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cessors, and to posterity, some memorial of their civil transactions. In most of the principal states, such records are to be found, and furnish the historian with much minute and local information. It is to be re. gretted, however, that with respect to New York, from its first settlement by the Dutch in 1614 until 1636, there are scarcely any records remaining rela. tive to the public affairs of the community. The English settlers on Connecticut river, were regarded, it appears, by the Dutch, as encroaching upon their territory, and in the year 1638 a prohibition was issued by William Kieft, the second Dutch governor, forbidding the English to trade at the Dutch posts established on that river. This, it seems, gave rise to a sharp controversy; and the publication of the documents, commencing with the protest of Kieft, and concluding with the articles of agreement relative to the partition line, will not, probably, prove unaccepta. ble to the curious mind.

A statesman of the present day cannot, perhaps, refrain from smiling at the quaint style of these documents, and at the simple nature of the grievances and aggressions which are the chief subjects of this official correspondence. And yet, perhaps, when considered in relation to remote consequences, resulting from the maintenance or relinquishment of territorial rights; the disputes of these rude and rival colonists, who were opening paths through the wilderness for the progress of cultivation, and marking out the ground plot, on which are now rising the wide and lofty fabrics of two powerful states, are not to be regarded as insignificant or uninteresting.

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In a few years afterwards, however, the Dutch ceased to be a party in this contention, being compelled by conquest to resign their territory to the dominion of Great Britain. A new system

of ment was then introduced by the authority of the Duke of York, to whom King Charles II. had made a grant of the colony, and a new body of laws was thereupon compiled under the direction of Nicolls, the first English governor. This code, it appears, was promulgated in every county, under the name of the “Duke's Laws,” a copy of which, transcribed from the records of Hempstead, on Long Island, will be found at the close of the present publication. These laws continued in force till the period of the revolution in England, and ceased to have effect in the year 1691, when the general assembly of the province began to exercise a new legislative power under the sovereignty of King William.

The documents contained in this volume are arranged, for the most part, in chronological order. This method, though convenient, and deemed expedient in the present case, is by no means considered as essential, or even important in a compilation, professing to furnish materials for historical composition, rather than connected history. Should the society be enabled by public patronage, to compile a series of volumes like the present, they will consider themselves as at perfect liberty to adhere to this plan, or to disregard it at pleasure.

The publication of the list of the members, and the catalogue of donations, is reserved for the next volume.

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THE

CONSTITUTION

OF THE

NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY.

INSTITUTED THE 10th OF DECEMBER, 1804.

INCORPORATED THE 10th OF FEBRUARY, 1809.

I. This Society shall be denominated “ The New-York Historical Society."

II. The object of the Society shall be to discover, procure, and preserve whatever may relate to the natural, civil

, literary, and ecclesiastical history of the United States in general, and of this State in particular,

III. The Society shall consist of resident and ho. norary members; the former, to be persons residing in the State of New York; the latter, persons residing elsewhere.

IV. The officers of the Society, to be elected annually and by ballot, shall be,

A President,
A first Vice-President,
A second Vice-President,
A Treasurer,
A Recording Secretary,
A Corresponding Secretary,
A Librarian,
A Standing Committee of seven Members.

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