New York General Assembly
New York General Assembly
|Founded||October 14, 1683|
|Disbanded||April 3, 1775|
|Succeeded by||New York Provincial Congress|
Length of term
|Authority||Charter of Liberties and Privileges|
The New York General Assembly was the lower branch of government of the British Province of New York and was the first representative governing body in New York from 1683 to 1775 when the assembly disbanded after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War.
The New York General Assembly was first convened on October 14, 1683 during the governorship of Thomas Dongan, 2nd Earl of Limerick, which passed an act entitled "A Charter of Liberties" that decreed that the supreme legislative power under the Duke of York (later King James II) shall reside in a governor, council, and the people convened in general assembly; conferred upon the members of the assembly rights and privileges making them a body coequal to and independent of the British Parliament; established town, county, and general courts of justice; solemnly proclaimed the right of religious liberty; and passed acts enunciating certain constitutional liberties, e.g. taxes could be levied only by the people met in general assembly; right of suffrage; and no martial law or quartering of the soldiers without the consent of the inhabitants.
The Assembly grew to twenty-seven members,[a] elected viva voce by the people once every seven years and the districts they represented. The representatives terms was originally at the will of the governor and new elections were ordered as it suited his interests. In 1784, a law was passed that limited member's terms to three years, but it was annulled by King George III. The Septennial Act was passed in 1743, and remained in force till the revolution.
The General Assembly elected a Speaker from their own ranks, chose their own clerk, and published their own journal. The Assembly had the sole right of originating all laws granting appropriations of money, and, during Governor William Cosby's administration, which was defined by political struggles and is known as one of the most oppressive royal placeholders, they indeed withheld his compensation in an attempt to bring him closer to their desires. Reportedly, "these quarrels had considerably subsided before the revolution; but they doubtless had an influence beneficial to liberty, by introducing political discussions, and imparting a knowledge of the tendencies of irresponsible power."
The General Assembly continued until May 1775. Among its last acts was the adoption of petitions to the King and British Parliament, in which, while they "professed a warm attachment to the royal person and government, they solemnly protested against the aggressions that had for years been gaining upon the rights of the people, and expressed, quite as strongly as was then avowed by the patriots of the day, the sentiments advocated in the revolution."
- Albany County: all of the region that is now northern and western New York.
- Cortlandt Manor[b]
- Dutchess County: now Dutchess and Putnam counties.
- Kings County: the current Kings County; Brooklyn.
- Livingston Manor[c]
- New York County: the current New York County; Manhattan.
- Orange County: now Orange and Rockland counties.
- Queens County: now Queens and Nassau counties.
- Rensselaer Manor[d]
- Richmond County: the current Richmond County; Staten Island.
- Town of Schenectady
- Suffolk County: the current Suffolk County.
- Ulster County: now Ulster and Sullivan counties and part of what is now Delaware and Greene counties.
- Westchester County: now Westchester and Bronx counties.
|Albany||Coenradt Ten Eyck||1747/8-50||Also served as mayor of Albany from 1748 to 1750.|
|Dirck Ten Broeck||1728||Also served as mayor of Albany from 1746 to 1748.|
|Dirck Wessels||1691-98, 1701||Also served as mayor of Albany from 1696 to 1698.|
|Evert Bancker||1702-5||Also served as mayor of Albany from 1695 to 1696 and 1707 to 1709.|
|Hans Hansen||1750-52||Also served as mayor of Albany from 1731 to 1732 and 1754 to 1756.|
|Hendrick Hansen||1699-1702, 1708-9, 1715-24||Also served as mayor of Albany from 1698 to 1699.|
|Jacob H. Ten Eyck||1759-77||Albany merchant who served as assistant alderman in the second ward from 1739 to 1743 and 1746 to 1748.|
|Jan Jansen Bleecker||1698-1701||Also served as mayor of Albany from 1700 to 1701.|
|Johannes Cuyler||1705-13, 1715-26, 1727-28||Also served as mayor of Albany from 1725 to 1726.|
|Johannes Schuyler||1710-13||Also served as mayor of Albany from 1703–1706.|
|John Abeel||1695-98, 1701-5||Also served as mayor of Albany from 1694 to 1695 and 1709 to 1710.|
|John Bleecker||1701-6||Also served as recorder and mayor of Albany from 1701 to 1702. Son of Jan Jansen Bleecker.|
|Levinus Van Schaick||1691-93||A merchant who returned to Amsterdam and traded with Robert Livingston.|
|Myndert Schuyler||1701-10, 1713-15, 1724-37||Also served as mayor of Albany from 1719 to 1720 and 1723 to 1725.|
|Peter Douw||1747/8-50, 1752-59|
|Peter Van Brugh||1713-15, 1727-28||Also served as mayor of Albany from 1699 to 1700 and 1721 to 1723.|
|Peter Van Bruggen||1705-8|
|Peter Winne||1737-47, 1752-61||Captain Winne ran a skipper along the Hudson River and was a partner in the Sacandaga Patent of 1741.|
|Philip Schuyler||1728-47, 1750-52|
|Philip Schuyler||1768-77||A Revolutionary War General and, later, a U.S. Senator and father-in-law of Alexander Hamilton.|
|Robert Livingston||1709-15||The 1st Lord of Livingston Manor.|
|Ryer Jacobse Schermerhorn||1698-1702||The sole trustee of the Schenectady Patent.|
|Volkert P. Douw||1761-8?||Later served in the New York State Senate from 1785 to 1793. Son of Peter Douw.|
|Cortlandt Manor||Philip Verplanck||1737-64||Verplanck married into the Van Cortlandt family.|
|Pierre Van Cortlandt||1768-77||Also served as Lieutenant Governor of New York from 1777 to 1795.|
|Dutchess||Baltus Van Kleeck||1715-16|
|Dirck Brinckerhoff||1768-77||Later served in the 2nd New York State Legislature.|
|Henry Beekman||1725-59||A grandson of acting New York City mayor Wilhelmus Beekman.|
|Henry Livingston||1754-68||Father of Henry Livingston Jr., Gilbert Livingston, and John Henry Livingston.|
|Jacobus Tur Boss||1737-43|
|Johannes Van Kleeck||1726-37|
|Leonard Van Kleeck||1768-77|
|Robert R. Livingston||1759-68|
|Coert Stuyvesant||1693-94||Likely a descendant of the last Dutch Director of New Netherland, Peter Stuyvesant.|
|Cornelius Sebring||1695-98, 1698-1726|
|Cornelius Van Brunt||1698-1716|
|D. Vander Vier||1750-59|
|Gerardus Beekman||1698||Also served as acting governor of the Province of New York in 1710.|
|Henry Filkin||1693/4-95||One of the Great Nine Partners Patent.|
|Johannes Lott||1727-47, 1750-61|
|Johannes Van Ecklen||1693-98|
|Simon Boerum||1761-77||He represented New York in the Continental Congress in 1774 and 1775.|
|Livingston Manor||Gilbert Livingston||1728-37|
|Peter R. Livingston||1761-69||Son of Robert Livingston, 3rd Lord of Livingston Manor.|
|Philip Livingston||1769-77||A merchant who was a delegate to the Continental Congress, and signed the Declaration of Independence.|
|Robert Livingston||1716-26||The 1st Lord of Livingston Manor (he previously represented Albany from 1709-15).|
|Robert Livingston Jr.||1726-28, 1737-59||Also known as "Robert of Clermont", son of Robert Livingston the Elder and father of Robert Livingston.|
|William Livingston||1759-61||Later served as the 1st Governor of New Jersey.|
|New York||Johannes Hardenbroek||1709-10||A prominent merchant.|
|Abraham Gouverneur||1701-2||Speaker of the Assembly from May 15, 1699 to May 3, 1702.|
|Adolph Philipse||1726-45||The second son of Frederick Philipse, the 1st Lord of the Philipsburg Manor.|
|Anthony Rutgers||1726-37||Related to Henry Rutgers.|
|Brandt Schuyler||1695-98||Brother of Pieter Schuyler and Arent Schuyler|
|Cornelius Van Horne||1743-59|
|David Clarkson||1739, 1745-52|
|David Provost||1699-1702, 1711-13, 1716-25||Also served as 24th mayor of New York City from 1699 to 1700.|
|Garret Van Horne||1716-37|
|Henry Cruger||1745-59||Eldest son of 38th mayor of New York City John Cruger and brother of Speaker John Cruger Jr.|
|Isaac De Rimier||1668-77|
|Jacobus Van Cortlandt||1691-93, 1698-99, 1702-16||Also served as 30th and 33rd mayor of New York City from 1710–1711 and 1719–1720.|
|James Alexander||1737-39||Also served as 4th New Jersey Attorney General from 1723–1728. Father of William Alexander, Lord Stirling.|
|James De Lancey||1768-77||Son of James De Lancey, Governor of the Province of New York from 1753–1755.|
|James Graham||1691-93, 1695-1701|
|Johannes Jansen||1709-11, 1716-26||Also served as 35th mayor of New York City from 1725 to 1726.|
|Johannes Kipp||1691-93, 1698-99|
|John Cruger||1759-73||Also served as 41st mayor of New York City from 1757–1766. Son of 38th mayor of New York City John Cruger.|
|Johannes de Peyster||1699-1702||Also served as 23rd mayor of New York City from 1698 to 1699.|
|John Spratt||1693/4-95||Glasgow, Scotland born merchant who was the father of Mary Alexander and son-in-law of Johannes de Peyster Sr.|
|John Van Home||1709-10|
|John Watts||1752-59||A Scottish immigrant. Father of U.S. Representative John Watts and son-in-law of Stephen Delancey.|
|Lawrence Reade||1695-98, 1708-9, 1711-15|
|Oliver De Lancey||1756-61||Merchant and Loyalist.|
|Peter De Lanoy||1693/4-95||Also served as 18th mayor of New York City from 1689–1691.|
|Philip French||1698-99, 1702-8||Also served as the 27th mayor of New York City from 1702 to 1703.|
|Samuel Bayard||1713-16||Also served as a Judge.|
|Samuel Staats||1693/4-95||Son of Abraham Staats.|
|Stephen De Lanoy||1702-16, 1725-27|
|Tunis De Key||1695-98|
|William Bayard||1761-68||Father of William Bayard Jr.|
|Orange||Abraham Gouverneur||1699-1702||Speaker of the Assembly from May 15, 1699 to May 3, 1702.|
|Abraham Haring||1745-47||Father of lawyer and Continental Congressman John Haring.|
|Cornelius Haring||1715-16, 1726-37|
|Hendrick Ten Eyck||1710-15||One of the Great Nine Partners Patent.|
|John De Noyellis||1769-77|
|Peter Haring||1701-2, 1709-10, 1716-26|
|Samuel Gale||1750-59, 1769-77|
|Queens||Benjamin Hicks||1725-37||Relation of Federalist Assemblyman Benjamin Hicks.|
|Daniel Whitehead||1691-1701, 1702-4|
|John Jackson||1693-1701, 1702-16|
|John Talman||1701, 1709-10|
|Jonathan Smith Sr.||1701-2|
|Thomas Willet||1701, 1710-25|
|Zebulon Seaman||1759-61, 1763-77|||
|Rensselaer Manor||Abraham Ten Broeck||1761-77|
|Andries Douw||1708-5||Douw lived in Rensselaerswyck, where his family held extensive lands.|
|Hendrick van Rensselaer||1705-15|
|Jeremias Van Rensselaer||1726-43|
|J.B. Van Rensselaer||1743-61|
|Kiliaen Van Rensselaer||1691-1701, 1702-3|
|Christopher Billop||1769-77||Later a United Empire Loyalists who served in the 1st New Brunswick Legislative Assembly.|
|Elias Duksberry||1691, 1695-98|
|John La Count||1726-59|
|William Walton||1752-61||A merchant who was one of the founders of the New York Society Library.|
|Henry Pierson||1691-95||Speaker of the Assembly from March 2, 1694 to April 20, 1695.|
|John Tuthill||1693-3/4, 1695-98|
|Nathaniel Woodhull||1769-77||Also a brigadier general of the New York militia during the American Revolution.|
|William Nicoll||1701-23||A son of 6th New York City mayor Matthias Nicoll.|
|Arent Bradt||1737-48, 1745-47|
|Jacob Glen||1726-37, 1747/8-50||Namesake of Glen, New York.|
|Jacob Van Slyck||1750-52|
|Jacobus Mynderse||1752-59, 1768-79|
|Ryer Schermerhorn||1761||Grandson and principal heir of Ryer Jacobse Schermerhorn.|
|Ulster||Abraham G. Chambers||1716-39|
|Abraham Hasbrouck||1698-1701||One of twelve patent holders to the 40,000 acre New Paltz Patent.|
|Abraham Hasbrouck||1739-45, 1747/8-50, 1759-68||Son of Abraham Hasbrouck.|
|Albert Pawlding||1726-37, 1745|
|Charles DeWitt||1668-77||Also served as a delegate to the New York Provincial and Continental Congresses.|
|George Clinton||1768-77||He later served as the 1st Governor of the State of New York and the 4th Vice President of the United States.|
|Henry Beekman||1691-93, 1695-98, 1702-16||Represented Westchester & Dutchess from 1691-93.|
A son of acting New York City mayor Wilhelmus Beekman.
|Jacob Rutsen||1693/4-95, 1699-1702, 1713-26||Represented Ulster & Dutchess from 1693/4-95.|
|Jacobus Bruyn||1759-68||Father of New York Assemblymen Jacobus S. Bruyn, Severyn Tenhout Bruyn, Johannes Bruyn, and Cornelius Bruyn.|
|Johannes Hardenbergh||1737-43||Owner of the Hardenbergh patent of land in the Catskill Mountains.|
|Moses De Pue Jr.||1752-59|
|Thomas Garton||1691, 1693/4-95, 1698-99, 1702-18||Represented Westchester & Dutchess in 1691 and 1693/4-95.|
|William Demire||1691-93, 1695-98|
|Westchester||Adolph Philipse||1722-26||The second son of Frederick Philipse, the 1st Lord of the Philipsburg Manor, uncle to Frederick Philipse II.|
|Caleb Heathcote||1701-2||Also served as 31st mayor of New York City from 1711–1713.|
|Frederick Philipse II||1726-50||The 2nd Lord of Philipsburg Manor, part of the Philipse Patent (today's Putnam County).|
|Frederick Philipse III||1751-77||The 3rd (and last) Lord of Philipsburg Manor.|
|John De Lancey||1764?-77|
|John Drake||1698-1701, 1709-10, 1713-15|
|Joseph Purdy||1695-99, 1701-2, 1709-10|
|Joseph Theall||1691-95, 1697|
|Josiah Hunt||1702-10, 1715-16|
|Lewis Morris Sr.||1733-38|
|Lewis Morris Jr.||1732-50|
|Lewis Morris||1769||Also served as a delegate to the New York Provincial and Continental Congresses.|
|Peter De Lancey||1750-68||Son of Stephen Delancey.|
|William Willet||1701, 1702-9, 1710-15, 1716-33|
- By 1775, thirty-nine Assemblymen represented sixteen districts made up of Counties and Manors.
- Van Cortlandt Manor was originally a 86,000-acre (35,000 ha) tract granted as a Patent to Stephanus Van Cortlandt in 1697 by King William III, stretching from the Hudson River on the west to the first boundary line between the Province of New York and the Colony of Connecticut, on the east, twenty English miles in length by ten in width, in shape nearly a rectangular parallelogram, forming, "The Manor of Cortlandt."
- Livingston Manor was a 160,000 acre (650 square kilometres (250 sq mi)) tract of land granted to Robert Livingston the Elder and confirmed by royal charter of George I of Great Britain in 1715, creating the manor and lordship of Livingston. The original patent was obtained in July 1686.
- The Manor of Rensselaerwyck was, first, a Dutch patroonship and, later, an English manor. The estate was originally deeded by the Dutch West India Company to merchant Kiliaen van Rensselaer in 1630. Rensselaerswyck extended for miles on each side of the Hudson River near present-day Albany. It included most of what are now the present New York counties of Albany and Rensselaer, as well as parts of Columbia and Greene counties.
- No journals or records of names of members of general assembly, between 1683 and 1691, are preserved. The duration of office of members, previous to 1743, was unlimited and dependent upon the will of the governor; and this power of convening, proroguing and dissolving the assembly was frequently exercised to procure a compliance with the wishes of the executive.
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