Loyalty Vindicated, New York, 1698.
[Loyalty Vindicated was a pamphlet written to refute the accusations in the Letter from a Gentleman.]
Loyalty Vindicated from the Reflections of a Virulent Pamphlet called [A Letter from a Gentleman of New York, . . .
It was with great dread known, that the late King James was bound in Conscience to indeavour to Damn the English Nation to Popery and Slavery, and therefore no wonder (since he made such large steps towards it in his Kingdom's) that he took a particular care of this Province, of which he was Proprietor, and at one jump leapt over all the bounds, and Laws of English Right and Government; and appointed a Governour of this Province of New York, . . . giving him power with consent of any Seven of his Council to make Laws and to raise Taxes (as the French King doth) without consent of the People, . . . Hereby the will of the Prince became the Law; and the estates of the subjects became the Kings property. And this Governour and Council were the tools to inslave their Country, who pursuant to their Commission did make Laws and Assessed Taxes accordingly, without any Representatives of the People, . . .
This was the condition of New York, the Slavery and Popery that it lay under, until the Hand of Heaven sent the glorious King William to break those chains, which would otherwise have fetter'd all Europe. And these were the reasons that moved the Gentlemen concerned in the Revolution of New York to be early in shaking off their Tyrants, and declaring for their Deliverer.
These things premised do make way for the answer to the bold Assertions of the Libeller, who had the Author Printed the Letter ten years before, . . .
In the third page which is the first of the Letter, he declares that Jacob Leisler and his accomplices committed great disorders in the Revolution. And was ever Revolution made without them? What, must the noxious humours of the body natural be loosned and put a float, and very often with pangs and gripes, before the Medicament can officiate the discharge? and must not the body politick suffer a Convulsion to pluck up Spiritual and Temporal Tyranny that was taking root in it? . . .
A Lying building must have a lying foundation, and therefore the Libeller says, That Capt. Leisler, unwilling to pay the Duty of his Wines, stirred up the People to Rebellion. The case was thus, the Popish Collector Plowman was then continued in Office, and Capt. Leisler did, even with him, make entry in the Custom house for his Wines, and ingaged to pay the Customs to such as should be legally qualified to receive them, which the Papist Plowman was not.
And now the people being exasperated by the delay of the Governour and Council to declare for the Prince, the greater body of the Militia with their Officers did Seize on the Fort, and did send and demand the Keys from the Lieutenant Governour; and since they had taken the Government on them, they did Seize what Publick Moneys they could find; and took the Seven hundred Seventy three Pounds from Coll. Nicholson, which with great prudence they did Expend for the safety and defence of the Revolution: nor were the People Drunk or Mad: for no Man, Woman, or Child, was hurt by them even in the very Convulsion of changing the Government; nay the very Papists then in Office, and others who were justly suspected of designs of betraying the Country to King James's faithful Allic, the French King, had not a hair hurt, except by the fright their own guilt occasioned; . . .
False Assertions without proof are sufficiently answered them. This northern forehead answers himself: by denying for the Libeller says, the people cry'd out that they disowned all Government, and in the next line tells you, they proclaimed Capt. Leisler their Commander. . . . But had it been true, then Capt. Leisler as the only Commission Officer ought to Command them; and they were just and sober in their choice, as well as prudent in their Trust of so good and faithful a Person. But the fact of this was false, for Capt Leisler. though instrumental in shaking off the Tyrannical Government, did not believe he had a Title to govern longer than the Peoples Resolutions were known; . . .
Captain Leisler finding several Papists and false Protestants in the Town, like a prudent Officer kept good guards, sent parties to prevent any Conspiracy they might make to resume the Government, and to preserve the, Peace, which was dayly attempted to be broke by declaring for King James, and his Governour Sir Edmund Andross, and denying the Authority of the People, and Capt. Leisler intrusted by them, on which it was wisely done of Capt. Leisler to secure in the Fort those whom he found so troublesome to the publick Peace, and as the heads of them he Imprisoned the afore-mentioned famous Coll. Bayard and Mr. Nichols, but without barbarity they were confined, and not in a nasty Goal, but in handsome lodgings, such as now are thought proper for the Captain of the Guard, the Store keeper and the Secretary of the Province to lodge and keep Office in. It is true that Coll. Bayard was put in Irons, as he well deserved for his aversion to the Revolution, disturbing the Peace, and attacking Capt. Leisler (then Commander in Chief) in the open Street, as appears by several credible Oaths. Nor could it be safe to admit such fire brands to Bail; and therefore they were kept close from doing mischief, which is the part of all good Governments to do, and was most necessary in this Revolution. . . .
It is notoriously false that Capt. Leisler opposed the Collecting of the Revenue; indeed he was not willing a Papist should run away with our Protestant Kings Money, nor did he think it safe in Bayards, etc. hands. . . .
The Protestant Ministers, the Libeller saith, could not escape Capt. Leislers Malice and Cruelty: I am afraid those Ministers he mentioned, were Popish Trumpets, to Preach up the damn'd Doctrines of Passive Obedience and Non Resistance, and to noise in our Ears with their accursed breath, that we ought patiently to hold our Protestant Throats to be cut by the Command of a Popish King: and when Capt. Leisler with his friends had taken hold of that wonderful Deliverance offered immediately from God to Redeem His People from Slavery upon Earth, and Popish Damnation in Hell, to have false Priests of Baal get up, and use their wicked Eloquence to make the People believe a lye, even in the house of the God of Truth, and from the Pulpit, to tell these Captains of our Temporal Salvation to their faces, that being faithful to their God, their Country, and their Laws, in the defence of the Holy Protestant Religion, and the Rights and Liberties of English men, and their thankful declaring for the most glorious Prince upon Earth their Deliverer: was the blackest of Treason and Rebellion.
. . . and although a Reprieve was granted them [Leisler and Milbourne] by Coll. Slaughter, untill His Majesties pleasure should be known in the Matter: yet the Violence of the Jacobite party (of which sort were most of Capt. Leislers Judges and Officers of the Court)' was such that they gave no rest to Coll. Slaughter, untill by their Importunity they prevailed with him to sign the Dead Warrant. And they were Executed accordingly. So that the representation of the matter, with an account of their Reprieve, reached His Majesty at the same time with the account of their Execution and Death. . . .
So that this is the full and true account of this Tragedy: New York lay under the Curse of an absolute Government by King James's Commission to Sir Edmund Andros; the people took courage on the first News of the Revolution in England, and shook off the Oppressors, and declared for the Prince of Orange; . . .
It is evident in New York, and will soon be made appear to His Majesty, that the late Government of New York under the Administration of Coll. Fletcher' was a perfect sink of Corruption. And although he was exalted to that Government from a poor mean refugee of Ireland; yet he soon forgot the hand that raised him, and to satisfy his Soul, his Idol Gain, he made a fast friendship with the few Papists, Jacobites, and dissolute English of New York, who had opposed the Revolution and revenged themselves on Capt. Leisler; and who, to be supported in their hatred to the Loyal Williamites, and connived at in their open breach of all the Acts of Trade, found great advantage to reward Coll. Fletcher's friendship by Presents from themselves, and gifts from Pirates; and complyed with him, and consented to all things proposed to them by him; to the squandering Of the Kings Revenue and (to the great dishonour of the King) destroying all conveniences of a Succeeding Governour; and disposing of all the Lands in the Province, that not one Inch is left to be given in reward to any who may by their Services to His Majesty deserve, . . .
Source: Charles M. Andrews, Narratives of the Insurrections, 1675-1690 (New York, 1915), 375-401. *Some spelling has been modernized.
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