City and capital of the State of New York
; the oldest existing town within the domain of the original thirteen States; was first settled by Dutch
traders in 1614, who built a trading-house on Castle Island
, a little below the site of Albany
, and eight years afterwards Fort Orange
was built on that site.
The settlement was called Fort Orange
at first, then Beverswyck, and after the Province of New Netherland passed into the possession of the English
it was called Albany
, the second title of Duke James
, afterwards James II.
is yet full of the descendants of its early settlers, and has a large present importance by reason of its trade relations with the Western
and Southern States, promoted by its exceptional shipping facilities by river, railroad,
In 1890 the population was 93,313; in 1900, 94,151.
is especially noted in history because of the colonial conventions held there.
The following is a synopsis of their most important transactions:
First colonial convention.
Thoroughly alarmed by the opening hostilities of the French
on the frontiers, the colonies of Massachusetts
, and Connecticut
sent commissioners to Albany
to hold a conference with the chiefs of the Five Nations, all of whom, excepting the Mohawks, had renewed their covenant of friendship with the English
This covenant was renewed June 27, 1689, previous to the arrival of Count Frontenac
The commissioners held the conference in September following.
They tried to persuade the Five Nations to engage in the war against the Eastern Indians
They would not agree to do so, but ratified the existing friendship with the English
“We promise,” they said, “to preserve the chain inviolably, and wish that the sun may always shine in peace over al our heads that are comprehended in the chain.”
Second colonial convention.
In the summer of 1748, when news of the preliminary treaty of peace reached the colonies, a convention or congress of colonial governors was called at Albany
for a two-fold purpose: (1) to secure a colonial revenue, and (2) to strengthen the bond of friendship between the Six Nations and their neighbors in the West
, and the English
Only Governors Clinton
, two able commissioners from Massachusetts
, and one (William Bull
) from South Carolina
With the latter came the grand sachem and some chiefs of the Catawbas, a nation which had long waged war with the Iroquois
There was an immense number of the Six Nations present.
The royal governors failed to gain anything for themselves in the way of a. revenue.
but satisfactory arrangements with the Indians, including the tribes along the southern borders of Lake Erie
, were made.
At that conference the commissioners from Massachusetts
and Thomas Hutchinson
) presented a memorial for adoption, praying the King
so far to interpose as that, while the French
remained in Canada
, the more southern colonies, which were not immediately exposed to hostilities, might be obliged to contribute in a just proportion towards the expense of protecting the inland portions of New York and New England
signed and approved of the memorial, which was sent with it to the Board of Trade and Plantations.
Third colonial convention.
The kindly attitude manifested towards the French
by the Six Nations excited the jealousy and alarm of the English
, especially of Governor Clinton
, of New York.
As yet, the Iroquois
had never recognized the claim of the English
to dominion over their land, and they were free to act as they pleased.
called a convention of representatives of the several English-American colonies at Albany
, and invited the Six Nations to send representatives to meet with them.
, and South Carolina
chose to incur the expense.
Delegates from these colonies met the chiefs of the Six Nations (July 5, 1751) and made a treaty of friendship.
” of the Catawbas and several chiefs accompanied the South Carolina
delegate (William Bull
), and a peace between that Southern nation and the Iroquois
was settled at the same time.
Fourth colonial convention.
There were indications that the Six Nations, influenced by French emissaries, were becoming alienated from the English
The colonists were uneasy, and the British
government, acting upon the advice of the royal governors in America
sent a circular letter to all the colonial assemblies, proposing the holding of a convention at Albany
to be composed of committees from the several legislatures and representatives of the Six Nations. Seven of the assemblies responded, and on June 19, 1754, twenty-five delegates assembled in the old City Hall at Albany
James De Lancey
, acting governor
of New York, presided, and he was authorized by the Virginia legislature to represent that colony in the convention.
The chiefs of the Six Nations were there in great numbers, of whom “King Hendrick,” of the Mohawks, was leader.
To the Indians De Lancey
first spoke, and Hendrick
responded in words of bitter reproof of the English
for their neglect of preparations for danger.
“Look at the French
,” he said; “they are men; they are fortifying everywhere; but, we are ashamed to say it, you are like women, bare and open, without any fortifications.
It is but one step from Canada
hither, and the French
may easily come and turn you out-of-doors.”
But the business with the Six Nations was closed amicably and satisfactorily by a treaty of friendship.
delegation was authorized to propose a measure quite as important as a treaty with the Indians.
It was an invitation for the convention to consider the question whether a union of the colonies for mutual defence was not desirable; and they were empowered to agree to articles of union or confederation.
The proposition was favorably received, and a committee, composed of one delegate from each colony, was appointed to draw up a plan.
The fertile brain of Dr. Benjamin Franklin
, a delegate from Pennsylvania
, had conceived a plan before he went to the convention.
It was reported by the committee and adopted by the convention, the Connecticut
delegates alone dissenting.
It proposed a grand council of forty-eight members, to be chosen by the several assemblies, the representatives of each colony to be, in number, in proportion to the contribution of each to the general treasury.
No colony was to have more than seven or less than two members.
This congress was to choose its own speaker and have the general management of all civil and military affairs, and to enact general laws in conformity to the British Constitution.
It proposed to have a president-general, appointed and paid by the crown, who should have a negative or veto power on all acts of the congress, and to have, with the advice and consent of the congress, the appointment of all military officers, and the entire management of Indian affairs; the civil officers
to be appointed by the congress with the approval of the president-general
This plan of government bore a strong resemblance to our national Constitution, which Franklin
assisted in framing more than thirty years afterwards.
This plan was submitted to the Lords
of Trade and Plantations.
They did not approve of it, nor recommend it to the King
They thought there was too much democracy
in it. The assemblies did not favor it, because they thought there was too much prerogutive
in it. So it was rejected.