Thomas Dongan


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Dongan, THOMAS, colonial governor; born in Castletown, county Kildare, Ireland, in 1634; a younger son of an Irish baronet; was a colonel in the royal army, and served under the French King. In 1678 he was appointed lieutenant-governor of Tangier, Africa, whence he was recalled in 1680. The relations between England and France were then delicate, and Dongan being a Roman Catholic, like the proprietor of New York, he was chosen by Duke James governor of that province (1683), as it was thought his experience in France might make it easier to keep up friendly relations with the French on the borders. Dongan caused a company of merchants in New York to be formed for the "management of the fisheries at Pemaquid, a part of the duke's domain, and he took measures to protect the territory from encroachments. Dongan managed the relations between the English, French, and Indians with dexterity. He was not deceived by the false professions of the French rulers or the wiles of the Jesuit priests; and when DE NONVILLE invaded the country of the Five Nations (1686) he showed himself as bold as this leader in defense of the rights of Englishmen. Dongan sympathized with the people of his province in their aspirations for liberty, which his predecessor (Andros) had denied; and he was instrumental in the formation of the first General Assembly of New York, and in obtaining a popular form of government. When the King violated his promises while he was duke, Dongan was grieved, and protested; and when the monarch ordered him to introduce French priests among the Five Nations, the enlightened governor resisted the measure as dangerous to English power on the continent. His firmness in defense of the rights of the people and the safety of the English colonies in America against what he could not but regard as the treachery of the King finally offended his sovereign, and he was dismissed from office in the spring of 1688, when Andros took his place, bearing a vice-regal commission to rule all New England besides. Dongan remained in the province until persecuted by Leisler in 1690, when he withdrew to Boston. He died in London, England, Dec. 14, 1715.

On May 24, 1901, eight loose sheets of parchment, containing the engrossed acts passed during 1687-88, and bearing the signature of Thomas Dongan as governor of the province of New York, were restored to the State of New York by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This interesting historical find was accounted for on the presumption that the documents had formed a part of the archives of Massachusetts since the time of Sir Edmund Andros, and the fact that they related to the province of New York had been entirely overlooked.

The dates and titles of the Dongan acts are:

March 17, 1686-87.-An Act to Prevent Frauds and Abuses in the County of Suffolk.

June 17, 1687. An Act for Raising 1/2d. per Pound on All Real Estates.

Aug. 20, 1687.-A Bill for. Raising ld. per Pound on All Persons, Estates, etc.

Sept. 2, 1687.-An Act for Raising 1/2d. per Pound on All Persons, Estates, etc.

Sept. 2, 1687.-An Act for Regulating the Collection of His Majesty's Excise.

Sept. 27, 1687.-An Act for Naturalizing Daniel Duchemin.

Oct. 11, 1687.-A Bill to Prevent Frauds in His Majesty's Excise by Ordinary Keepers.

May 17, 1688. An Act for Raising 2,555 6s. on or before the First Day of November, 1688. See NEW YORK.



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