Governor Francis Lovelace

The dreams of freedom under English rule were never realized. The inhabitants of New York soon found that a change of masters did not increase their prosperity or happiness. "Fresh names and laws, they found," says Brodhead, "did not secure fresh liberties. Amsterdam was changed to York, and Orange to Albany. But these changes only commemorated the titles of a conqueror. It was nearly twenty years before that conqueror allowed, for a brief period, to the people of New York, even that partial degree of representative government which they had enjoyed when the three-colored ensign of Holland was hauled down from the flag-staff of Fort Amsterdam. New Netherland exchanged Stuyvesant, and the West India Company, and a republican sovereignty, for Nicolls, and a royal proprietor, and a hereditary king. The province was not represented in Parliament, nor could the voice of its people reach the Chapel of St. Stephen at Westminster as readily as it had reached the Chambers of the Binnenhof at the Hague."

Nicolls ruled wisely, and Francis Lovelace, his successor in 1667, ruled mildly. The latter was a quiet man, unfitted to encounter great storms, yet he showed considerable energy in dealing with the hostile Indians and French on the northern frontier of New York during his administration. He held friendly intercourse with the people of New England; and in the summer of 1672, when a hostile squadron of Dutch vessels of war appeared before his capital, he was on a friendly visit to Governor Winthrop, of Connecticut. There was war, again, between England and Holland, at that time, and the Dutch inhabitants of New York had shown signs of discontent because of the abridgment of their political privileges, and a heavy increase in their taxes, without their consent. Personally they liked Lovelace, but they were bound to consider him as the representative of a petty tyrant. When, in menacing attitude, they demanded more liberty and less taxation, the governor, in a passion, unwisely declared that they should "have liberty for no thought but how to pay their taxes." This was resented, and when the Dutch squadron came, nearly all the Hollanders regarded their countrymen in the ships as liberators. When Colonel Manning, who commanded the fort, called for volunteers, few came, and these not as friends but as enemies, for they spiked the cannon in front of the State-House.

Manning sent an express for Lovelace, and seemed to do what he might to defend the fort. When the ships came up and fired their broadsides upon it, he returned their fire and shot the Dutch flag-ship "through and through." Then six hundred Holland soldiers landed on the bank of the Hudson above the town, where they were joined by four hundred Dutch citizens in arms, who encouraged them to storm the fort. They were marching down Broadway for the purpose, when they were met by a messenger from Manning with a proposition to surrender the fort, if his troops might be allowed to march out with the honors of war. The proposition was accepted. The English garrison marched out with their colors flying and drums beating, and laid down their arms. The Dutch soldiers marched in, followed by the English troops, who were made prisoners of war and confined in the church.

On that hot summer day, the 9th of August, 1672, the flag of the Dutch republic waved over recovered Fort Amsterdam, and the name of the city of New York was changed to that of New Orange, in compliment to William Prince of Orange, the stadtholder or chief magistrate of Holland. The rest of the province soon submitted to the conquerors, and British sovereignty over it was extinguished. Stuyvesant, a quiet but exultant spectator of these momentous events, was avenged. The Dutch had taken New York!

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