New York Assembly Suspended

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New York Assembly Suspended

NEW YORK ASSEMBLY SUSPENDED. 1767–1769. On 13 December 1765, Major General Thomas Gage, the British commander in chief in North America, asked Governor Henry Moore to request the New York assembly to make provisions for complying with the Quartering Act. The assembly refused full compliance in January 1766, contending that because more regular troops were stationed at New York City (Gage's headquarters) than in any other colony, New York was being unfairly burdened by the act. On 13 June 1766, Moore again informed the assembly that provisions should be made for quartering more regular troops expected to arrive at New York City. On the 19th the assembly again refused full compliance, pleading insufficient financial resources. A period of mounting tension led to a clash between soldiers and citizens on 11 August. When the assembly refused for a third time to support the Quartering Act (15 December), the governor prorogued it (19 December). On 15 June 1767 the king gave his assent to Charles Townshend's act suspending the legislative powers of the New York assembly, effective from 1 October until such time as it complied with the Quartering Act. About the same time, the assembly finally voted some funds for troop support, and the governor used this as a basis for not carrying out the suspension. Although the assembly was never suspended, the willingness of the imperial government to take this drastic step showed the colonists the extent to which the mother country was ready to browbeat them into submission.

When the Board of Trade reviewed the matter in May 1768, it ruled that the acts of the New York assembly after 1 October 1767 were invalid. After a new assembly was dissolved for failure to cooperate, a third one, elected in January 1769, made the required provisions for quartering in December 1769 when it voted an appropriation of two thousand pounds. The radicals considered this compliance a betrayal by the assembly, and the ensuing friction between soldiers and citizens culminated in the "battle" of Golden Hill on 19 January 1770.

SEE ALSO Gage, Thomas; Golden Hill, Battle of; Quartering Acts; Townshend, Charles.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Douglas, David C., gen. ed. English Historical Documents. Vol. 9, American Colonial Documents to 1776. Edited by Merrill Jensen. New York: Oxford University Press, 1955.

Shy, John. Toward Lexington: The Role of the British Army in the Coming of the American Revolution. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1965.

Thomas, Peter D. G. British Politics and the Stamp Act Crisis: The First Phase of the American Revolution, 1763–1767. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975.

―――――――. Tea Party to Independence: The Third Phase of the American Revolution, 1773–1776. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991.

                         revised by Harold E. Selesky