Chapter

New York: The Persistence of Dutch and Puritan Law

William E. Nelson

in The Common Law in Colonial America

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199937752
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199301539 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199937752.003.0003
New York: The Persistence of Dutch and Puritan Law

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Lacking both a sizable army and a bureaucracy, New York's first English governor strove to govern through lawyers who, indeed, were aboard the ships that conquered New Amsterdam in 1664. Pursuant to the articles of surrender, he agreed to allow the communities of the Hudson Valley to continue living under Dutch law administered by courts conducted in the Dutch manner. As a result, his English-trained lawyers headquartered in New York City never fully understood what the Hudson Valley courts were doing and accordingly could not provide adequate appellate supervision. Habits of independence thereby developed. On Long Island, the Court of Assizes, which possessed appellate jurisdiction, never rode circuit. Nor did lawyers from the city travel to the island. Again, the result was independence.

Keywords: appellate; Court of Assizes; Duke's Laws; Dutch law; Hudson Valley; independence; lawyers; Long Island

Chapter.  6420 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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