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The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, and all that wealth e'er gave,
In order to explain the sudden danger which menaced the father of Adelpha Leisler, and which she, like a true, heroic daughter, hastened to brave, we will be compelled to narrate some events in our story of a historical nature. Jacob Leisler was an influential colonist of an old Dutch family, as has been stated, and a Presbyterian.
Under the reign of James II. the Presbyterians had suffered, and no one rejoiced more at the accession of William and Mary than did the Dutch of New York.
Sir Edmond Andros, the weak tool of the Duke of York, had rendered himself decidedly unpopular as governor of New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Every one rejoiced when he was
finally arrested at Boston and sent to England, and no one rejoiced more than the New Yorkers themselves.
The accession of William and Mary to the throne of England was hailed with joy throughout the American Colonies. In New York, a general disaffection to the government prevailed among the people. Under the smiles of Governor Andros, papists began to settle in the colony. The collector of the revenues and several principal officers of King James threw off the mask and openly avowed their attachment to the doctrines of Rome. A Latin school was set up, and the teacher was strongly suspected of being a Jesuit. The people of Long Island were disappointed in their expectations of the favors promised by the governor on his arrival, and became his personal enemies, and in a word the whole body of the people had begun to tremble for the Protestant cause.
Here the leaven of opposition first began to work, Intelligence from England of the designs there in favor of Orange elevated the hopes of the disaffected; but until after the rupture in Boston, no man dared to act. Sir Edmond Andros, who was perfectly devoted to the arbitrary measures of King James, by his tyranny in New England had drawn upon himself the universal odium of a people animated with a love of liberty, and in the defense of
it resolute and courageous. Therefore, when unable longer to endure his despotic rule, he was seized, imprisoned and afterward sent to England as has been stated. The government was, in the meantime, vested in a committee of safety, of which Mr. Bradstreet was chosen president.
Already, information of the popular uprising in England for the Prince of Orange had reached New York and was stirring the blood of the progenitors of the old Knickerbockers, who longed to have their own beloved prince with them. On receiving news of the arrest of the detested Andros, several captains of the New York militia convened themselves to concert measures in favor of the Prince of Orange. Among them was Jacob Leisler, Adelpha's father, who was most active of all.
He was a man of wealth and considerable esteem among the people, but destitute of the qualifications essential to such an enterprise. His son-in-law, Milborne, a shrewd Englishman, directed all his councils, while Leisler as absolutely influenced the other officers.
The first thing they contrived was to seize the garrison of New York; and the custom, at that time, of guarding it every night by militia gave Leisler a fine opportunity of executing the design. He entered it with forty-nine men and determined to hold it till the whole militia should join him.
Colonel Dougan, who was about to leave the province, then lay embarked in the bay, having a little before resigned the government to Francis Nicholson, the lieutenant-governor. The council, civil officers and magistrates of the city were against Leisler, and therefore many of his friends were at first fearful of espousing a cause opposed by so many noted gentlemen. For this reason, Leisler's first declaration in favor of the Prince of Orange was subscribed by only a few among several companies of the train-bands.
While the people, for four successive days, were in the utmost perplexity to determine what party to choose, being solicited by Leisler on the one hand and threatened by the lieutenant-governor on the other, the town was alarmed with a report that three ships were coming up with orders from the Prince of Orange. This report, though false, served to further the interests of Leisler; for on that day, June 3d, 1689, his party was augmented by the addition of six captains and four hundred men in New York and a company of seventy men from East Chester, who all subscribed a second declaration, mutually covenanting to hold the fort for that prince. Until this time, Colonel Dougan continued in the harbor, waiting the issues of these commotions, and Nicholson's party, being unable longer to contend with their opponents, were
totally dispersed, the lieutenant-governor himself absconding on the very night after the declaration was signed.
Leisler, being in complete possession of the fort, sent home an address to King William and Queen Mary, as soon as he received the news of their accession to the throne. The address was a tedious, incorrect, ill-drawn narrative of the grievances which the people had endured and the methods lately taken to secure themselves, ending with a recognition of the king and queen over the whole English dominion. This address was soon fol. lowed by a private letter from Leisler to King William, which, in very broken English, informed his majesty of the state of the garrison, the repairs he had made to it, and the temper of the people, and concluded with a strong protestation of his sincerity, loyalty and zeal.
Jost Stoll, an ensign, on delivering this letter, had the honor to kiss his majesty's hand; but Nicholson, the lieutenant-governor, and one Ennis, an Episcopal clergyman, arrived in England before him, and by falsely representing the late measures in New York, as proceeding rather from their aversion to the Church of England than zeal for the Prince of Orange, Leisler and his party were deprived of the rewards and notice which their activity for the revolution justly warranted. Though