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The Middle Colonies Also Frustrated English Visions Of An Empire Responsive To Command

Although engaged in especially fractious political competition, the middle colonies avoided the violence that accompanied ethnic and religious difference in Europe. The rhetorical rancor of ethnocultural politics apparently vented resentments peacefully, which precluded a resort to house burnings and murder. The combination of contention and restraint appeared in the 1764 Pennsylvania election, when Benjamin Franklin criticized the bloc voting by German voters as "the Palatine Boors herding together." His opponents freely translated Franklin's words into the German complaint "that I call'd them a Herd of Hogs." Turning out in unprecedented numbers, the Germans ensured Franklin's defeat - but no one died or lost their home to a riot.

The middle colonies defined a distinctive culture and social order that precociously anticipated the American future. But the fractious diversity of the middle colonies also frustrated English visions of an empire responsive to command, especially during war. The middle colonies contributed little to an empire increasingly embroiled in massive conflicts with France.

Long before Europeans explored the Delaware area, it was inhabited by several Native American groups of the Delaware -notably the Nanticoke in the south and the Minqua in the north. In 1609, Henry Hudson, in the service of the Dutch East India Company, sailed into Delaware Bay. A year later the British captain Sir Samuel Argall, bound for the colony of Virginia, also sailed into the bay. Argall named one of the capes Cape La Warre after the governor of Virginia, Thomas West, Baron De la Warr.

From the time of its discovery, the region was contested by the Dutch and English. The first settlement was established by Dutch patroons, or proprietors, in partnership with the Dutch navigator David Pietersen de Vries; it was called Swanendael and was established (1631) on the site of the town of Lewes. However, within a year it was destroyed by a Native American attack. This attack notwithstanding, the Native Americans were generally friendly and willing to trade with the newcomers.

The Dutch West India Company, organized in 1623, was more interested in trade on the South River, as the Delaware was called at that time, than in settlement (the North River was the Hudson, in the Dutch colony of New Netherland). Several Dutchmen, interested in settling the area, put their services at the disposal of Sweden and colonized the area for that country. The best known of these was Peter Minuit, who had been governor of New Amsterdam (later New York). In 1637-38 Minuit directed the colonizing expedition for the Swedes that organized New Sweden . Fort Christina was founded in 1638 on the site of Wilmington and was named in honor of the queen of Sweden. The colony grew with the arrival of Swedish, Finnish, and Dutch settlers.

English colonists from Connecticut tried to establish trading posts in the Delaware River region and failed, but Dutch interests in the area were not disposed of as easily. Peter Stuyvesant, governor of New Netherland, sailed to the Delaware region in 1651 and established Fort Casimir on the Delaware shore at the site of present-day New Castle. The Swedes captured the fort by surprise in 1654, but their triumph was brief; Stuyvesant returned with an expedition in 1655 and conquered all New Sweden. The Dutch West India Company sold part of New Sweden to the Dutch city of Amsterdam in 1656 and the rest in 1663.

In 1664 the English seized the Dutch holdings on the Delaware. The Dutch recaptured the colony in 1673 and although they held Delaware only briefly, they set up three district courts that marked the beginning of Delaware's division into three counties. The colony was returned to England in 1674 and remained in its hands until the American Revolution.

The English Duke of York (later James II) annexed the region to New York, land granted him earlier by Charles II. In 1682 the duke transferred the claim to William Penn, who wanted to secure a navigable water route from his new colony of Pennsylvania to the ocean. The three counties of Delaware thus became the Three Lower Counties (or Territories, as Penn called them) of Pennsylvania. The individual counties were called New Castle, Kent (formerly St. Jones), and Sussex (formerly Hoornkill, also known as Whorekill, and Deale). The English proprietors of Maryland contested Penn's claim to Delaware, and the boundary dispute was not fully settled until 1750.

The inhabitants of the Delaware counties were at first unwilling to be joined to the "radical" Quaker colony of Pennsylvania or to have their affairs settled in Philadelphia. They finally accepted the Penn charter of 1701 after provisions were added giving the Three Lower Counties the right to a separate assembly, which first met in 1704. Delaware maintained quasi-autonomy until the American Revolution. The two colonies maintained strong ties, however, and two of Delaware's leading statesmen during the Revolution-Thomas McKean and John Dickinson-were also prominent in Pennsylvania affairs.

The history of New Jersey goes back to Dutch and Swedish communities established prior to settlement by the English. Dutch claims to the Hudson and Delaware valleys were based on the voyages of Henry Hudson, who sailed into Newark Bay in 1609. Under the auspices of the Dutch West India Company patroonships were offered for settlement, and small colonies were located on the present sites of Hoboken, Jersey City, and Gloucester City.

Swedes and Finns of New Sweden , who predominated in the Delaware Valley after 1638, were annexed by the New Netherland colony in 1655. In 1664, New Netherland was seized for the English, but the Dutch disputed this claim. Proprietorship of lands between the Hudson (at lat. 41-°N) and the northernmost point of the Delaware was granted to Lord John Berkeley and Sir George Carteret . The original grants to Berkeley and Carteret divided the region in two. The split was further defined in the Quintipartite Deed of 1676, which divided the province into East and West Jersey. East Jersey was held by Carteret.

In 1681 William Penn and 11 other Quakers purchased East Jersey from Carteret's widow. In both Jerseys confusion resulting from the unwieldy number of landowners together with widespread resentment against authority caused the proprietors to surrender voluntarily their governmental powers to the crown in 1702, although they retained their land rights. New Jersey's independence from New York was recognized, but authority was vested in the governor of New York until 1738, when Lewis Morris was appointed governor of New Jersey alone.

Lewis Morris was an American colonial official, first lord of the manor of Morrisania in New York. The son of Richard Morris, he was born in that part of Westchester county that is now part of the Bronx, New York City. He inherited large properties in New York and New Jersey, and in 1697 his New York estate was patented as the manor of Morrisania. In 1702, Morris traveled to England to help bring about the fall of proprietary government in New Jersey. He became a bitter opponent of the arbitrary rule of Lord Cornbury, who was governor of both New York and New Jersey, and aided in securing his removal (1708). In 1715 he was made chief justice of New York, but a subsequent struggle with Govenor William Cosby resulted in his removal (1733). Upon the separation (1738) of New Jersey from New York, Morris became the first governor of New Jersey, serving until his death. His stern administration was marked by much opposition and quarreling. Under the royal governors the same problems persisted-land titles were in dispute and opposition to the proprietors culminated in riots in the 1740s.

East Jersey was dominated by Calvinism, implanted by Scottish and New England settlers, while in West Jersey the Quakers soon developed a landed aristocracy with strong political and economic influence. Anti-British sentiment gradually spread from its stronghold in East Jersey throughout the colony and took shape in Committees of Correspondence. Although the Tory party was to prove strong enough to raise six Loyalist battalions, the patriot cause was generally accepted, and in June, 1776, the provincial congress adopted a constitution and declared New Jersey a state.

Before Europeans began to arrive in the 16th cent., New York was inhabited mainly by Algonquian- and Iroquoian-speaking Native Americans. The Algonquians, including the Mohegan, Lenni Lenape, and Wappinger tribes, lived chiefly in the Hudson valley and on Long Island. The Iroquois, living in the central and western parts of the state, included the Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, and Seneca tribes, who joined c.1570 to form the Iroquois Confederacy.

Europeans first approached New York from both the sea and from Canada. Giovanni da Verrazano , a Florentine in the service of France, visited (1524) the excellent harbor of New York Bay but did little exploring. In 1609, Samuel de Champlain , a Frenchman, traveled S on Lake Champlain from Canada, and Henry Hudson , an Englishman in the service of the Dutch, sailed the Hudson nearly to Albany. The French, who had allied themselves with the Hurons of Ontario, continued to push into N and W New York from Canada, but met with resistance from the Iroquois Confederacy, which dominated W New York.

The Dutch early claimed the Hudson region, and the Dutch West India Company (chartered in 1621, organized in 1623) planted (1624) their colony of New Netherland, with its chief settlements at New Amsterdam on the lower tip of present-day Manhattan island (purchased in 1626 from the Canarsie tribe for goods worth about 60 Dutch guilders) and at Fort Nassau, later called Fort Orange (present-day Albany). To increase the slow pace of colonization the Dutch set up the patroon system in 1629, thus establishing the landholding aristocracy that became the hallmark of colonial New York. The last and most able of the Dutch administrators, Peter Stuyvesant (in office 1647-64), captured New Sweden for the Dutch in 1655.

The English, claiming the whole region on the basis of the explorations of John Cabot , made good their claim in the Second Dutch War (1664-67). In 1664 an English fleet sailed into the harbor of New Amsterdam, and Stuyvesant surrendered without a struggle. New Netherland then became the colonies of New York and New Jersey, granted by King Charles II to his brother, the duke of York (later James II ). Except for brief recapture (1673-74) by the Dutch, New York remained English until the American Revolution .

After the early days of the colony, the popular governor Thomas Dongan (1683-88) put New York on a firm basis and began to establish the alliance of the English with the Iroquois, which later played an important part in New York history. The attempt in 1688 to combine New York and New Jersey with New England under the rule of Sir Edmund Andros was a failure, turning almost all the colonists against him. The threat of the French was continuous, and New York was involved in a number of the French and Indian Wars (1689-1763). The friendship of Sir William Johnson with some of the Iroquois aided the British in the warfare and also opened part of central New York to settlers, mainly from the British Isles. Frequent warfare hindered growth, however, and much of W New York remained unsettled by colonists throughout the 18th cent.

Slowly, however, the colony, with its busy shipping and fishing fleets, its expanding farms, and its first college (King's College, founded in 1754, now Columbia Univ.), was beginning to establish its own identity, separate from that of England. Colonial self-assertiveness grew after the warfare with the French ended; there was considerable objection to the restrictive commercial laws, and the Navigation Acts were flouted by smuggling. When the Stamp Act was passed, New York was a leader of the opposition, and the Stamp Act Congress met (1765) in New York City. The policies of Lt. Gov. Cadwallader Colden, who did not oppose the Stamp Act, occasioned considerable complaint, and unrest grew.

In the early 1600s the English, Dutch, and Swedes disputed the right to the region of Pennsylvania. Explorations were confined to the Delaware River vicinity, where fur trading with the Native Americans was carried on. The original permanent settlement was established on Tinicum Island (1643) in the Delaware River by Johan Printz , governor of New Sweden , and was followed in the succeeding years by the neighboring colony of Uppland.

Swedish jurisdiction was short-lived as the Dutch, operating from their stronghold in New Amsterdam, succeeded in gaining control of the Middle Atlantic region in 1655. In turn the Dutch were overpowered by the British forces of Col. Richard Nicolls, acting for the duke of York (later James II), and in 1664 the British took over the Delaware area. The duke of York remained in control until 1681, when, in payment of a royal debt, William Penn was granted proprietary rights to almost the whole of what is now Pennsylvania, and, in addition, leased the three Lower Counties (see Delaware ).

A devout Quaker who had suffered for his beliefs, Penn viewed his colony as a holy experiment, designed to grant asylum to the persecuted under conditions of equality and freedom. In 1681 he sent William Markham as his deputy to establish a government at Uppland and sent instructed commissioners to plot the City of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia), which was laid out a few miles north of the confluence of the Delaware and the Schuylkill rivers.

Penn carefully constructed a constitution, known as the Frame of Government, that gave Pennsylvania the most liberal government in the colonies. Religious freedom was guaranteed to all who believed in God, a humane penal code was adopted, and the emancipation of slaves was encouraged. However, under the representative system that it established, the popular assembly was left in an inferior position in relation to the executive branches controlled by the proprietors. In 1682 Penn arrived at Uppland (renamed Chester). Shortly thereafter he met with the chiefs of the Delaware tribes and a famous treaty was signed that promoted long-lasting goodwill between the Native Americans and the European settlers. After Penn's death in 1718 proprietary rights were held by his heirs.

By this time Pennsylvania had developed into a dynamic and growing colony, enriched by the continuous immigration of numerous different peoples. The Quakers, English, and Welsh were concentrated in Philadelphia and the eastern counties, where they acquired great commercial and financial power through foreign trade and where they achieved a political dominance which they held until the time of the American Revolution. Philadelphia had by then become the finest city in the nation, a leader in the arts and the professions. The Germans (Pennsylvania Dutch)-largely of the persecuted religious sects of Mennonites (including Amish), Moravians, Lutherans, and Reformed-settled in the farming areas of SE Pennsylvania, where they retained their cohesion and to a considerable extent their language, customs, architecture, and superstitions.

After 1718 the Scotch-Irish began colonizing in the Cumberland Valley and gradually pushed the frontiers toward W Pennsylvania. Their rugged independence and the peculiarities of their frontier problems made them rebellious against the established order. Throughout the province agriculture was the chief occupation, although industry was spurred by abundant water power and plentiful natural resources.

In the west settlement was hindered by a growing unrest among the Native Americans. Penn's heirs lacked both the good sense and the ethical values that prompted Penn's fair and considerate treatment. Resentful of encroachment on their lands and of the land purchase made by the Albany Congress (1754), the Native Americans allied themselves with the French, who were then fortifying positions in the Ohio valley (see French and Indian Wars ). The frontier settlements were severely ravaged until, after several reverses, the French abandoned (1758) Fort Duquesne to British and American forces under Gen. John Forbes.

The power of the Native Americans was not completely broken until the suppression of the uprising of 1763. The inept defenses provided by the Quaker-controlled assembly during the crisis aroused bitter resentment and intensified efforts to overturn proprietary rule. The struggle between proprietary and antiproprietary parties was soon overshadowed, however, by the opposition to British imperial policies that culminated in the American Revolution.



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