reaching England at a time when a policy of amnesty prevailed which soon resulted in a general Act of Grace, they fared much better than the Bostonians had ex pected. The agents of New England, although twice sum moned to support its accusations before the Lords of Trade, refused to sign the papers that embodied them, probably so counselled by their English friends; and before the end of April the Lords of Trade recommended and the king in council ordered that the charges be dismissed and the prisoners re leased. Some of them were again to take a hand in the affairs of New York, but not Sir Edmund Andros. Finding favor with William, in 1692 he was appointed governor of Virginia, Nichol son being transferred as lieutenant-governor to Maryland. Re turning to England in 1698 and serving from 1704 to 1706 as governor of the island of Guernsey, Sir Edmund died in 1714 in his seventy-sixth year. He left no children although he had married twice after the death of his first wife at Boston.
Still the important up-river counties could not be brought to acknowledge Leisler. To Captain Staats, whom he had ordered to assert his authority, the Albany magistrates ex plained that they would cheerfully obey any orders from the king and would obey Leisler as lieutenant-governor if he could show the king's instructions to that effect directed to himself. Staats answered that if he should exhibit copies of the instruc tions it would be objected that they were in Milborne's hand writing. The only officials who favored Leisler were the sheriff, Richard Pretty, who was one of the few Englishmen in Albany, and two militia captains, both Dutchmen. The others all voted not to recognize Leisler's claims, and Captain Bull of . Connecticut told them that he had neither seen nor heard any reason why they should. Calling the people to gether in the plain before the church the magistrates read them in Dutch and in English a long protest saying that Leisler had assumed powers for which he had not 'the least shadow of orders or authority ' ; in Nicholson's absence the king's instructions, in so far as Albany County was concerned, were meant for the convention there; Leisler, persisting in the `malice' he had always shown, was trying to 'make new confusions when peace and unity were most requisite ' ; and therefore much time had to be wasted in defeating his designs which otherwise could have been employed 'to resist upon all occasions the common enemy and for the public good.' Peace and unity were requisite indeed, for the common enemy was preparing to deliver the first blow struck by white men against white men on the soil of New York the blow still well remembered as the Schenectady Massacre.
In June, 1689, Count Frontenac had sailed from France, secretly instructed by Louis XIV to carry out Callieres' plan for the conquest of New York. He was directed to begin the work so warily that, the people of Albany suspecting noth ing, he might find at this ' first post' vessels enough to carry his troops down Hudson's River. But he was given only two men-of-war to cooperate with his army, and no soldiers although there awaited him in Canada not more than a thousand regulars and six hundred militia; and his voyage was unexpectedly prolonged. Before he went up the St. Lawrence he sent the ships southward, as the king had di rected, with orders to cruise about Sandy Hook but to sail for home in December if the land expedition had not then been heard from. Before he reached Quebec, early in October, he learned of the Iroquois raid that in August had left the prov ince bleeding and prostrate; and when he reached Montreal he heard that the fort on Lake Ontario which bore his own name had been abandoned and that the Iroquois had made a pact with the far-western red allies of France.
With the Iroquois in a triumphant, threatening mood, New York alert, and Canada exhausted, disheartened, half starving, and a prey to the smallpox, even Frontenac could not think of a great expedition for conquest. Yet, knowing that to hearten his people and to gain over the Iroquois he must in some way strike at the English, he planned to deliver three blows with three small raiding parties of picked men a swift attack upon New York, and two upon the border settlements of New England. Immediately, however, he tried to conclude with the Iroquois a peace or a truce. They would not even consent to a conference until they had invited their Albany friends. And then, at a great congress held at Onondaga, they decided, in the words of one of their sachems : ' We must hold fast to our brother Quidor and look on Onontio as our enemy for he is a cheat.' `Quidor' was the name they gave Mayor Schuyler, trying to call him Peter; `Onontio,' meaning 'Big Mountain' and referring to an early governor of Canada, Montmagny, was their title for all the governors of Canada as was `Corlaer' for those of New York; and `Kinshon' was the term they applied to the eastern colonies, deriving it either from a word for `fish' or from the name of Pynchon, the first New Englander who had treated with them officially. Now, they said in messages to Corlaer and to Kinshon, the time had come to fall upon the French; all must unite and in the spring go to Quebec and take it. Frontenac, they sent him word, must not think that because they parleyed they had laid down the hatchet.
Albany and its outposts, deeply apprehensive though they were, found it hard to get white scouts to keep watch against the French and thought it dangerous to deplete their gar risons, for in Albany there were not more than a hundred and fifty able-bodied men and in the whole county, most probably, not three hundred. Therefore the convention trusted to the promise of the Mohawks that they would stand sentinel over the two trails from the north. The Mohawks, trusting too much to nature's defences, snow and ice and bitter cold, watched only one of the trails. Along the other came from Montreal amid incredible hardships Frontenac's raiding party, a hundred and fourteen Frenchmen, mostly experienced di coureurs de bois with a number of military officers who had volunteered to accompany them, and ninety-six Indians almost all Christianized Iroquois whom the Jesuits had settled in Canada. Threading the ice-clad forests, treading the frozen surfaces of lakes and streams, wading knee-deep in half-frozen marshes, they made their way southward and, as the savages declared that Albany was too strong to be taken, during the stormy night of February 8 fell upon Schenectady, the place where the French expedition of 1666 had been so kindly succored. They surprised and burned the town, spared all Indians and one or two white men to whom they felt an especial debt of gratitude, killed more than sixty soldiers and inhabitants, carried away about thirty men and boys, and left not more than sixty survivors in the desolated place. Among the dead were Bull's lieutenant and Domine Tesschenmaecker, the clergyman who had been ordained at New York in the time of Andros and who had come to Schenec tady from the Delaware country in 1684. His head, wrote Domine Selyns to the classis of Amsterdam, `was split open and his body burned up to the shoulders.' At daybreak a wounded fugitive on a half-dead horse brought the news to Albany through terrible drifts of snow. The disaster, wrote Schuyler to Governor Bradstreet of Massachu setts, was due to the 'factions and divisions' among the people which made them so disobedient to their officers that they would not stand guard or even see that the gates of the stockaded village were kept shut. So bigotted to Leisler' were the people, said Livingston in a letter to Andros, that they would obey no one else; and after the massacre his ' seditious ' letters which `perverted that poor people' with notions of free trade and a general liberty to bolt flour were found `all bloody' in the streets. On the other hand, when Leisler heard of the calamity he attributed it to the support given to his enemies at Schenectady by the Albany convention and 'Colonel Bayard's faction.' He had sent up a commission, he wrote to the governors of Maryland and Barbadoes, for an officer and twenty-five men to join with the Mohawks in watching the trails from the north, but the authorities forbade. Whoever may have been most to blame, the town was certainly left unguarded. Schuyler declared that three gates were found open. An official French report described how the raiders, finding one gate open, fell upon the houses before any one suspected their presence. Then the houses were set on fire to occupy the savages who would else have taken to drinking.
The weather soon growing warmer the whole country be came an almost impassable swamp. Yet fifty young men from Albany with a hundred and fifty Mohawks managed to follow the retreating marauders to the borders of Canada, capturing some Frenchmen but rescuing no captives. Every one believed that a large French army was close at hand in tending to fall upon Albany. Never was a place in worse estate, wrote Schuyler to Bradstreet : 'No governor, nor command, no money to forward any expedition, and scarce men enough to maintain the city '; much reason, moreover, to fear that the Iroquois, hitherto 'the bulwark' of New York, might now make peace with its enemies and help to destroy it. Without the aid of New England and of the fifty men who had been sent from Manhattan, Albany could not maintain itself should an enemy come. Yet, he added not quite reasonably, it was the 'distractions and revolutions' on Manhattan that had brought about this miserable con dition.' More exactly, the condition had not been caused but had been aggravated by the fact that New York and Albany could not agree. And now Ulster County reported that the men whom Albany hoped it would send could not be raised because of the divisions among the people, some holding for the old magistrates, some for the 'new leaders.' Nevertheless the people of Albany were not disheartened. Daily, wrote their mayor, they were praying for the advent of the governor whom they believed to be already on the ocean; meanwhile Massachusetts must make ready to invade Canada in the spring. All the colonies must thus prepare themselves, said the convention, resolving to write to Virginia and Mary land as well as to New England and to ' the civil and military; officers' at New York. Again the Mohawks promised to help against Onontio. They would see, they said, that the `upper nations' were ready to attack him; and as for the English: Let them be ready also with ships and great guns by water and we will plague him by land. We are resolved not to go out a-hunting but to mind the war, for the sooner the French be fallen upon the better, before they get men and provisions from France.
In a second petition prepared by Colonel Bayard in his prison, a very long one addressed like the first to Lieutenant Governor Leisler and his council, he said that it cut him to the heart to be accused of bringing about such a thing as the Schenectady massacre by trying to excite sedition. Since leaving Albany he had sent nothing thither but harmless private letters; and, as their Honors desired, he would now give a truthful account of his conduct there during the past summer, begging their pardon should they find that he had in any way done amiss. In this account occurs the passage that has already been quoted about the arrival of John Riggs with the king's packets. Bayard had then, his petition goes on to explain, been so `unhappy' as to hold the opinion that the royal instructions were meant not for Leisler but for the councillors and justices, wherefore in his letters to John West he had 'most unadvisedly and in his foolish passion' stated this view 'in such severe and unbecoming expressions to the disgrading of your Honors' authority.' But never had he thought of overturning Leisler's government by force; and so he hoped that his 'unbecoming and disgrading expressions,' and also the 'particular disgusts' which had passed between himself and Leisler, might be forgotten or remembered only as 'events of his foolish passion,' and that their Honors' `distressed sick prisoner' might be admitted to bail or other wise preserved from ' perishing in this dismal confinement.' Less than ever was Leisler in the mood to release the most energetic of his antagonists, one in whose apologies and prot estations he can have put no shadow of faith. Believing that the ruin of Schenectady was due in part to 'too great a correspondency' kept between the French and the dis affected in New York, he issued warrants for the arrest of all reputed papists, of all who persisted in retaining commissions given by Andros or Dongan, and of certain specified persons ; and a few days later he ordered that Colonel Dongan, Brock holls, Plowman, Van Cortlandt, and 'all their accomplices' should be apprehended, with the use of force if needful.' All these prominent persons managed to escape; some of the smaller fry were enmeshed.
Colonel Dongan, who appears to have done nothing what ever to warrant Leisler's suspicions, went to East Jersey, made his way to Boston, and there took ship for England, seemingly at some time during the year 1691. In August of this year his uncle Tyrconnel died while still desperately try ing to hold Ireland for King James. Naturally the nephew did not fare as well at the hands of King William as did Governor Andros. No notice seems to have been taken of his offers to serve the new sovereigns in the colonies, of course, for as a Catholic he was barred from office at home. His brother the Earl of Limerick, who had followed James into exile and thereby lost his estates, died at St. Germain in 1698. The colonel succeeding to the title, William then received him gra ciously. But small results followed his prolonged efforts to recover the confiscated estates in Ireland and some £17,000 which he had advanced for the public service in New York. The government of New York appears to have given him nothing although once at least it considered his accounts. Parliament recognized his claim but granted him only £2500 in tallies and, in 1702, permission to buy back if he could his Irish acres from their actual owners. Meanwhile William had ordered that, as the Earl of Limerick could not without aid support himself in England but was willing to live on an estate he owned in America, he should be granted a small prize-ship to take him there and to remain his property. This scheme fell through. In 1704 he petitioned Queen Anne say ing that if a third of what was due him were paid he would release the rest. Ten years later he petitioned the commis sioners of the treasury, again in vain although he declared that after paying his brother's debts and his own he had very little left. According to the witness of the stone set above his grave in St. Pancras' churchyard in London, he died in 1715 aged eighty-one. The stone is no longer to be identified, for the churchyard is now a public park where many of the old monuments have been gathered into cairn-like piles which growths of ivy half conceal.
While thus impoverished by his faithful service as the champion of English rights in America, and forgotten by the province that he had guarded and the crown whose interests he had excellently served, Dongan can have profited very little by his many acquisitions of land in New York. Most of his Wall Street property he had sold in 1689 to Nicholas Bayard and Abraham De Peyster. In 1696 he conveyed to William Penn for £100 great tracts in the Susquehanna country which, says the deed, he had 'purchased of or had given him by' the Indians. The rest of his American pos sessions he bestowed shortly before his death upon three nephews, then in New York, by a conveyance which explained that, having no other heirs, he hoped thus to 'preserve, up hold, and advance the name and family of Dongan.' One of the nephews sold the Hempstead farm to pay the governor's debts. The Staten Island estate, the Manor of Castleton, passed to the children of Walter Dongan, the other brothers leaving no heirs. One of Walter's descendants was killed at the head of a troop of Tory volunteers when General Sullivan attacked Staten Island in 1777. Another represented Rich mond County in the assembly from 1786 to 1789. If the `name and family of Dongan' still survive in New .York it is but obscurely.
As promptly as Leisler tried to get his chief enemies within four walls he gave orders for the relief of Albany. Major Beekman of King's County and Major Thomas Lawrence Queen's were each to raise fifty men, and Major Cuyler was to draft one man in ten from the city militia under his com mand. Then the lieutenant-governor in council ordered the election of representatives to an assembly which should de bate and conclude `all such matter and things' as might be necessary 'for the supply of this government.' The writs were issued on February 20 under Leisler's hand and seal and in the name of King William. The need to summon an as sembly was obvious : no funds could otherwise be obtained. Their right to summon it the Leislerians based, as they had based other powers that they assumed, upon their belief that the Charter of Liberties of 1683 was still, or was again, in force.
It was now, Leisler felt, more than ever necessary to get control at Albany. Late in February he sent Milborne and two others to lay before the Connecticut authorities a paper asking for their help in appointing agents to treat with the Five Nations and for advice upon various matters. By the hand of Secretary Allyn they replied that .they could not interfere in the divisions in New York further than to urge ' Captain Leisler and the government at New York in present power' to come to a peaceful understanding with the 'Albani ans' who were so well acquainted with the Five Nations ; the number of troops required and the concurrence of Massachu setts were questions for New York itself to settle; Connecti cut must recall the soldiers it had sent to Manhattan but would come to its defence should a foreign force appear. In a postscript it was added oracularly that, the writers having seen his Majesty's letters in the hands of Leisler's envoys, they thought that the Albanians might 'find sufficient reason to comply with you in the same when they shall receive due information thereof.' The hot reply returned to this cool and non-committal letter was signed by Milborne as clerk of the council ; its good Eng lish as well as its tenor and its temper show that it was com posed by him ; but when filed away in the archives of Con necticut it was indorsed as Leisler's 'scolding letter.' With `coldness, contempt, and disdain,' it said, the overtures and requests of New York had been met; the government of Con necticut had increased the trouble at Albany by sending troops to be put under command of the 'rebels named a con vention'; the chief responsibility for this lay upon John Allyn who in 1688 had 'traitorously' joined with Andros and his `wicked council' in levying money under an arbitrary, illegal commission from King James; therefore the Connecticut authorities must be esteemed aiders and abettors of rebellion and their forces at Albany enemies to the king's peace, and John Allyn must be secured 'in order to be proceeded against for his traitorous offence.' This 'angry letter stuffed with unjust collumniating charges' brought forth an answer mild and dignified in tone if marked by an orthographic wildness in which few Dutch-American pens could rival John Allyn's. It said that the charges against Allyn, which involved of course all who had sat on Sir Edmund's council, were too foolish to be noticed; no animosities were so important at this critical time as that men should be kept in office at Albany who could maintain good correspondence with the Five Nations; Connecticut had not advised Albany to contend against the `present power at New York' but to submit to it; and it was great ingratitude for that power to heap unjust charges upon those who had spent money and blood in defence of the king's subjects and had always shown themselves loving neighbors.
Mayor Schuyler was beyond a doubt as loyal from the first to William and Mary as was Leisler himself. There was more question of the whole-heartedness of Robert Livingston who had been so notably favored with places of profit by Andros and Dongan. According to a number of affidavits
Livingston had spoken of the expedition of the Prince of Orange as an enterprise of rebels or of robbers and predicted that he would come to the same end as Monmouth. Speci fying this offence in the warrant, on March 1 Leisler ordered Livingston's arrest as a 'rebel' who had caused great dis order at Albany and in the whole province, and sent officers to apprehend him to Hartford and to Boston whither Living ston had carried the prayer of the Albany convention that New England would help it with money and provisions and would `rig out vessels toward Quebec.' Governor Treat acknowledged the validity of the order, but Livingston was not apprehended nor did he cease to urge that such directions might be sent from New England as would put a stop to Leisler's ' cruelty and oppression' and to the ' dangerous practises' of Milborne who was said to be on his way to over throw the government at Albany.
Leisler also was asking help of Massachusetts, explaining that Connecticut had refused to consult with him, and of Maryland and Virginia. And, while all others delayed, he was sending help to Albany to be bought, however, at the price of submission to his government. Early in March Mil borne, De Bruyn, and Johannes Provoost who had recently been added to the council, embarked with 160 men, a quan tity of linen, serge, and stockings for the Schenectady sufferers, and presents for the Five Nations. Their commission em powered them to take over Fort Orange from 'a certain number of people terming themselves the convention,' to command all the forces at the north, and to `direct, order, and control' the public affairs of Albany and Ulster Counties. Arriving at Albany on the 17th they took over the fort upon written conditions which, it was said, they soon violated. That is, they dismissed such of King James's regulars as still formed part of the garrison, telling them that they must claim their back pay from the Albany authorities who had promised it. Van Cortlandt wrote to Andros that Milborne turned out all the magistrates, imprisoned some, and so exasperated the people that he had to flee for his life to Esopus. This was not true. The convention, indeed, expired; but all magistrates were by proclamation confirmed in their offices; and upon pain of punishment all persons were forbidden to `asperse' or `reproach' in any way their former antagonists. The commissioners ordered a strict collection of the excise and forbade all sales of rum as ' very pernicious' to the soldiers and so to the public peace. Guards were sent to the outlying settlements and a watch-party to the foot of Lake Champlain. Then Milborne executed his orders in Ulster County and, after going for reinforcements to New York where he remained only one day, returned to his post at Albany.
Albany had held out against Leisler, Livingston said, until deserted by all New England: Connecticut and Massachusetts had both advised submission, calling Leisler lieutenant-gov ernor, and Connecticut had recalled Captain Bull and his men. The commissioners had continued the old magistrates in office `out of mere fear and terror of the Indians,' and managed most affairs without consulting them except such `as they knew not how to proceed on without their advice.' Nevertheless, he wrote to Andros, the two factions agreed `well enough . . . concerning the carrying on of the war.' The Connecticut authorities had, in truth, recalled their troops from Albany. Thus they got their revenge for Leisler's insulting letter. They called Bull home, they explained, because, as Leisler had charged them with abetting 'those rebels of the convention,' they wished to prevent anything that might 'look like encouragement to them.' So, they hoped, they would satisfy Captain Leisler. As Leisler had now got control at Albany he was as much dissatisfied as Livingston.
On and near Manhattan his authority must still have been acceptable to the bulk of the people, for two hundred men had volunteered or consented to be drafted for the hardships and dangers of frontier service at a moment when the pay that was promised them, 25 shillings a month and provisions, can have seemed by no means sure. A Boston letter written at this time to England says that some one who had recently visited Leisler pronounced him a 'madman.' Another says that some or most 'sober persons' had a good opinion of his proceedings but that the 'Tory party' gave him an exceed ingly bad character. This is a very early instance of the use in America of 'Tory ' to denote a conservative or anti-popular party.
The French pris'oners brought in by the Mohawks asserted that a great expedition was being prepared at Montreal to descend upon New York in the spring. As Denonville had felt that the only way to subdue the Five Nations was to con quer New York, so New York now felt that the only way to keep their friendship and to save itself was to conquer Canada. It was the Mohawks who first urged for this purpose a union of the colonies, it was the Albany authorities who first sup ported the suggestion, Livingston who first set it forth in ur gent appeals admirably conceived and written, and Leisler who pushed the plan to consummation.
Massachusetts listened coldly to Livingston's pleadings, partly because Leisler's agents had tried to discredit him, partly because it had its own borders to guard and, moreover, was planning a naval expedition against Acadia, a neighbor that was weak enough to be hopefully attacked and was trouble some and dangerous as a source of supply for hostile Indians and a shelter for French privateers. Yet Livingston prevailed in so far that Massachusetts decided that an intercolonial convention ought to be held to discuss military measures, named Rhode Island as the place of meeting, and asked Leisler to invite the southern colonies. The capital of New York, Leisler insisted, was the proper meeting-place. Massachusetts consenting to the change, he sent letters of invitation to all the colonies north of Carolina. Pennsylvania and the Jer seys paid no heed; Virginia declared that it would do noth ing until his Majesty's pleasure was known; Maryland an swered with cordial promises. It would be well, Livingston advised Massachusetts, to invite persons from Albany to en lighten the delegates, and it would be well to `check' Leisler lest he 'ruin' all. In reality, but for Leisler, but for his dili gence in correspondence, the eagerness and insistence of his pleas, there would have been no meeting at all.
At the end of March he wrote briefly to the king saying that he had fully explained the condition of the province to Bishop Burnet. To Burnet he wrote of the Schenectady disaster and the preparations for war, and complained of Connecticut for recalling its men from Albany, of East Jersey for welcoming the disaffected from New York. The city, he said, was able to repel any attack from a small French squadron which was expected to visit it in the spring. At the north a descent of 2500 Frenchmen and many allied Indians was daily looked for, and if the other colonies did not `bestir them selves' there was danger that `all the king's footing in that part of America' would be lost. In his own colony the people were very slack in `bringing up money' and in returning members for an assembly through which it might be ob tained, yet he hoped to get enough. Under stress of need and in the king's name he had taken some guns from a Dutch ship; he hoped that the owners would be reimbursed and that the king would forthwith send aid, especially in the shape of ammunition. ' That which gives life to us chiefly,' he added, `is the assistance we expect from his Majesty.' The ship that carried these letters, sailing from Boston, was captured by a French privateer.
The courts of judicature, Leisler also informed Burnet, were for the time suspended in New York because of the in sistence of military affairs. Suspended likewise was the ac tivity of the common council. Once in November, once in December, and twice in January Mayor Delanoy and his col leagues met to deal with local affairs. The lack of later min utes, in a book also used by their successors, shows that they never met again. One of their last ordinances directed that, as several persons in the city were in want and there were no means provided for their relief, the constable in each ward should make `a collection of a free gift from all the inhabit ants . . . by which the said poor may be maintained.' Another ordinance directed the publication of the acts of assembly of Dongan's time concerning the keeping of the Sabbath and the treatment of servants and slaves. The very last appointed five brant masters' or fire-wardens.
Now that Milborne was at Albany, Leisler's correspondence with Hartford resumed a friendlier tone. His scribe was probably young Abraham Gouverneur who was deputy secretary of the province under Milborne. At the beginning of April Leisler asked for and obtained permission to beat up for volunteers in Connecticut. On the 19th he heartily thanked Governor Treat for the news that his colony meant again to send troops to Albany, promised to supply them with ammunition, and enumerated the large supplies of food already sent up from Manhattan. A village only twelve miles from Albany had been raided and destroyed. This, Leisler said, would encourage the enemy unless Canada were vigorously attacked, as New York was fully determined it should be.
The first step was to get money. Again Leisler issued the writs for an assembly, and then all the counties except Suffolk held elections. Suffolk, as the justices of Easthampton explained, had asked the king to join it to Connecticut; therefore Leisler was not to impute their refusal to concur with him to `any disaffection' to his person, 'much less' to his authority ; they prayed God for his good success in the place he held. The sheriff of Ulster informed Milborne that he had not obeyed the first writs because, although he knew the election ought to be 'free for all classes,' he had been loath to admit those who had refused to take the oath to Leisler's government lest so much leaven might taint that which is sweet.' There is no way even to guess how large a proportion of the freemen went to the polls in any county; and there is no full list of the members of the only assembly unauthorized by a ducal or royal proprietor that met in New York before the time of the Revolution. Albany, it is known, returned Jan Jansen Bleeker, one of the militia captains who had always inclined to Leisler ; Schenectady returned Ryer Schermer horn; Westchester, Thomas Browne; Queen's, Nathaniel Piersoll, or Pearsoll; and New York three of its aldermen Walters, Spratt, and Cornelius Pluvier with William Beek man, the old Dutchman who must by this time have acquired prestige as one of the few persons still living who could re member the infant days of New Amsterdam.
Piersoll declined to serve; after events explain that he was a Quaker who would not make oath. Beekman begged to be excused because of his age and infirmities. The other dele gates, meeting on April 24 at Walters' house, chose as speaker John Spratt. No official record of what they did remains no record at all except brief references in Leisler's letters and a paragraph in one of Van Cortlandt's. Writing to Andros, Van Cortlandt related that after the members had sat for a few days . . . an act was made to raise throughout the whole government three pence in every pound real and personal to be paid the first of June, and that all towns and places should have equal freedom to bolt and bake and to transport where they please directly to what place or country they think it fit, anything their places afford, and that the one place should have no more privileges than the other.
This, said Van Cortlandt, was 'all what this wise assembly did' except to receive petitions for the release of the prisoners whom Leisler held.
It is certain that the tax was laid; and we have Leisler's own statement that he prorogued the assembly when he saw that it 'intended to work with the prisoners.' The letter which so says, written on April 30 to his commissioners at Albany, also says that he was sending them the new 'laws.' But, excepting Van Cortlandt's statement, no word of this or of a later time indicates that these laws annulled the Bolt ing Acts of Governor Andros's making. Most likely such a measure was introduced but was not passed or was vetoed by Leisler.
A part of this letter of Leisler's may be quoted literatim as well as verbatim to show that it is not ham' to distinguish the products of his pen from those of Jacob Milborne's. After referring to the laws he reported that `mest riars,' meaning Mr. Ryer Schermerhorn, . . . desired som guns with iff your seemeth most be taken from sloop or petrares for Schonectede with wee Desiers ma not be desertet doo It shuld kost 50 soldiers to maentain Evert Wendell Is re mained heer by min leve betas his Chelder died therefore can be ex cused the mayer and me Selvst are In continual compayni with the Comisioners we have advice off marsch off the marilanders It Is thougt the will travell by land for faer off the small poks. . . .
The 'Marylanders' were the soldiers Maryland had agreed to send to Albany. The `commissioners' were the members of the intercolonial congress or convention summoned by Leisler to discuss military affairs. This met at New York at the end of April, just when the assembly was prorogued. It was the first assemblage of its kind, for the meetings of the commissioners of the United Colonies of New England had not been in the same sense intercolonial; and it had no suc cessor until a larger congress met at Albany in the year 1754. Four colonies sent delegates, New York appointing Leisler and Delanoy, Massachusetts Samuel Sewall and William Stoughton, Connecticut Nathan Gold and William Pitkin, and Plymouth Major Walley. Rhode Island and Mary land were represented by letter.
Sewall does not explain in his famous diary why he visited New York, and says nothing of the city, of the congress, or in a descriptive way of Leisler whom he calls sometimes 'the governor' and sometimes 'Captain Leisler.' Unfortunately, Sewall was chiefly concerned with a fit of religious depression that happened to possess him and therefore, after describing his journey, remarked only upon the church services he attended in New York. On April 21st, he says, he and Stoughton and some others started from Boston on horse back for Newport. Thence, on a sloop which they hired for twelve shillings a day, they voyaged to Oyster Bay taking their saddles and bridles with them. By way of Hempstead and Jamaica they rode to Brookland ' where, on the 28th, Mr. Edsall met them 'with a file or two of troopers' and escorted them over the ferry. Sewall dined with Leisler and, being ' disturbed ' in his lodgings and `overcome by the governor's importunity,' consented to lodge at his house.
There was still much sickness in Connecticut and Massachu setts, sickness and scarcity approaching famine in Plymouth Colony, and smallpox in New York although, Leisler declared, `not so great nor mortal' as had 'been reported. The little congress held its sessions two miles out of the city, probably in or near the Bowery village, in a house which Leisler had found to be fit for `such general and great concerns . . . a good and neat house . . . where no smallpox is.' New England now felt as strongly as New York the need to strike at once at the heart of the French power, for, toward the end of March while Massachusetts was preparing its expedition against Acadia, the second of Frontenac's raiding parties had destroyed a settlement called Salmon Falls on the border between New Hampshire and Maine. Unanimously the con gress decided upon a joint expedition to strengthen' Albany and to pursue and subdue 'the French and Indian enemies of their Majesties.' Articles signed on May 1 promised that New York would supply 400 men, Massachusetts 160, Con necticut 135, and Plymouth 60, while by letter Maryland agreed to send 100 and Rhode Island no soldiers but a 'reason able proportion' of money. The lieutenant-glavernor of New York, the articles said, should appoint 'the major' (the commanding officer or major-general) of the allied forces, the New England colonies the 'next captain.' The major was to decide all 'matters of great concernment' in council of war with the other commissioned officers or so many as opportunity might permit to aid him. Without the further consent of the colonies the soldiers were to be employed in no other service than was now agreed upon. Plunder and cap tives 'if any happen' should be divided `according to the customs of war.' The officers should discountenance and punish vice, maintain the worship of God, and so far as pos sible keep the Sabbath. Such was the agreement regarding the first body of troops that could be called an American army. All the delegates signed it, but none, so Walley wrote to Governor Hinckley of Plymouth, set beside his name that of the colony he represented. Some thought that the com pact would need to be ratified by the colonial assemblies. And even Leisler understood that the promise to send a certain number of men was not a formal and inviolable pledge.
On May 4, says Sewall's diary, he went with some com panions to the Dutch church and joined in singing the psalms, which Captain Leisler had taught him the night before. On the 5th, after dining with Captain De Peyster, he started by water for Newport. Governor Leisler, Walley informed Hinckley, was 'a man that carried on some matters too arbitrary' but, he thought, was 'earnest to promote the design against the common enemy.' So Leisler himself reiterated to all his correspondents. He wrote to Hinckley that he was fitting out three vessels to go against the French, a frigate carrying 24 guns and 150 men, a brigantine, and a sloop 270 men in all; it was not yet certain that Boston would send any ships but 'ours shall go, please God, though there should go no more.' To the commissioners at Albany he wrote that Massachusetts would send ships but that it wished the New York ships to go 'under command of theirs which cannot be.' Maryland, Governor Coode wrote to Shrewsbury on May 14, would do all that it could in answer to Leisler's requests for aid against Canada. Leisler's determination that New York should do all that it could did not lessen his difficulties at Albany and increased them in the other parts of the prov ince. Not every one on Manhattan can have seen as clearly as he the immediate need for a hard and costly campaign toward which the mother-country was contributing nothing, not even a word of encouragement a campaign which would greatly interfere with the course of trade and for the sake of which heavy taxes had been imposed by a government pro visional in character and precarious in power. The first formal protest against this government that was spoken on Manhattan by persons outside the group of officials who had served under King James, the first protest sent to the home authorities after Nicholson's government disintegrated, was signed on May 19 by thirty-six persons who described them selves as 'merchants, traders, and others, the principal in habitants.' Addressed to the crown, it declared that for almost twelve months New York had groaned under a `bur then of slavery and arbitrary power' exercised by some 'ill men' who, assisted by a few others, formerly thought scarcely worthy of the meanest offices, to whom no better name than a rabble could be given, had assumed his Majesty's authority, overturned all civil power, and ruled by the sword and 'the sole will of an insolent alien, he being none of your Maj esty's subject.' Without any warrants they had imprisoned his Majesty's subjects in `dark, noisome holes,' seized estates, and plundered houses, pretending it was all for the king's service. They had scandalized and abused the ministers and rulers of the churches and seized their revenues, so that re ligion was in great danger and some of the best and most con siderable inhabitants had been forced to leave the province. Moreover, the trade of the province was almost extinguished. Therefore the petitioners besought his Majesty speedily to send 'such persons or orders' as would extend to New York protection and relief.
Four of the captains who had at first supported Leisler signed this address: Minvielle who had soon fallen away from him; De Peyster who seems still to have been on good terms with him when, only a fortnight before, he helped to enter tain Samuel Sewall; Nicholas Stuyvesant; and Charles Lod wyck who had been for some time a waverer, for, at the end of March, Leisler had written to Fitz-John Winthrop that Cap tain Lodwyck was 'quite reformed' since a recent visit to Boston and intended 'to keep better correspondence with us.' Others who signed were Brandt Schuyler, Philip French whom Leisler had released from jail, Nicholas Bayard's brother Balthazar, and Stephanus Van Cortlandt's brother Johannes. Among the rest were many who were aliens in the same sense as Leisler and, in some cases, had not been nearly as long in New York. Such were Domine Varick of Long Island, Pierre Peiret who had come in Dongan's time to assist Daille as the pastor of the French church in the city, and Stephen Delancey the Huguenot from Normandy.
From the first all the ministers except Bonrepos, the French pastor at New Rochelle, had been opposed to Leisler. They were obnoxious to him, Varick said, because they tried to per suade the people that it was unjust to call their old magistrates `traitors, papists, etc.' All that Varick himself had done, he wrote two years later to the classis of Amsterdam, was to warn an elder in his own church who was one of Leisler's chief advisers (probably Dr. Beekman) to desist from acting cruelly toward respectable people, telling him that such con duct would be his ruin as the English were greatly provoked `by their losing the fort a second time' a phrase which implies that Varick put the uprising of 1689 on a par with the Dutch reconquest of 1673. None of the ministers, says the Modest and Impartial Narrative, escaped 'the lash' of Leisler's `inveterate tongue.' But, says Loyalty Vindicated, they all preached against his government continually and bitterly ; Selyns in especial 'flung from the pulpit' everything that the `most furious partisans' could suggest to exasperate the people.
Some of the newly arrived Huguenots in and near the city were also making trouble for Leisler, asserting that the pro posed war was needless and refusing to pay taxes because, they said, the king of England had invited them into his dominions with a promise that their lives should be 'made sweet to them.' Leisler spoke of their 'ill carriage' in one of his wonderful autograph letters, written to a person in West Jersey who had made some complaint regarding a ship : Honoreth Ser, Your last is before us. having considert the Content I most allow Wath your represent to me therein. I am Sori Your vessell happent Yust at sutche theime when som Franch heer by their Il Caridg provoket the piple Whereby the was Stierd up to us Severite to prevent some off the Franch their theime. We are distrost at ouer bak and in ouer Bossm We have Men with we kannot well trost with was the Cas 2 was sesed one Clerd thoder Condemned then In formation was Brought In Court When the Suth with I kold en most noth hinder. en so se was Condemned.
Nothing was yet known in New York of the king's intentions save the bare fact of Colonel Sloughter's apixiintrilent. On May 20 Joost Stoll arrived from England with his report upon the mission he had undertaken almost a year before. The king, he said, had received him graciously but had taken no further notice of him and had appointed Captain Nicholson to high office. Bad as this news was for Leisler it troubled him much less than what he heard from Boston ten days later. The third of Frontenac's raiding partes had surprised the fortified post at Casco Bay in Maine and, as Governor Bradstreet wrote, had 'killed or captivated all the persons there, men, women, and children' ; and Massachusetts had been forced to recall the soldiers who had already started toward Albany so as to 'speed them away to the eastward.' Plymouth did the same. Only from Connecticut could New York and Maryland now hope for aid in the land attack upon Canada.
On the other hand, the disaster in Maine emphasized the need in some way to cripple if not to conquer Canada, and the success of the naval expedition that Massachusetts had sent against Acadia heartened it for another and a greater effort at sea. This expedition had started late in April, just when the intercolonial convention was assembling at New York a frigate and half a dozen smaller vessels under command of Sir William Phips. Formerly the agent of Massachusetts in England, Phips had since taken service in the royal navy, had raised a Spanish treasure ship in West Indian waters, and had come home with his share of the bullion, £16,000, and the honor of knighthood. There were now some 7000 people in Acadia but they made no organized resistance. By the end of May Phips was back at Boston bringing sixty prisoners and much booty. From Port Royal to their own settlements the `Bastonnais/ as the Acadians called all New Englanders, were masters of the coast; but their easy conquest was not to prove more permanent than the one that had been effected by Cromwell's expedition.
Leisler now wrote to Governor Treat that a person newly from England told of 'great preparations' being made in France with 'eight stout men-of-war to come to take New York and to make it strong' ; the New York ships had put to sea; he had news of Phips's 'victorious success at the eastward' ; he would send no soldiers to Albany who had not had the smallpox. Later he wrote that his ships had gone northward early in June, by themselves as no New England ships were ready. At the end of June he and his council sent another long despatch to Shrewsbury. Stoll, they said, had told them how Nicholson and Innis, reaching England before him, had been able 'to show a fair face' of an 'ill cause,' but as the king had referred the affairs of New York to Shrewsbury himself they did not doubt that truth would be vindicated. Telling again of the preparations for war, again they asked for arms and powder. As the 'malignant party' had drawn 'un expected life and vigor' from the news that the late king was holding his own in Ireland and that William had dissolved parliament, 'every wind that blows favorably on King James's part raising their billows,' it was to be feared that not half the taxes imposed by the assembly would be collected. The governor of Canada had sent an embassy to the Five Nations to restore some of the braves who had been carried captive to France; the savages, as directed from Albany, had made the Frenchmen prisoners; although they had then given four of them to four of the tribes 'to be treated in their barbarous manner,' they had sent the chief of them, the Chevalier D'Eau, and all his papers to Albany. Brought thence to New York he was now confined in Fort William. On the 6th of June some thirty-odd persons had assaulted the lieutenant governor on the street, trying to injure his person, refusing to pay the taxes, and demanding the release from prison of `certain malefactors.' A postscript to the letter said that Major Milborne had been recalled from Albany to carry it to England and to give the secretary of state a 'more particluar account of affairs,' but as 'great distractions' had broken out among the troops at Albany he could not be spared and Cap tain Blagge, a member of the council, was to go in his stead. Milborne might better have been sent. Neither he nor any one else could then have done Leisler's cause any good in England, but more than any one else Milborne did it harm in New York. Blagge carried also a brief despatch to the king calling his attention to the letter, copies of the earlier despatches that the French had intercepted, a Memorial setting forth once more the course of events 'since the news of their Majesties' happy arrival in England,' and an unusu ally large batch of affidavits.
Describing in a letter to Governor Coode the riot of June 6 Leisler said that some of his assailants tried to seize his sword while others struck at him, one with a cooper's adze intending to kill him, but that drawing his own sword he made his way through the throng and the people then flocked to his rescue. Thirty-three affidavits taken before the mayor or some other magistrate between the 6th and the 11th of June attested these details, as did also the Memorial sent with them to England. This explained that Leisler's life was saved by the populace and that some of the ringleaders were then seized and imprisoned, but : This riotous action of the malcontents occasioned a further tumult of ill consequence to themselves, for the country people, upon a rumor that the government was in danger by the rising of the dis affected party, flocked into the city armed in great numbers, and notwithstanding the efforts of the magistrates to appease them, they took the liberty (as is too usual with an enraged multitude) to perpe trate revenge on those which were the occasion of their coming, quartering themselves in their houses for two days and committing divers insolences upon them, much to the dissatisfaction of the magis trates till they could persuade them to return quiet to their houses. . . .
This was a more serious riot than any that the Leislerians had begun, the most serious that occurred during the long two years of uncertainty and disturbance. According to Leisler the score of persons arrested mostly English but including Brandt Schuyler and two or three other Dutchmen were offered their liberty if they would pay a fine and bind themselves to good behavior; about half of them accepted; the rest, refusing, remained in confinement. As their friends; says the Memorial, sent them provisions 'in a superabundant and extraordinary manner, designedly to affront the governor,' they were forbidden to have anything brought in and were kept on bread and water, but only for two days after which they had what provisions they pleased.
The ordinance calling for these arrests, issued by the lieu tenant-governor in council the day after the riot, said that the rioters had resisted the militia and hindered the proclamation of orders to keep strict watch in the city and to complete its fortifications; moreover, an intended plot for a rising to release the prisoners in the fort had been discovered through a letter of Bayard's found in the hands of his wife, who had been brought before the council. Therefore, being informed of the trouble in Ireland and fearing an invasion by the enemy, the government renewed the proclamation put forth by the people of New York on June 3, 1689, and directed that it be signed by all who did not wish to be thought 'enemies to king and country' and to be treated accordingly. As this meant a fresh recognition of Leisler's government another exodus followed. Domine Varick was one of those who fled, going to the Delaware country. Returning after a time he was then charged with speaking treasonable words and was sentenced by the mayor's court to remain in confinement until he should pay a penalty of £80. At the end of five months he was released without payment. He was not imprisoned, says his own letter to the classis of Amsterdam, like his fellow-suf ferers `with nailed up windows,' or underground, or with irons on his legs; he was in a 'lighted chamber' with the Chevalier D'Eau from whom he 'thankfully learned French.' The city pastor, Domine Selyns, was never actually disturbed but, it was said by his friends, was abused in his church by Leisler himself and 'threatened to be silenced.' Among the papers taken from D'Eau was a letter from one Jesuit to another which spoke with praise of Domine Dellius of Albany. This sufficed to confirm the suspicions of the Leislerians that Del lius was in treasonable correspondence with the French. He was summoned to New York but escaped and made his way to Boston with the intent to return at once to Holland.
Even Bayard and Nicolls, Loyalty Vindicated affirms, were imprisoned 'without barbarity . . . and not in a nasty gaol but in handsome lodgings' which were afterwards thought fit for government employees 'to lodge and keep office in.' It was true that Bayard was kept in irons, but this he well de served for his aversion to the revolution, disturbance of the peace, and attacks on Captain Leisler; 'nor could it be safe to admit such fire-brands to bail.' The cruelties charged against Leisler were no worse than those charged against the Bostonians by the officials whom they kept in prison so long. Judge Palmer's Impartial Ac count of the State of New England spoke of the 'horrible usage' that Andros and his companions had suffered. After Andros attempted to escape he was lodged in the castle in the harbor, and here, Randolph wrote to the Lords of Trade, his jailer treated him as the 'worst of malefactors,' keeping him and Graham in a very small room without a fire where the rain soaked through the walls so that the water sometimes lay six inches deep on the floor. Randolph himself, he thanked God, was better off, having 'a little place in the common gaol,' but was in danger of being 'stunk up' by the filling of the jail with poor prisoners, especially wounded men who were left to `rot and perish' for want of any one to dress their wounds. Nor, indeed, judged by any general standard, by any account of the treatment usually meted out to prisoners in England or America in Leisler's time, can his practices be called unduly severe. It may again be said that while he held power no life was taken in a street brawl or by judicial or military exe cution, and that except in a street brawl or by some hasty exclamation no life was threatened.
Domine Varick declared that his wife had had to 'fly with everything' because of constant threats of pillage. Threats of this kind seem to have far outrun and outnumbered cor responding deeds. The charges of robbery loudly brought against Leisler and his agents are seldom more specific than the charges of papistry and treason which they laid against their enemies, and when specific were not very black. For example, even the writers of the Modest and Impartial Narra tive could find nothing worse to say of the day of excitement when Bayard was arrested than that, when he was dragged from the house where he had hidden himself, 'in that riotous tumult were stolen three silver spoons' while in searching Van Cortlandt's house 'most of his doors and locks' were `spoiled.' It had never been proved, says Loyalty Vindicated, could never be proved, and was 'point blank a lie' that Leisler ever gave directions to plunder Bayard's house; the soldiers were strictly forbidden to plunder any one and were com pelled to restore whatever they took, on one occasion 'even so small a matter as a hat.' When Leisler was fitting out his little men-of-war, Van Cortlandt wrote to Andros, he laid an embargo on all provi sions, ordered all guns and powder, all beef, pork, flour, and pease, to be carried to the fort or aboard the vessels, against the will of the owners, breaking open their cellars and making no price with them but saying that as soon as the war was over they should be paid; if he supposed a man indebted for arrearages in Dongan's or Andros's time, without making sure or going to law he took his goods ; the money which years before had been left over after Leisler himself and 'the other slaves in Turkey' were redeemed, and which had then been given to the fund for a new Dutch church, the church warden had invested in Holland in linens, and these Leisler seized and sent to Albany. Usual, necessary, laudable measures of war, Loyalty Vindicated explains. It was true that Leisler ordered the merchants to supply the garrison; otherwise it might have perished. But that he 'honestly gave them credit in the king's books' was proved by the fact that in after years they were for the most part paid. When they were `refractory' he broke open their storehouses. But `exact accounts' were kept of these goods also, and `entries made in books kept for that purpose so that it was not plunder.' di And meanwhile Leisler was spending for the public good a large part of his own fortune.
These statements are corroborated by the accounts kept for Leisler's government, by the warrants he issued in coun cil for the opening of warehouses, and by other papers show ing that he respected property rights as far as the exigencies of the time seemed to him to permit. One of these many papers is a careful inventory taken on the king's behalf of a large number of articles, once belonging to a Jesuit missionary, which had been found in the office of the receiver of the king's revenues at Albany, Robert Livingston articles ranging in value from a priest's surplice and a 'handsome pair of women's hose' to such things as `two old chisels' and 'one crooked nippers.' The revolutionary government of Massachusetts, to draw comparisons once more, likewise excited discontent by laying taxes, establishing an excise, forcing open warehouses, and pressing for the public use all sorts of goods, to such an ex tent, say letters sent to England at the time, that the 'com mon people' would have been glad to have Governor Andros back again.