A Letter from Governor Richard Nicolls to the Inhabitants of Long Island

February 1665

Whereas the Inhabitants of Long Island, have for a Long time groaned under many grievous inconveniences, and discouragements occasioned partly from their subjection, partly from their opposition to a forraigne Power, in which distracted condition, few or no Lawes could bee putt in due Execution, Bounds and Titles to Lands disputed, Civill Libertyes interrupted, and from this Generall Confusion, private dissentions and animosityes, have too much prevailed against Neighborly Love, and Christian Charity; To the preventing of the future growth of like Evils, his Majesty as a signall grace and honor to his subjects upon Long Island, hath at his owne charge reduc’t the forraigne Power to his obedience and by Pattent hath invested his Royall Highness the Duke of York with the full and absolute Power, in and over all and every the Particular Tracts of Land therein mentioned, which said Power by Comission from his Royall Highnesse the Duke of York, I am deputed to put in execution. In discharge therefore of my Trust and Duty, to Settle good and knowne Laws within this government for the future, and receive your best advice and Information in a General Meeting, I have thought fitt to Publish unto you, That upon the last day of this present February, at Hempsteed upon Long Island, shall be held a Generall Meeting, which is to consist of Deputyes chosen by the major part of the freemen only, which is to be understood of all Persons rated according to their Estates, whether English, or Dutch, within your severall Towns and precincts, whereof you are to make Publication to the Inhabitants, foure dayes before you proceed to an Election appointing a certain day to that purpose; You are futher to impart to the Inhabitants from mee, that I do heartily recommend to them the choice of the most sober, able and discreet persons, without partiality or faction, the fruite & benefitt whereof will return to themselves in a full and perfect settlement and composure of all controversyes, and the propagation of true Religion amongst us. They are also required to bring with them a Draught of each Towne Limits, or such writings as are necessary to evidence the Bounds and Limitts, as well as the right by which they challenge such Bounds and Limits, by Grant or Purchase, or both, as also to give notice of this meeting to Sachems of the Indyans, whose presence may in some cases bee accessary. Lastly I do require you to Assemble your Inhabitants and read this Letter to them, and then and there to nominate a day for the Election of two Deputyes from your Towne, who are to bring a certificate of their due election, (with full power to conclude any cause or matter relating to their several Townes) to mee at Hempsteed upon the last day of February, where (God willing) I shall expect them.

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