THE FALL OF LEISLER The said Ingoldsby upon his arrival had sent . . . to demand the fort of the said Governor Leisler, showing nevertheless not the slightest order from his Majesty or the Colonel Sloughter, whereupon this was refused by the said Leisler unless they would first show him evidence of the order of the king or at least of the governor appointed. Affidavit of Kiliaen Van Rensselaer. 169L Although Leisler had been empowered by the congress to name the commander of the allied army, the choice, Living ston wrote to the Connecticut government, ought not to be left in his hands 'upon pretence of sending up most men.' Their soldiers would not easily be commanded by such per sons as Leisler would nominate; it was doubtful, indeed, whether any of his 'creatures' was capable of holding such a trust. Albany and New England, whose interests were 'in separable,' ought to manage all their own affairs without consulting New York. It was a pity that they had concerned themselves at all with those who were utterly ignorant how to deal with the Indians. Leisler ought to be made to recall Mil borne from Albany as the savages never changed their mind about any one whom they disliked.
Late in May Leisler issued to Milborne a commission as commander-in-chief. Connecticut induced Massachusetts to support its protest. Milborne, John Allyn explained on behalf of his colony, was 'short in parentage and most gener ous respects' whereas the 'surviving Winthrops,' on their ancestors' as well as on their own account, had been and were expected to be 'beloved and famous and also successful in New England and all America' ; for years Fitz-John Winthrop had commanded the militia of Connecticut; in every way he was the fittest person for the post in question; but, as the Con necticut soldiers had a 'disgust' for Milborne, if Leisler would not appoint Winthrop then let it be some other person, 'the most considerable you have.' Leisler answered politely and consented to the change, protesting only that Allyn's 'par ticular disgust' for Milborne was a matter of no moment, every one in New York knowing Milborne as a 'fore-seeing, prudent, and courageous person' who would have drawn the love of the soldiers. Governor Treat then gave Winthrop a com mission as commander.
Upon pain of prosecution for breaking his trust as receiver of the king's revenue Livingston had been summoned to Albany to explain why no registers or excise books of recent date had been found among his papers. Because he refused, he wrote to Nicholson who was now installed in Virginia, his estate had been seized; 'forced to abscond' like 'Brother Cort landt ' and many other gentlemen, he had stayed at Hartford and had not seen his family for three months; contrary to expectation Colonel Winthrop had consented to take com mand of the army; it was feared that 'our tyrant' meant to make his escape as soon as he had collected the taxes laid by his 'pretended assembly,' sailing for Guinea or the South Sea on one of the vessels fitted out ostensibly to go against the French. Livingston hoped this might be prevented. Shortly before, he had complained that the people of Albany were being impoverished by feeding two hundred and twenty men whom Leisler had sent up from Manhattan without provisions. Now he implied that the men were not so numerous. If a governor did not speedily come, he said, the whole country might be lost, for . . . all goes to confusion, all the eastern parts lost and destroyed, no ships ready to make an assault on Quebec as was proposed, no army by land; the few sorry and despicable fellows that Leisler sent up as soldiers to Albany, most of them being boys, die like rotten sheep of the bloody flux by the fishy pork that Leisler robbed of the merchants, upon pretence to press it for the king's service. . . . 0 brave doings when all New England must come like servants to truckle to such an usurping tyrant ! Livingston was not alone in fancying that Leisler meant to run away to escape a punishment that he knew he deserved. He was going, wrote one Thomas Newton at Boston, with a pirate whose ship he was holding in the harbor of New York. It could hardly be doubted, Fitz-John Winthrop informed his brother Wait in June, that Leisler would soon 'give the bag,' which would 'reproach the correspondence with him and occasion many inconveniences ' ; he wondered how those concerned in the government of the several colonies could be `so blind and deluded with such an one '; it was a great dishonor and besides a mischief to the management of affairs at this juncture.' Of course Leisler had no faintest idea of absconding. Everything that he wrote shows his firm belief that everything he was doing would find favor in the eyes of the king. With perfect confidence he reported to the authori ties in England all his acts and intentions, and as confidently gave his reasons for them. He was sure that he could not better please the governing powers than by pressing the war against Canada; and his willingness to put a New Englander in the place for which he had selected his favorite Milborne is one among the many proofs of his sincere desire to insure success. But to all this the Connecticut men were blinded by the impertinence of Milborne's pen and by the true and the false accusations of Livingston and of Van Cort landt whom Governor Treat received under his own roof at Hartford.
On June 20 Leisler informed Treat that, according to the power conferred by the congress, he had sent to Albany a blank commission for 'that excellent person Major-General Winthrop.' Ten days later he wrote that his prisoner, the Chevalier D'Eau, had told him that the French and English were of one mind the whole country must belong to the one or the other; the French expected ten or twelve men-of-war; they might already have arrived; if they came it would cer tainly be before August, and as certainly they would give the English 'much work.' We are ready for them,' Leisler added, ' and hope at Albany they will behave themselves like men and let not one escape.' Both he and D'Eau, he in formed his commissioners at Albany, wished it were possible to prevent the cruelties of the Iroquois `against the French women and children ' ; French ships were expected; 'the news of Colonel Sloughter is quite vanished.' French privateers raided Block Island at this time, threat ened the shores of Connecticut, and captured two New York vessels. All others, says one of Leisler's commissions, were afraid to 'budge.' It was even believed that a party of armed Frenchmen had been seen on Shooter's Island in New York harbor. Both the shipping and the ammunition of Connecticut had been sent away, wrote Governor Treat on July 22; if in this 'time of great need' Leisler would sell his colony some powder and would send 'vessels of force' to expel the enemy, it would be a service to God, king, and country that should never be forgotten. Leisler had then already sent a mounted party to the east end of Long Island for news, ordered the militia of the island to be on the alert, and commissioned four vessels which soon cleared the coast of the privateers.
The journal of a certain Cuthbert Potter who made at this time an overland journey from Virginia to New England says that in July he saw most of the 'honest gentlemen' of New York, who were longing for Governor Sloughter's arrival, and that Leisler had called upon all the people to join in the common defence and they had 'responded.' On July 14 Winthrop had started from Hartford to take command of the allied army. The troops he brought with him raised the Connecticut contingent to 200 white men and 40 Indians. Mayor Schuyler, he found, was at Saratoga trying to get more Indians and the canoes needed for crossing Lake Champlain. Everything was in confusion, he reported to Treat, 'the design against Canada poorly contrived and little prosecuted' and further embarrassed by the ' misunderstanding ' between Leisler's commissioners and the ' principal inhabitants.' The designs of Connecticut and New York were different; the New Yorkers had led Connecticut `too cunningly into an associa tion just to serve their extremity' and now would hardly confess that they were under obligations for its generous assistance. Moreover, . . . your army is much disabled with sickness ; the smallpox, the fever and flux is very mortal. . . . I cannot depend upon above 130 soldiers fit for service. . . . The disadvantage of doing with unreasonable men wholly tied up to their own interest is cruel; and such you have to do with and 'tis not worth your while to flatter yourselves otherwise. The snake never hurts more than when it lies under a secure shade. Such has been your favor to shadow the worst of vipers. . . . It looks almost impossible to the soldiers; however, that no defect may be at your door I have given orders to march on the 30th instant.
Winthrop's dislike for Leisler and his reluctance to have any dealings with him accentuate the fact that he would never have engaged in the war had he really believed that it merely `served the extremity' of New York. He had said that the interests of Albany and Connecticut were identical; and he had written his brother that one man in five in Connecticut ought to go to the front, as he himself was going, 'to save our coun try and so our interest which else with others' is lost forever.' Moreover, the New Englanders, like the Leislerians, thought to win the approbation of the crown by a vigorous defence of its interests. They also hoped to gain control of the western fur trade. And no more than Leisler did they dare to wait for any aid that England might eventually be induced to give : their borders and coasts were too seriously threatened, reports of the advent of a French fleet seemed too credible, and the Iroquois had too plainly shown that they would resent a policy of inaction. It is easy to fancy what the Connecticut men would have called Leisler if he had said, as Livingston said, that Albany and New England ought to manage their own affairs without consulting him.
Under Winthrop's wing Livingston had ventured to return to Albany. The Leislerians did not trouble him, and at his house Winthrop fixed his headquarters. This was hardly a step toward concord and good feeling. Moreover, if Leisler may be believed, Winthrop lost no chance to ignore or to insult the Leislerian commissioners. On the 31st, however, Winthrop accepted his commission as issued by Lieutenant Governor Leisler, and signed with his representatives a set of articles for the conduct of the war, very much the same as those that the congress had drawn up.
The force under his command was not nearly as large as the congress had promised, yet it could fairly be called an American army. It was drawn from only three colonies, New York, Connecticut, and Maryland; but these three represented the three groups of colonies, middle, northern, and southern, that were to achieve a common independence by the War of the Revolution. Virginia had explained, when invited to the congress, that it could do nothing until a governor should come and the assembly meet. Leisler must have lost all hope that it would do anything when he learned that its new governor was Francis Nicholson.
It may seem that even a much stronger army would have had little chance of success under leaders who hated and dis trusted an ally as Winthrop and the Albany men hated and distrusted Leisler. But in spite of their fears and their feuds all did their best. The difficulties that conquered them are clearly described by Winthrop in his official letters and a fragmentary Journal of the Expedition to Canada.
At Albany he had expected to find 400 soldiers from Man hattan well equipped and provided, but found only 150 besides 'the principal gentlemen, burghers, and boors vol unteers' of Albany County who had generously offered to serve their king, 'most of them upon their own charge,' and were already assembling at Wood's Creek near the head of Lake Champlain. Here Winthrop ordered the Connecticut men to join them and the whole army to encamp. New York, it may be noted, had furnished its full contingent. It was not Manhattan, it was the province at large, that was pledged to send 400 men.
On August 4 it was decided to march forward from the upper Hudson where it was fordable. The provisions of the Connecticut men were then divided about thirty-five cakes of bread for each soldier 'besides pork which was scarcely eat able.' On the 5th, having no canoes, they marched on horse back to the 'great carrying place' where they overtook the Dutch companies . . . carrying their canoes and provision over this carrying place on their backs about twelve English miles, very bad and difficult pass ing. This hardship the Dutch soldiers performed vigorously and without one repining, which made me think nothing would be diffi cult for them to perform. Our way this day a continued swamp abounding with exceeding tall white pine fit to mast any ship ; no grass for our horses.
On the 6th the horses could go no farther. Smallpox broke out, supplies ran short, and the Iroquois failed to support the enterprise they had been the first to propose. The Mohawks and Oneidas, who had promised to send 300 warriors and the needful canoes, sent only 70 warriors and not canoes enough to carry half the white men, while the more westerly nations, who had promised a thousand braves, sent none at all, giving smallpox as the excuse. It was a 'deceit so great' on the part of the Iroquois, said Winthrop, that it could not 'be interpreted by the most skilful of the burghers and those of most ancient and intimate friendship with them.' The council of war soon saw that the white men by themselves were not strong enough to enter Canada and had not food enough to wait until the fleet that was to sail from Boston might reasonably be expected in the St. Lawrence. The `burghers and boors volunteers,' says Winthrop, who made `near half the army,' and the men from Manhattan were of the same opinion. On August 15 it was decided to return to Albany.
By the advice of the savages, although he himself does not so say, Winthrop then ordered Johannes Schuyler, a brother of the mayor, to take a band of Indians and some forty Dutch volunteers, these being the 'most acceptable' of the whites to their red allies, and to push northward to the fortified French settlement at La Prairie de Madeleine, about ten leagues beyond the end of the lake. The eagerness of the Indians as they approached their goal destroyed all hope of a successful attack upon the fort, but the raiders killed twelve or more of the people whom they found at work in the fields, took a number of prisoners, and destroyed hay crops, barns, and cattle. It was a daring raid, for La Prairie lay just opposite Montreal ; and Schuyler managed it skilfully, bringing off his party with the loss of only one white man and half a dozen Indians. It was at least a partial revenge for the Schenectady massacre. But it was all that the long-considered and costly expedition accomplished. When Schuyler's party reached Albany on August 30 Winthrop was already there with the rest of the army, many of his soldiers sick and lame.
For the fatal defection of the Iroquois the white men were not to blame except in so far as their dissensions and re criminations had weakened their influence. Each faction had tried to encourage the savages, and Leisler had sent them all the arms he had to give. Nor does any one seem to have been to blame for failing in the difficult, unaccustomed work of feeding an army on a march through a wilderness. In all the northern colonies provisions were at the moment scarce, muni tions of war still scarcer. Leisler did all that persuasion or force could effect to send supplies of both kinds to Albany where Milborne had charge of the New York commissariat. At Albany, so the local authorities had written to Livingston, there was no meat to be had only bread and pease. Nor could the white men make, as they thought of doing, the canoes that the savages failed to supply; at that season of the year the bark would not peel. Even Winthrop seems not to have blamed Leisler for the common calamity, but in dis tant Virginia Nicholson thought himself competent to write to the Lords of Trade that the attack on Canada had failed because Leisler had not supplied Winthrop with canoes and provisions as he had promised.
If, however, Nicholson slandered Leisler, more loudly Leis ler slandered Winthrop. Up to the moment of defeat, of bitter disappointment, he had shown toward his Connecticut allies a better spirit than their own. Now he lost all sense'of reason and justice whether before or after he met Jacob Milborne at Albany may be guessed but not affirmed. To Albany he hastened as soon as he heard of the return of the troops. Laying the blame of the failure upon Winthrop and the commissary of Connecticut he ordered them under arrest. The Indians understood as well as the army itself why it had retreated, and as imperatively as the Connecticut troops they demanded Winthrop's release. As a favor to the Iroquois, Leisler explained, he set the two prisoners free, requiring that Winthrop should come to New York for examination.
When the arrest was known at Hartford, Treat and his colleagues, writing to urge the prisoners' timely and honor able release,' reminded Leisler that the articles for the con duct of the campaign had promised that there should be no attempt to overrule the decisions of the commander and the council of war. Furthermore, they said, . . . the army being confederate, if you be so concerned, so are we and the rest, and that you alone should judge upon the general's and council of war's actions will infringe our liberty, but that which is worst in event is, that such actions will render our friendly corre spondence too weak to join in future attempts which we may have but too much occasion for, for if sending our best friends to join with you prove a pitfall for them, it will necessitate our future forbearance whatever the consequence is. And Sir, you necessitate us to tell you
that a prison is not a catholicon for all State maladies, though so much used by you . . . nor could you in any one action have more disobliged all New England.
This temperate and reasonable letter Leisler answered with one of Milborne's most offensive productions, but not until nearly a month later when he and Milborne were again at New York. From the first, the letter said, Winthrop had be haved in an 'unaccountable and unchristian manner ' ; he had discouraged the soldiers and `peremptorily' forbidden that any should go forward except Johannes Schuyler's party of raiders who had certified that if they had been four times as numerous they could have taken Montreal itself ; he had not lived up to the high character given him but, as the New Yorkers had been told to their sorrow, was 'one who lives in open adulteries in despite of your laws' and who had com mitted other crimes 'which are the ruin of civil government without the least mark or sign of repentance.' And there had been 'more than ordinary juggling' by others than Win throp : the Connecticut government had ordered him not to proceed without the Indians, Livingston had induced the Indians to hold aloof, and Winthrop had 'answered the plot.' Doubtless he would not keep his promise to come to New York for examination; but this was to be expected when the `dictators' of Connecticut had heaped ' indignities and shams' upon the government of New York and 'spit in our faces within our jurisdiction.' Such actions would one day `sadly reflect' upon a people who professed Christianity ' so eminently beyond others.' It behooved those who had not 'struck hands' with the offenders to arise and show that they did not partake of their 'abominations.' Connecticut preserved its dignity, making no direct reply. In October its general court decided that Winthrop's conduct had been in all ways commendable, condemned his confine ment at Albany as dishonoring to all New England, thanked him for his good services, and gave him £40.
In hope of aid from the mother-country the Bostonians had long delayed their naval expedition against Quebec. Their appeals brought no replies, a sloop they sent to England for powder got none. William's government had sent a strong squadron to the West Indies, stores to Bermuda, and a gov ernor to Virginia. To New York it sent nothing, to New Eng land only a ship to get masts and spars for the royal navy. At last, on August 9, a few days after Winthrop started north ward from Albany, the fleet set sail more than thirty ves sels commanded by Sir William Phips and carrying about 2200 men. Almost all were from Massachusetts, a few from Ply mouth. Although for the most part fishermen and farmers, they might have taken Quebec had they come sooner. But the voyage was long, for the pilots were unfamiliar with the difficult course. Frontenac, who had gone to Montreal to deal with Winthrop's army, had time to hear of its retreat and to return to Quebec before, on October 5, the New Englanders arrived. Bravely enough but with small intelligence and no success Phips tried a summons to surrender, a bombardment, and a land attack. Many of his ships were injured by the fire from the fort. As in the army, provisions ran short and smallpox and dysentery broke out. Tempests and very cold weather added their terrors; and the damaged vessels, to save themselves from destruction, straggled down the river and slowly straggled homeward. Phips reached Boston late in November, some of his companions not until February. They had burned a French post on Anticosti Island and intercepted a few French supply ships. For these small successes they paid a ruinous price. Several of their ships were never heard from; nine hundred or a thousand men died of disease or were drowned or frozen; to meet its debts Massa chusetts was compelled to issue paper money, and thus it sowed the seeds of a long-lived crop of financial and commercial troubles.
So ended the first attempt at intercolonial cooperation in warfare in a great disappointment on land, a great disaster at sea. If Canada had been shown that the English colonies could unite against it, the lesson had not been very impres sively taught; and it had also been shown that, for a time at least, they could expect little support from their mother country. All of them, north and south, were now disheartened and apprehensive. New England was as little certain of the king's intentions as New York, and the internal troubles of New York and its difficulties with Connecticut were aggra vated alike by the common failure. Frontenac judged wisely when he wrote home that it was the time for Louis XIV to strike: Now . . . that the king has triumphed over his enemies by land and water, and that he is master of the seas, would he consider some squadrons of his fleet badly employed in punishing the insolence of these veritable and old parliamentarians of Boston; in storming them, as well as those of Manath, in their dens and conquering these two towns, whereby would be secured the entire coast, the fisheries of the Great Bank, the preservation of which is of no small impor tance nor of slight utility. . . . This would be the true and perhaps the only way of bringing the wars of Canada to an end; for when the English are conquered we can easily reduce the Iroquois to complete submission.
The king of England, Frontenac said in another letter, meaning the exiled James, must be 'the first to desire the chastisement and reduction of those rebels and old repub lican leaven of Cromwell,' for they had never heartily recog nized the authority of his late brother and had 'declared openly against himself.' It was fortunate for the English colonies that Frontenac's master found his hands just then overfull with European affairs. By his order all plans for an immediate attack upon New York and New England were abandoned although not all preparations for such a move at some future day.
Leisler's little squadron of one twenty-gun ship (the first New York man-of-war), a brigantine which, it was said, be longed to De Peyster and had been 'pressed' for the king's service, and a Bermuda sloop, also pressed, had not joined the New England fleet. Ordered to attack Canada on their own account and to make what prizes they could at sea, Cap tain Mason of the twenty-gun ship acting as admiral, they devastated Port Royal which had revolted after Phips took it. Leisler's men-of-war, wrote James Lloyd a merchant of Boston, had made a 'desolation' in Acadia. Along the coast they burned eighty French fishing shallops and destroyed great stores of fish; and they brought back to New York six prizes including a ship of a hundred and fifty tons and another of two hundred. On one of these was found a letter from the French king saying that he would send no more troops to Canada that year. A court of admiralty in which Mayor Delanoy presided duly condemned the prizes, Milborne act ing as attorney-general to exhibit the libels and as vendue master to sell the vessels. One brought £500, one £750. The usual 'king's tenths' were reserved.
Much more money than this Leisler needed, and only through the assembly could he hope to get it. Prorogued in April, the house had met again on September 15. Writs had been issued for new elections to return an additional member for Albany County and to fill the seats of Piersoll of Queen's and Beekman of New York who had not served at the first session, and of Browne of Westchester who had since died. Again no list of members survives. John Spratt still served as speaker. The new tax imposed was threepence in the pound on all estates real and personal, half to be paid by the 21st of January, half by the 25th of March. Assessors and collectors were to be elected to execute this act. Another prescribed that any person refusing to accept civil or mili tary office should pay a fine of £75, and that without special license no inhabitant of Albany or Ulster County should leave the county or export any merchandise except furs, grain, or `other necessaries.' These measures received Leisler's signa ture as lieutenant-governor. A third, which did not, con firmed to the inhabitants of the province 'the full privilege and benefits' of his Majesty's laws, promising a lawful trial to all imprisoned persons and to all fugitives accused of any crime if they would return within three weeks.
At this time Domine Selyns wrote to Holland that Domine Dellius of Albany was intending to return to the fatherland to give the classis of Amsterdam a 'detailed report of every thing'; Varick and Selyns himself had suffered more than was credible and were forced to 'cultivate patience ' ; and they had resolved that, unless the Lord inclined the heart of his Maj esty to send over some one who could tranquillize the coun try, they also would return to Holland or else, like Elias, hide themselves 'in the wilderness and administer the service of Christ ultra Garamantos et Indos.' On October 20, when the result of the New England naval expedition was not yet known, Leisler and his councillors wrote again to Shrewsbury and briefly to the king, calling his Majesty's attention to the fact that it was the fourth time that they had humbly shown what it had been their duty to do for the preservation of the province from 'the intestive rage and foreign forces of the enemy.' Giving Shrewsbury an account of the success of the New York ships and of the failure of the land expedition, they laid the blame for this upon the dila toriness and pusillanimity of Winthrop. In spite of their reverses, they said, they were 'in good posture' to defend themselves and might be 'without peril' should the naval enterprise against Quebec succeed. Otherwise their forces at Albany must be increased, and so they were daily `beating up for volunteers.' The councillors who signed this letter were Mayor Delanoy, Captain De Bruyn, Dr. Samuel Staats, Johannes Provoost, Gerrit Duyckinck, Hendrick Van Vuerden, Robert Lecock, and Jacob Mauritz. With some of these names there appear on an ordinance of a few days' later date the names of Samuel Edsall, William Lawrence, and Dr. Gerardus Beekman. Thus a number of the most prominent of Leisler's earliest compan ions in revolution were still at his side although De Bruyn was the only one of the five militia captains of 1689 who so remained. Henry Cuyler had died. Jacob Mauritz had been of the party from the first but, as he was a sea-captain, had not always been at hand Captain Blagge was still in England whither he had carried the despatches written in June. Nothing had yet been heard of him or of them.
In the stead of the three commissioners whom Leisler had sent up from Manhattan he now empowered five residents of Albany County, among them Captain Staats, Ryer Scher merhorn, and Johannes Wendell, to administer and control all its public affairs, to manage all negotiations with the Five Nations, and 'to depress and discountenance' all persons who had protested against the proclamation of their Majesties and all their 'adherents and abettors.' An experienced Indian agent, Aernout Viele, was commissioned to reside among the Iroquois at their 'court' at Onondaga, there to deal with them as directed by the Albany authorities or, in case of need, by his own judgment. Wendell was appointed mayor of Albany in Peter Schuyler's stead, and a new set of aldermen and assistants were elected, says the only entry for the year in the Albany records, on October 14, 1690, `when Jacob Leis ler had usurped the government.' In this part of the province, it may well be believed, a major ity of the people hated Leisler more hotly than ever, but they no longer tried to resist him even by written protests. From Manhattan his chief adversaries had fled, and here his hold upon the people at large seems to have been little if at all im paired. In October the Dutch church at Harlem, which had steadily adhered to him, even broke off its connection with Domine Selyns. There was, however, a new centre of dis affection. In October many of the Englishmen of Queen's County on Long Island rose in arms, denouncing Leisler's government. By a proclamation prepared in council he de clared that the malicious 'speeches and insinuations' of the ringleaders were tempting some of the soldiers at Albany to withdraw from their duty and were thus endangering the safety of the province at a moment when its frontiers greatly needed defence ; all persons must return at once `to their allegiance and respective habitations' or be held responsible for the consequences of the war with the common enemy. Another order postponed the meeting of the court. of quarter sessions of Queen's until the 'rebels' should be reduced to obedience. A third directed Milborne to reduce them, taking what men he could immediately gather and using ' all violence and act of hostility' a phrase which, in a document framed in imperfect English, need not be construed as meaning more than that force must be used if necessary. Milborne then scattered the insurgents while Edsall and Thomas _Williams went by water along the shores of Long Island Sound to intercept and seize the fugitives.
A Memorial addressed to King William's secretary of state on November 7 and prepared by Captain John Clapp as so instructed by 'divers of the freeholders' of Newtown, Hemp stead, Flushing, and Jamaica, begged relief for the English men of Long Island from the 'usurped power and tyrannical proceedings of Jacob Leisler and his accomplices' whose 'ex orbitant wills and devilish lusts' were inflicting all manner of cruelties. This 'bold usurper' had collected to himself a `rabble of the worst men' headed by three or four 'as disso lute of life, as desperate of fortunes as the most wicked and poorest of the sons of men can be,' chief among them Jacob Milborne and Samuel Edsall: These two foregoing base villains with their collected rabble in a barbarous and inhuman manner came over from New York to Long Island and there did break open, plunder, and destroy the houses and estates of their Majesties' subjects in a most rude and barbarous manner, not regarding age or sex, stripping our wives and daughters of their wearing apparel, carrying away with them all that was port able, shooting at and wounding divers poor Englishmen (some deemed mortally wounded) ; whose rage and fury yet stopped not here but flew so far as to sequester our estates and expose them to sale, a piece of tyranny yet unknown to freeborn English subjects. . . .
As a result of these proceedings, and as a punishment for refusing to pay an 'illegal tax,' a hundred and four persons `of the chiefest and best estates on Long Island' had been driven from their homes and dispossessed of their free holds, the 'tyrant' turning his plunderings to his own uses. The Memorial said nothing of the armed upris ing that Milborne and Edsall had been ordered to sup press. No existing document tells from the Leislerian point of view how much force they used, how much plun dering they permitted.
During the last months of 1690, to judge from the paucity of documents of any kind, New York lay in a sort of exhausted lethargy, the one thought in every man's mind, When will Governor Sloughter come? Yet Leisler did not forget that in the spring a stronger army might be needed at the north. In King's County and on Manhattan, he directed, courts-martial should examine into the condition of the militia and the con duct of officers and men; in Ulster County eighty or a hundred men `complete in arms' must be made ready to go to Albany at the beginning of the year.
Although Connecticut had not answered the outrageous letter about Fitz-John Winthrop, Leisler had since proposed that representatives of the two colonies should meet at Rye near their border-line to consult about the defence of the frontier. On January 1, 1691, Milborne again his scribe, he wrote that he had waited long for a reply to this proposal. He would have been unfaithful to the king's interest and the public weal if he had not dealt plainly with persons who had broken their covenant, had ' invaded ' his province, and, in so far as they could, had defeated the undertakings to over come their Majesties' enemies. These persons, moreover, had supported Mr. Livingston and other refugees when ' called to justice' in New York, and they had not seen fit to ' make good' the provisions, ammunition, and other `disbursements ' supplied by New York upon their orders and promises. They recommended that Albany be well guarded, yet, while they cried out `like condemned fiends fearing to be tormented before their time,' they would do nothing to ward off the danger. They fancied that if they could but `patch up something looking loyal' it would `answer the calls' of their God and their prince and the trust that their country reposed in them, but they should not make the mistake of thinking `such fig-leaves sufficient covering ' for their `strenuous evils.' It was unjust to attribute to Leisler the losses of all New England for which he was in no way respon sible, but it mattered nothing to him `whether Don Quixote encounters with a flock of sheep or windmills.'