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THOMAS DONGAN AND THE NEW YORK CHARTER 1682–1688.*
SUBSEQUENT to the return of Sir until 1674, when he was made ColEdmund Andros to England in 1681, onel. Meanwhile he had served for Colonel Thomas Dongan was com- some time in Nancy and had taken missioned Governor of the Duke of part in the campaigns against HolYork's Province of New York. He land. After the treaty of Nimeguen was a descendant of an ancient Irish in 1678, an order was issued for the Catholic family, and was the young: return of all English subjects then est of the three sons of Sir John Don- serving under the French crown to gan, Baronet, of Castletown, County their homes. Concerning this recall Kildare. His mother was a sister of Colonel Dongan wrote that he was Richard Talbot, who became Earl of obliged to relinquish "that honorable Tyrconnel and later Lieutenant Gov
and advantageous post, and resisted ernor of Ireland. He was born at the temptations of greater preferthe family home in Ireland in 1634, ment then offered him if he would and was early trained to the profes- remain there; for which reason the sion of arms. The Dongans favored French king commanded him to leave the Stuarts, and when Charles I. was France in forty-eight hours and rebeheaded in 1649, the family removed fused to pay him a debt of sixty-five to France. Young Dongan entered thousand livres then due to him for the French army and received a com- remits and arrears upon an assessmission from Louis XIV. in an Irish ment rendered him by the intendant regiment composed chiefly of adher- of Nancy." ents of the unfortunate king. He rose
The Duke of York was evidently through all the commissioned ranks familiar with his career, for he inter
“ The Memorial History of New York."
ested himself in his behalf and urged regular frequenter of the court and a him to enter the English military es- man of society. tablishment. It appears that he was Dongan had now arrived at the appointed to high rank in the army mature age of forty-eight. He was then designated for service in Fland- familiar with military affairs and was ers, and an annual pension of £500 experienced in the administration of was conferred on him for life in con- government. His foreign career had sideration of his losses in France. given him a knowledge of men of He did not, however, enter active different types, and being of the same
religious faith as the Duke of York, he naturally shared with him any ambitions that he might have in extending the Catholic religion in the New World. He was therefore chosen by his royal patron to be "Governor of the Duke of York's province of New York." The appointment was sidered a good one, not only on account of Dongan's personal qualities, but also because of the necessity of selecting a governor who was familiar with the French character and therefore competent to manage with skill the English interests, then in a precarious condition owing to the delicate relations between New York and Canada. Moreover, it was believed that his acquaintance with the Dutch, gained by his services in Holland, would make him considerate of their interests and therefore accept
able to them. service, for in the same year (1678) His commission, which bore the he was sent to Tangier, Africa, under date of September 30, 1682, made him Lord Inchiquin, as Lieutenant-Gov- Governor of “all that part of ye ernor of that place. Two years later
Maine land of New England beginhe was recalled. Then, after a short ning at a certaine place called or visit to Ireland, he came to London knowne by the name of St. Croix at the invitation of his patron, the next adjoyneing to New Scotland in Duke of York. For a time he was a America and from thence extending
along ye Sea Coast unto a certaine island, he assured them “that place called Pemaquin or Pemaquid laws or rates for the future should be and soe up ye River thereof to ye imposed but by a General Assembly.” furthest head of ye same as it tend- It appears that some years previous eth Northward and extendeth thence (1670) Huntington, Jamaica, and to ye River Kinebeque and soe up- other towns on Long Island had rewards to ye shortest course to ye fused to pay taxes unless they were River Canada Northward. And all represented in the Assembly, and the ye Island or Islands commonly called question had been agitated as by ye severall name or names of whether the revenue laws were legal Mataracks or Long Island scituate as imposed. lyeing and being towards ye West of He finally reached New York City Cape Codd and ye narrow Higansetts on Saturday, August 25, 1683. On abutting upon ye Maine land between the following Monday he met the ye two Rivers there called Hudsons Common Council and other officials River and all ye land from ye West at the City Hall, then in Coenties Slip. Side of Connecticut River to ye East and published his commission as well Side of Delaware Bay. And alsoe all as his instructions respecting the ye severall Islands called or known special privileges to be accorded to by the name of Martyn Vyniards and the metropolis. The Corporation Mantukes otherwise Mantucket to- then invited him to a dinner on the gether with all ye lands islands soyles next day at the City Hall, when with rivers harbours mines mineralls quar- several of the old magistrates and ries woods marshes waters lakes fish- ancient inhabitants, “ his honour reings hauking hunting and fowling, ceived a large and plentiful enteretc.”
tainment, and they had great satisDongan sailed from England in the faction in his honour's company." old Parliamentarion frigate Constant New York at this time contained Warwick, and among his suite was less than four thousand inhabitants, Thomas Harvey, of London, an Eng- and extended from the bay to the line lish Jesuit. He arrived at Nantasket, of intrenchments and stockades that Massachusetts, on August 10, 1683, ran along Wall street. The city was and with a considerable retinue set defended by Fort James, situated on out for New York overland. As far the water-front, but with its walls as Dedham he was accompanied by a and bastions in a dilapidated conditroop of Boston Militia, “besides sev- tion. There was a “half moon " beerall other gents of the town.” He fore the old Stadt Huys at the head crossed the sound to Long Island, of Coenties Slip, one at Old Slip, and and, finding much discontent among one at the “ water-gate," at the foot the people of the east end of the of Wall street. There were also defences along Wall street, and a cur- French at noon, and the English in tain at the land-gate at the junction the afternoon-while the Governor of Wall street and Broadway, but and his few fellow-worshipers met in they were sadly in need of repairs. a little chapel. There was also “ Pasty Mount" at The active management of affairs the foot of Exchange Alley. These was at once taken up by the new little fortifications were all in bad Governor. His instructions from the condition, and were mounted with duke signed on January 27th, rethe miniature guns of the period, quired that on his arrival he should known as “demiculverins," "sakers," call together Frederick Philipse and and “minions."
Stephanus Van Cortlandt, and other A few English and West Indian of the most eminent inhabitants, not vessels traded with New York, and exceeding ten in all, and swear them to an occasional privateer appeared in allegiance to the king, fealty to the the harbor. Near Fort James was a duke as “lord and proprieter," and flagstaff whereon a flag was hoisted official faithfulness as members of his upon the arrival of vessels in the council. In accordance with further harbor. Besides the foregoing, com- instructions, John Spragg became merce was carried on by nine or ten secretary of the colony, and Anthony three-masted vessels of eighty to one Brokholls, with Matthias Nicolls and hundred tons, and three barks of others, were appointed to catalogue forty tons and about twenty sloops of the records surrendered by John twenty-five tons. Five of these West. Rev. John Gordon became sloops traded up the Hudson River chaplain of the English soldiers in with Albany, Kingston and Esopus, New York, and Mayor William Beekwhich were the three most important man, Stephanus Van Cortlandt, Lutowns of the province after New cas Santen, Mark Talbot, and Gabriel York.
Minvielle were appointed to survey. The population was mixed, and a Fort James, while Captain Thomas great variety of tongues was spoken. Young was made pilot of the port. The Dutch element predominated, The administration of the colony but there were many Huguenot fam- having been properly organized, ilies that had come to the colony Dongan immediately turned his atdriven from France by the persecu- tention to a matter which directly tions of Louis XIV. The old church concerned the interests of his patron. in the fort was used every Sunday by William Penn, not satisfied with the representatives of the three lead
grants made to him by Charles II., ing denominations, and services were was endeavoring to secure the upper held in as many different languages Susquehanna valley by purchase from -the Dutch in the morning, the the Indians, who claimed that region