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THE CITY OF NEW YORK.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF GOVERNMENT IN
Dutch Rule. The territory discovered by Henry Hudson in 1609 was first occupied by the Dutch in the winter of 1613-14, when a few rude huts were erected on Manhattan Island as shelters for Adraen Block and his companions, whose ship had been destroyed by fire. The following year permanent trading posts were established by a company of Amsterdam merchants who had been granted a charter allowing them "exclusively to visit and navigate" these regions for a period of four years. In 1621 the States-General of Holland granted this territory, under the name of New Netherland, to the Dutch West India Company, with a monopoly of the trade and the power to establish a colony and a colonial government. The Government of New Netherland. In the government organized by the Company, all the powers were placed in the hands of a Director-General, assisted by an advisory council of five men, in the selection of whom the people had no voice. In this form the government continued until 1642, in which year Kieft,
the Director, was forced to summon a meeting of the residents of New Amsterdam to devise means of defense against the Raritan Indians. At this meeting "twelve select men," known as the "Committee of Twelve," were chosen to act for the people. They demanded, as the price of their assistance, that four persons chosen by the people should be admitted as members of the advisory council. To this Kieft consented, but withdrew his promise when the dangers of war were over. The next year further trouble with the Indians induced Kieft to call another popular meeting. This time the people selected eight men, who not only provided for the safety of the colony, but as representatives of the people sent a protest against Kieft's administration to the West India Company and the States-General, in consequence of which Kieft was recalled.
The new Director, Peter Stuyvesant, under instructions from the West India Company, gave the people a voice in public affairs by permitting them to nominate eighteen persons from whom he and his council selected nine to confer "on all means to promote the welfare of the country." These nine, however, whose powers were simply advisory, could only meet when summoned by the Director, and could only consider such questions as were submitted to them.
Transfer to the English; The Government.-In September, 1664, New Netherland passed from the control of the Dutch into that of the English, and became the Province of New York. In 1665, Governor Nichols called a meeting of the colonists at Hempstead, at which he outlined the new government as provided by the
"Duke's Laws," the name given to his instructions from the Duke of York, who had been granted the province by his brother, Charles II. By this scheme all powers were vested in a Governor appointed by the Duke, though courts of justice were established, taxes were limited and the rights of the colonists were recognized by the provision that "no man shall be molested, fined or imprisoned for differing in matters of religion.
The Assembly. The first actual participation of the people of New York in the government of the province was secured in 1683. Thomas Dongan, the new Governor, under his instructions, directed an election of not to exceed eighteen men which should constitute the lower house of a provincial legislature. The upper house was to consist of ten men appointed by the Governor, who besides forming one branch of the legislature should be an advisory council and a court of final appeal.
Charter of Liberties.-The first meeting of this legislature was held in October, 1683, at which time they passed the "Charter of Liberties," in which it was announced that under the King and the lord proprietor "the supreme legislative authority shall forever be
in a governor, council and the people met in general assembly." They also provided for the holding of elections at regular times and passed acts declaring that no freeman should be punished except by judgment of his peers, and that taxes should not be levied except by the consent of the provincial assembly. The Duke approved these acts, but two years later, having ascended the throne as James II., he revoked his assent, abolished the assembly, and in 1688 consolidated New York, which
by his being King had become a royal province, with New England, under the governorship of Sir Edmund Andros.
The Assembly Made Permanent.-The Revolution of 1688 and the deposition of James led to the overthrow of the government in New York, and in the troublous days of 1689 to 1691 the executive powers were assumed by Jacob Leisler, who revived the assembly to assist him in the proper conduct of affairs. Leisler was succeeded in 1691 by Governor Sloughter, who made the assembly a permanent part of the government and approved its reenactment of the "Charter of Liberties."
Growing Importance of Assembly. The legislature thus established, consisting of the governor's council and the assembly elected by the people, continued in practically the same form until the War of Independence. From time to time, however, it increased its powers by the creation of new offices and by depriving the gov ernor of former prerogatives. Thus, the abuses of Governor Cornbury (1702-1708) led to the appointment of a Treasurer to manage the provincial finances. For a long time the assembly met only at the call of the governor, but in 1737 it made annual sessions necessary by limiting appropriations of money, which had heretofore been made for indefinite periods, to one year; and in 1738 the assembly gained complete control of the provincial finances by inaugurating the custom of making specific appropriations for specific objects.
Growth of Private Rights: Freedom of the Press.During this period the people were making equal progress in securing recognition of their private rights. The