The system was at war with Puritan
usages; the Dutch
in the colony readily caught the idea of relying on themselves; and the persevering restlessness of the people led to a general assembly of two deputies from
each village in New Netherland; an assembly which Stuyvesant
was unwilling to sanction, and could not prevent.
As in Massachusetts
, this first convention1
sprung from the will of the people; and it claimed the right of deliberating on the civil condition of the country.
‘The States General
of the United Provinces:’— such was the remonstrance and petition, drafted by George Baxter
, and unanimously adopted by the convention— “are our liege lords; we submit to the laws of the United Provinces; and our rights and privileges ought to be in harmony with those of the Fatherland, for we are a member of the state, and not a subjugated people.
We, who have come together from various parts of the world, and are a blended community of various lineage; we, who have, at our own expense, exchanged our native lands for the protection of the United Provinces; we, who have transformed the wilderness into fruitful farms,—demand, that no new laws shall be enacted but with consent of the people, that none shall be appointed to office but with the approbation of the people, that obscure and obsolete laws shall never be revived.”
was taken by surprise.
He had never had faith in ‘the wavering multitude;’3
and doubts of man's capacity for self-government dictated his reply.
Will you set your names to the visionary notions