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the governor's pocket they held the strings of the public purse tight. The same assembly declared that the "imposing and laying of any money upon her majesty's subjects of this colony, without consent in general assembly, is a grievance and a violation of the people's property." This idea had much to do with the independence of the colonies some years later. Though a cousin of the queen, Cornbury was soon removed (1708).
Governors Schuyler and Hunter.-Peter Schuyler, who had been mayor of Albany over eight years, was now president of the council and hence acting governor. He was one of the great men in the colony and the father of Gen. Philip Schuyler. Thrice he served as governor. In 1710 Robert Hunter was sent over to rule the colony. His administration continued nine years, and he was "the ablest in the series of the royal governors of New York." Since the assembly clung to particular annual money grants, he dissolved that body and wrote home that the colonies were “infants at their mothers' breasts, but such as will wean themselves when they become of age." During his rule about 3,000 Germans from the Palatinate1 came to New York to serve Queen Anne "as grateful subjects in the production of tar" and other naval stores. They were naturalized by the English parliament. They rebelled against the bondage to which they had bound themselves as "Servants of the Crown" until they should repay the cost of transportation, and consequently were set free. The fertile valley of the Mo
1A German state on the river Rhine.
hawk became their home, as Palatine Bridge and German Flats testify to this day. The experiment cost England about £30,000. In failing health, Hunter resigned his office (1719) and soon died.
William Burnet, eldest son of the distinguished bishop, became the next executive (1720). One of his first acts was to take steps to monopolize all trade with the Iroquois. He aroused the hatred of the merchants by having the assembly forbid all sales to Canadian traders. The French were gradually taking possession of the lake region. They had a trading-post at Niagara (1721), which five years later was converted into a fort. On Lake Ontario they had two large vessels. To offset the designs of the French, Burnet built a trading-post at the mouth of the Genesee (1721), and another at Oswego (1722), soon protecting the latter with a fort (1727). The English laid claim to the region south and west of Lake Ontario on the ground of treaties with the Iroquois.1 The Senecas and the Oneidas, however, feared these forts built by the English on their grounds while the governor of Canada claimed the territory for France. Trouble was ahead.
Burnet was honest, able, and bold, but indiscreet. He lost his hold on the assembly by quarreling over the revenues, and offended leading citizens like Peter Schuyler, Adolph Philipse, and Stephen De Lancey. In 1712 Governor Hunter, with the advice of the council, established the court of chancery, but without the con
1In 1701 the Five Nations surrendered to the English all their lands for protection and defense. The deed of surrender is recited in a deed of Sept. 14, 1726, by which the Senecas, Cayugas. and Onondagas surrender their habitations to George I.
sent of the crown or the assembly. Consequently under Burnet the assembly complained of his decisions as chancellor and denied the legality of the court. George II. removed Burnet (1728) to appoint one of his favorites.1
CHAPTER XII.-INTERNAL AFFAIRS
John Montgomery, who followed Burnet as governor (1728), died after three years of service (1731). Rip Van Dam, the senior member of the council, acted as executive till the arrival of the next governor, William Cosby (1732). Governor Montgomery granted a new charter to New York City (1730). The population of the city at that time was 8,632, and that of the province was 50,289, of whom 7,231 were negroes.
First Newspaper.-In 1696 Governor Fletcher had induced William Bradford to remove his press from Philadelphia to New York to do the public printing and to reprint the "London Gazette." In 1725 Bradford issued the "New York Gazette," a weekly newspaper, which upheld the administration of Governor Burnet. In 1733 Peter Zenger 2 started a rival paper, the "New York Weekly Journal." The Gazette upheld Cosby, but the Journal assailed his avaricious and arbitrary conduct in squibs and stinging verses. Zenger
1 Burnet was sent to Massachusetts as governor.
2 When a boy Zenger came to New York with the German Palatines. He was apprenticed to Bradford, the printer, and soon became an editor of courage and ability.
had the hearty support of the people. Unable to suppress the sharp attacks through the Gazette, Cosby ordered the Journal to be burned and the bold printer to be imprisoned and prosecuted for libel.
Zenger's Trial.-Even in prison Zenger continued to edit his paper, which found eager buyers. His two lawyers, James Alexander and William Smith, asserted that the court which was to try his case was illegal, so were disbarred. Then Andrew Hamilton, an old Quaker lawyer from Philadelphia, took up Zenger's case. The chief justice, James De Lancey, did not favor the prisoner, but the jury, knowing that he had boldly told the truth, acquitted him. The people shouted for joy. Zenger and Hamilton were heroes. The latter was given a public dinner, and the common council presented him with the freedom of the city. This was the first great libel suit in New York, and a victory for a free press (1735). An outgrowth of this spirit of freedom was the formation of the Sons of Liberty, an organization that was to play an important part in the Revolution.
Clarke Succeeds Cosby.-After the sudden death of Cosby (1736) there was doubt about who should fill the vacant seat. Van Dam, though removed from the council by Cosby, claimed the chair. George Clarke, the councilor next in order, also demanded it, and was confirmed in his position by the king, who soon appointed him lieutenant-governor. He was wise and acted moderately. He refrained from sitting with the council, and it thus became a separate branch of the legislature (1737). During his rule New Jersey had its own governor, and the Jews were disfranchised (1738).
The assembly became more independent and refused to raise a revenue for any longer time than one year," and then only for specific purposes. Clarke attempted to plant a colony of five hundred Scotch Highlanders on Lake George as a barrier against French incursions, but the project amounted to little.
The Negro Plot.-A tragedy closed Clarke's administration. In 1741 nine fires occurred in New York City. Some started by accident and others were caused by thieves bent on plunder. But soon the report started that the negroes were plotting to burn the city. In terror people fled from the city to places of safety. Soon it was said that white persons were also implicated. Sixty-one whites and one hundred and sixty blacks were hurried to prison. No lawyer would defend them. Confessions of guilt were extorted and there was much questionable evidence. Eighteen negroes were hanged, thirteen were burned at the stake, and seventy-one were transported. John Ury, an educated white man, and three others were also hanged before the craze was ended.
Clarke's Crooked Ways.-Clarke came to New York a poor man, and returned to England with half a million dollars. He had speculated in lands and rigidly exacted all the fees connected with his office. To retain his position he returned false reports to England about the poverty of the colony, the trials of his office, and his small reward. In this way he turned office-seekers away from New York for seven years. At last, however, Admiral George Clinton, whose son, Sir Henry Clinton, was sent over to subdue the Revolution thirtyfive years later, replaced Clarke. Soon after the ar