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GOV. NICOLLS' ANSWERS TO THE SEVERAL! QUERIES
RELATING TO THE rLANTERS IN THE TERRITORIES OF HIS R. H S THE DUKE OF YORKE IN AMERICA.
[Lonil. Doc. II.]
1st. The Governour and Councell with the High Sheriffe and the Justices of the Peace in the Court of the Generall assizes haue the Supreame Power of making, altering, and abolishing any Laws in this Government. The Country Sessions are held by Justices upon the Bench, Particular Town Courts by a Constable and Eight Overseers, The City Court of N. Yorke by a Mayor and Aldermen. All causes tried by Juries.
2nd. The Land is naturally apt to produce Come & Cattle so that the severall proportions or dividents of Land are alwaies allowed with respect to the numbers of the Planters, what they are able to manage, and in w' time to accomplish their undertaking, the feed of Cattell is free in commonage to all Towneships, The Lots of Meadow or Come Ground are peculiar to each Planter.
3rd. The Tenure of lands is derived from his R. H.8 who gives and grants lands to Planters as their freehold forever, they paying the customary rates and duties with others towards the defraying-of pu'ilique charges. The highes Rent or acknowledgment to his R. H.» will bee one penny pr acre for Lands purchased by his R. H.s, the least two shillings sixe pence for each hundred acres, whereof the Planters themselves are purchasers from the Indyans.
4. The Governour gives liberty to Planters to find out and buy lands from the Indyans where it pleaseth best the Planters, but the seating of Towns together is necessary in these parts of America, especially upon the Maine Land.
5. Liberty of Conscience is graunted and assured with the the same Provisoe exprest in the Queerie.
6. Liberty of ffishing and fowling is free to all by the Patent.
7. All Causes are tried by Juries, no Lawes contrary to the Lawes of England. Souldyers onely are tryable by a Court Marshall, and none others except in cases of suddain invasion, mutiny or rebellion, as his Maties Lieutenants in any of his Countries of England may or ought to exercise.
8th. As to this point there is no taxe, toledge, Impost or Custome payable upon the Planters upon Corne or Cattle: the Country at present hath little other product, the Rate for publicke charges was agreed unto in a generall Assembly, and is now managed by the Governour his Councell and the Justices in the Court of Assizes to that onely behoofe.
9th. The obtaining all thee priviledges is long since recomended to his R. H." as the next necessary encouragement to these his Territories, whereof a good answer is expected.
10th. Every man who desires to trade for ffurrs at his request hath liberty so to doe.
ANSWERS OF GOV. ANDROS TO ENQUIRIES ABOUT NEW YORK; 1678.
[Lond. Doc. III.]
Answers to the Inquires of Plantncons for New Yorke.
1. The Governor is to have a Councill not exceeding tenn, wth whose advice to act for the safety & good of the country, & in every to*vne, village or parish a Petty Court, & Courts of Sessions in the Severall precints being three, on Long Island, & Townes of New Yorke, Albany & Esopus, & some smale or poot e Islands & out places ; and the Generall court of assizes composed of the Governor & Councill & all the Justices & magistrates att New York once a yeare, the Petty courts Judge of five pounds. &, then may appeale to Sessions, they to twenty pounds & then may appeale to assizes to ye King, al sd courts as by Law.
2. The court of Admiralty hath been by spcciall comission or by the Court of Mayor & Aldermen att New Yorke.
3. The cheife Legislative power there is in the Governor with advice of the Councell the executive power Judgemi" given by ye courts is in the sheriffs & and other civil officers.
4. The law booke in force was made by the Governor & Assembly att Hempsted in 1665 & since confirmed by his Royall Highnesse.
5. The Militia is about 2000 of wch about 140 horse in three troopes the foote formed into companyes, most under 100 men each all indifferently armed with fire-armes of all sizes, ordered & exercised according to Law, and are good fire men, one standing company of Souldiers with gunners & other officers for the fforts of New Yorke & Albany alwayes victualled in October & November for a yeare.
6. Forteresses are James fforte seated upon a point of New Yorke towne between Hudson's River & ye Sound, its a square with stone walls, foure bastions almost regular, and in it 46 gunnes mounted & stores for service accordingly. Albany is a smale long stockadoed forte with foure bastions in it, 12 gunns, sufficient agl Indians, and lately a wooden redout & out worke at Pemaquid wth 7 gunns, s'd Garrisons victualled for a yeare, w1h suff' stores.
7. There are no privateers about or Coasts.
8. Our Neighbours westward are Mary land populous and strong but doe not live in townes, their produce tobacco, Northwest the Maques &c. Indians ye most warr like in all the Northern Parts of America, their trade beavers & furrs. Northward the ffrench of Canada trade as wee with our Indians; Eastward Connecticut in a good condicon & populous, \heir produce provisionn of wheate, beefe & porke, some pease, or South bounds the Sea.
9. Wee keepe good Correspondence with all or neighbours as to Civill, legall or judiciall proceedings, but differ with Connecticutt for or bounds & mutuall assistance wch they nor Massdchusetts will not admitt.
10. Our boundaries are South, the Sea, West Delaware; North to ye Lakes or ffrench; East Connecticut river, but most usurped & yett possed by s'd Connecticut some Islands Eastward & a tract beyond Kennebeck River called Pemaquid, &c. New Yorke is in 40d 35 m; Albany abi 43d; the Collony is in severall long narrow stripes of wch a greate parte of the settlem1 made by adventurers before any Regulacon by wch Incroachm" without pattents w*h townes have lately taken but by reason of continuall warrs noe Survey made& [qu. of the] wildernesse, noe certaine computacon can be made of the planted and implanted, these last 2 yeares about 20,000 acres taken up and pattented for particuler persons besides Delaware, most of the land taken up except upon Long Island is improued & unlesse the bounds of the Duke's pattent be asserted noe great quantityes att hand undisposed.
11. Our principall places of Trade are New Yorke and South'lon except Albany for the Indyans, our buildings most wood, some lately stone & brick, good country houses & strong of their severall kindes.
•' 12. Wee haue about 24 townes, villiages or parishes in Six Precincts, Divisions, Rydeings, or Courts of Sessions.
13. Wee haue severall Rivers, Harbours & Roades, Hudson's River the chiefest & is ab1. 4 fathom water att coming in butt six, tenn or more within & very good soundings & anchorage either in Hudson's River or in the Sound, the usnall roade before the town and moulde.
14. Our produce is land provisions of all sorts as of wheate exported yearly about C0000 bushells, pease, beefe, pork, & some Refuse fish, Tobacco, beavers, peltry or furrs from the Indians, Deale & oake timber, plankes, pipestaues, lumber, horses, & pitch & tarr lately begunn to be made, Comodityes imported are all sorts of English manufacture for Christians & blancketts, DufFells &c. for Indians about 50000,b yearly, Pemaquid afords merchantable ffish & masts.
16. Wee haue noe Experience or skill of Salt Peter to be had in Quantityes.
16. OurMerchi" are not many but with inhabitants & planters about 2000, able to beare armes, old inhabitants of the place or of England, Except in & neere New Yorke of Dutch Extraction & some few of all nations, but few Servi", much wanted & but very few slaves.
17. Noe persons whateuer are to come from any place but according to act off Pari1 w*1" the magistrates and officers of the severall townes or places are to take care of, accordingly the plantacdn is these late yeares increased, butt noe Genrall acc1 hath been taken soe Is not knowne how much nor what persons. Some few Slaues are sometimes brought from Barbadoes, most for Provisions and sould att abt 30lb or 35lb Country pay.
18. Ministers have been soe scarce & Religions many that noe acc1 cann be giuen of Children's births or christenings.
19. Scarcity of Ministers and Law admitting marriages by Justices, noe acc1 cann be giuen of the number marryed.
20. Noe acc1 cann be giuen of burialls, formes of burialls not being generally obserued & few ministers till very lately.
21. A merchi worth 1000,b or 500,b is accompted a good substantiall merchant and a planter worthe halfe that in moveables accompted [rich ?] with all the Estates may be valued att about £150,000.
23. There may lately haue traded to ye Collony in a yeare from tenn to fifteen shipps or vessells of about togeather 100 tunns each,English new England and our owne built of wch 5 small shipps & a Ketch now belonging to New Yorke foure of them built there.
23. Obstruccons to Iinprouemi of planters, trade, Navigacdn and mutuall assistance are ye distinction of Collonies for our owne .produce, as indifferent nations and people, though next neighbours upon the same tract of land, .& His Matie" subjects, we obserueing acts of trade & navigacon &c.
24. Aduantages, Incouragemi & Improuemi of Planters trade & Navigacon would be more if next neighbours of or own Nation the King's subjects on the same tract of land might without distinction, supply each other with our owne produce, punctually obserueing all acts of parliami for Exportacdn & would dispose all persons the better for mutuall assistance.