Many colonists, meanwhile, began to complain that they were being denied the “liberties of Englishmen,” especially the right to consent to taxation.
There had been no representative assembly under the Dutch, and the governors appointed by the duke of York at first ruled without one. Discontent was especially strong on Long Island, which had been largely settled by New Englanders used to self-government.
In 1683, the duke agreed to call an elected assembly, whose first act was to draft a Charter of Liberties and Privileges. The Charter required that elections be held every three years among male property owners and the freemen of New York City; it also reaffirmed traditional English rights such as trial by jury and security of property, as well as religious toleration for all Protestants. In part, the Charter reflected an effort by newer English colonists to assert dominance over older Dutch settlers by establishing the principle that the “liberties” to which New Yorkers were entitled were those enjoyed by Englishmen at home.