New York Provincial Congress
|Founded||May 22, 1775|
|Disbanded||April 20, 1777|
|Preceded by||New York General Assembly|
Committee of Sixty
|Succeeded by||New York State Legislature|
Peter Van Brugh Livingston (first)
Leonard Gansevoort (final)
Chairmen of the Committee of Safety
President of the Council of Safety
Pierre Van Cortlandt (1777)
|1st and 2nd Congress: New York City|
3rd Congress: White Plains
4th Congress: Fishkill
The New York Provincial Congress (1775–1777) was an revolutionary provisional government formed by colonists in 1775, during the American Revolution, as a pro-American alternative to the more conservative New York General Assembly, and as a replacement for the Committee of One Hundred. The Fourth Provincial Congress, resolving itself as the Convention of Representatives of the State of New York, adopted the first Constitution of the State of New York on April 20, 1777.
- 1 Background
- 2 First Provincial Congress
- 3 Second Provincial Congress
- 4 Third Provincial Congress
- 5 First Constitutional Convention
- 6 List of presidents and chairmen
- 7 See also
- 8 Footnotes
- 9 References
Committees of correspondence
The Committee of Fifty-one was a committee of correspondence in the City and County of New York that first met on May 16, 1774. On May 30, the Committee formed a subcommittee to write a letter to the supervisors of the counties of New York to extort them to also form similar committees of correspondence, which letter was adopted on a meeting of the Committee on May 31. In response to the letters from Boston, on July 4, 1774 resolutions were approved to appoint five delegates, Isaac Low, John Alsop, James Duane, Philip Livingston, and John Jay, to the "Congress of Deputies from the Colonies" (the First Continental Congress), and request that the other counties also send delegates. Three counties (Westchester, Duchess, and Albany) acquiesced to the five delegates, while three counties (Kings, Suffolk, and Orange) sent delegates of their own. The First Continental Congress met from September 5 to October 26, 1774.
New York General Assembly
In January and February 1775, the New York General Assembly voted down successive resolutions approving the proceedings of the First Continental Congress and refused to send delegates to the Second Continental Congress. New York was the only colonial assembly which did not approve the proceeds of the First Continental Congress. Opposition to the Congress revolved around the opinion that the provincial houses of assembly were the proper agencies to solicit redress for grievances. In March, the Assembly broke with the rest of the colonies and wrote a petition to London, but London rejected the petition because it contained claims about a lack of authority of the "parent state" to tax colonists, "which made it impossible" to accept. The Assembly last met on April 3, 1775.
Provincial Convention (Second Continental Congress)
A Provincial Convention assembled in New York City on April 20, 1775 where delegates were elected to the Second Continental Congress. On March 15, 1775 the Committee of Sixty had issued a call to the counties of New York to send delegates to a Provincial Convention.
Philip Livingston was its chairman. It included the delegates to the first congress and also five new members. All counties other than Tryon, Gloucester, and Cumberland were represented. The scope of the Provincial Convention did not extend beyond electing delegates, and they dispersed on April 22. On April 23, news of the Battles of Lexington and Concord arrived.
First Provincial Congress
The First Provincial Congress was convened in New York City on May 22, 1775 with Peter Van Brugh Livingston as president. The first resolution adopted was obedience to recommendations made by the Continental Congress.
The congress adapted a "plan of Accommodation between Great Britain and America", which it sent to its delegates to the Continental Congress urging extreme caution in the quarrel with England. The plan demanded the English authorities repeal of all unconstitutional laws affecting the colonies and an acknowledgement of the right of the colonies to self-taxation. In return New York promised to contribute to the costs of defence, the maintenance of civil government, and to recognize England's right to regulate imperial trade.
In May, they ordered the militia to stockpile arms, undertake the removal of cannon from Fort Crown Point and Fort Ticonderoga, and the erection of fortifications and defences on Manhattan Island. All loyalists in the province were disarmed. In May, the raising of 3,000 to serve until December 31 was authorized. They condemned the planned invasion of Canada, since they had a plan of reconciliation. When in June the British troops in New York City left to board British ships, Marinus Willett intervened to prevent them taking carts loaded with arms back to the ships. The congress welcomed the return of Governor William Tryon. On June 28, 1775 they authorized the raising of the four regiments of the New York Line. On July 20, 1775, members of the Sons of Liberty and others surprised a guard and captured a British storehouse at Turtle Bay. In August, the congress ordered the removal of the cannon at Fort George and while doing so the British HMS Asia opened fire on the militia. In late 1775, the provincial militia was restructured.
|Isaac Low||City & County of New York|
|Peter Van Brugh Livingston||City & County of New York||President|
|Alexander McDougall||City & County of New York|
|Leonard Lispenard||City & County of New York|
|Joseph Hallett||City & County of New York|
|Abraham Walton||City & County of New York|
|Abraham Brasier||City & County of New York|
|Isaac Roosevelt||City & County of New York|
|John De Lancey||City & County of New York|
|James Beekman||City & County of New York|
|Samuel Verplanck||City & County of New York|
|Richard Yates||City & County of New York|
|David Clarkson||City & County of New York|
|Thomas Smith||City & County of New York|
|Benjamin Kissam||City & County of New York|
|John Morin Scott||City & County of New York|
|John Van Cortlandt||City & County of New York|
|Jacobus Van Zandt||City & County of New York|
|John Marston||City & County of New York|
|George Folliot||City & County of New York|
|Walter Franklin||City & County of New York|
|Robert Yates||City & County of Albany|
|Abraham Yates Jr.||City & County of Albany|
|Volkert P. Douw||City & County of Albany||Vice-President|
|Jacob Cuyler||City & County of Albany|
|Peter Silvester||City & County of Albany|
|Dirck Swart||City & County of Albany|
|Walter Livingston||City & County of Albany|
|Robert Van Rensselaer||City & County of Albany|
|Henry Glen||City & County of Albany|
|Abraham Ten Broeck||City & County of Albany|
|Francis Nicoll||City & County of Albany|
|Dirck Brinckerhoff||Duchess County||Chairman|
|Anthony Hoffman||Duchess County|
|Zephaniah Platt||Duchess County|
|Richard Montgomery||Duchess County|
|Ephraim Paine||Duchess County|
|Gilbert Livingston||Duchess County|
|Jonathan Landon||Duchess County|
|Gysbert Schenck||Duchess County|
|Melancton Smith||Duchess County|
|Nathaniel Sackett||Duchess County|
|Johannes Hardenbergh||Ulster County|
|James Clinton||Ulster County|
|Christopher Tappan||Ulster County|
|John Nicholson||Ulster County|
|Jacob Hoornbeck||Ulster County|
|John Coe||Orange County|
|David Pye||Orange County|
|Michael Jackson||Goshen County|
|Benjamin Tusten||Goshen County|
|Peter Clowes||Goshen County|
|William Allison||Goshen County|
|Nathaniel Woodhull||Suffolk County|
|John Sloss Hobart||Suffolk County|
|Thomas Tredwell||Suffolk County|
|John Foster||Suffolk County|
|Ezra L'Hommedieu||Suffolk County|
|Thomas Wickham||Suffolk County|
|James Havens||Suffolk County|
|Selah Strong||Suffolk County|
|Gouverneur Morris||Westchester County|
|Lewis Graham||Westchester County|
|James Van Cortlandt||Westchester County|
|Stephen Ward||Westchester County|
|Joseph Drake||Westchester County|
|Philip Van Cortlandt||Westchester County|
|James Holmes||Westchester County|
|David Dayton||Westchester County|
|John Thomas, Jr.||Westchester County|
|Robert Graham||Westchester County|
|William Paulding||Westchester County|
|Henry Williams||Kings County|
|Jeremiah Remsen||Kings County|
|Paul Michean||Richmond County|
|John Journey||Richmond County|
|Aaron Cortelyou||Richmond County|
|Richard Conner||Richmond County|
|Richard Lawrence||Richmond County|
Second Provincial Congress
The Second Provincial Congress was organized on December 6, 1775 and sat in New York City, and continued until adjournment on May 13, 1776. In January, 1776, George Washington ordered Major General Charles Lee to prepare New York City for the coming British attack. In February, the provincial congress initially refused Lee's entry, but then agreed and also decided to stop provisioning the British ships in New York harbor.
Third Provincial Congress
The Third Provincial Congress was organized on May 22, 1776. It continued in session until June 30, 1776. It took place in Fishkill. It instructed its delegates to the 2nd Continental Congress to oppose independence. On May 31, 1776, the Continental Congress recommended that each of the provinces establish themselves as states. In June, Howe's forces appeared in New York Harbor.
Notable members (partial list):
First Constitutional Convention
The Fourth Provincial Congress convened in White Plains on July 9, 1776 and became known as the First Constitutional Convention. It declared the independent state of New York on July 9, 1776. On the same day the Declaration of Independence was read by George Washington on the commons of New York City to the Continental Army and local citizens, who celebrated by tearing down the statue of George III in Bowling Green. On July 10, 1776, the Fourth Provincial Congress changed its name to the Convention of Representatives of the State of New York, and "acts as legislature without an executive." On August 1, the convention assigned the task of drafting a constitution to a committee of thirteen and ordered it to report a draft by August 27, but it did not do so until March 12, 1777. While adjourned it left a Committee of Safety in charge.
The Constitution of the State of New York was adopted on April 20, 1777. The governor would be elected and not appointed, voting qualifications were reduced, secret ballots were introduced, and civil rights were guaranteed. On July 9, 1778 the State of New York signed the Articles of Confederation and officially became part of the government of the United States of America, though it had been a part of the nation as representative were signatories to the Declaration in 1776.
List of presidents and chairmen
1st Provincial Congress
- Peter Van Brugh Livingston May 23, 1775
- Nathaniel Woodhull Aug 23, 1775 pro tem
- Abraham Yates Nov 2, 1775 pro tem
2nd Provincial Congress
- Nathaniel Woodhull Dec 6, 1775
- John Haring Dec 16, 1775 pro tem
- Nathaniel Woodhull Feb 12, 1776 pro tem
3rd Provincial Congress
4th Provincial Congress and Representative Convention
- Nathaniel Woodhull Jul 9, 1776
- Abraham Yates Aug 10, 1776 pro tem
- Abraham Yates Aug 28, 1776
- Peter Van Brugh Livingston Sep 26, 1776
- Abraham Ten Broeck Mar 6, 1777
- Leonard Gansevoort Apr 18, 1777
Chairmen of the Committee of Safety
- Nathaniel Woodhull July 10, 1776 to August 10, 1776
- Abraham Yates August 10, 1776 to September 26, 1776
- Peter Van Brugh Livingston September 26, 1776 to March 6, 1777
- Abraham Ten Broeck March 6, 1777 to April 9, 1777
- William Smith April 9, 1777 to April 11, 1777
- Pierre Van Cortlandt April 11, 1777 to April 18, 1777
- Leonard Gansevoort April 18, 1777 to May 14, 1777
President of the Council of Safety
- Pierre Van Cortlandt May 14, 1777 to July 30, 1777
- Dawson 1886, pp. 7-10.
- Dawson 1886, p. 20.
- Dawson 1886, p. 24.
- Dawson 1886, p. 29.
- Dawson, Henry (1886). Westchester County, New York, During the American Revolution. p. 61.
- Edward Countryman, "Consolidating Power in Revolutionary America: The Case of New York, 1775–1783." Journal of Interdisciplinary History 6.4 (1976): 645-677. in JSTOR
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2014-12-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Google Book The New York Civil List compiled by Franklin Benjamin Hough (page 47; Weed, Parsons and Co., 1858)
- Launitz-Schurer pg. 161
- New York (State) Dept. of State (1868). Calendar of Historical Manuscripts, Relating to the War of the Revolution, in the Office of the Secretary of State, Albany, N.Y. Weed, Parsons & Company, Printers. p. 86. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
- Lamb, Martha Joanna (1880). History of the City of New York: Its Origin, Rise, and Progress. A. S. Barnes. p. 31. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
- Albany Institute (1873). Proceedings of the Albany Institute. J. Munsell. p. 321. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
- Schechter, Stephen (1990). "The New York State Constitution, 1777". In Schechter, Stephen (ed.). Roots of the Republic: American Founding Documents Interpreted. p. 169. ISBN 1461642795. LCCN 90-6396.