an immense gain for liberty, and for free and orderly government in New YorkThe last Stuart king had never granted the liberties he had promised to the colonists; but by his successor they were immediately given in full. Hitherto New York's share in self-government had depended purely on the pleasure of her successive rulers. Under and owing to William of Orange, she made the first noteworthy advance in the direction of self-government by right, irrespective of the views of the royal governor who might be over her.
Throughout all this period New York was a little seaport town, without manufactures, and dependent upon ocean industries for her well-being. There was little inland commerce; everything was done by shipping. The merchants were engaged in the river trade with Albany and the interior, in the coast trade with the neighboring colonies, in the fisheries, and in the sea trade with England, Africa, and the East and West Indies. Every few years there occurred a prolonged maritime war with either France or Spain, and sometimes with both. Then the seas were scourged and the coasts vexed by the war-ships and privateers of the hostile powers; and the intervals of peace were troubled by the ravages of pirate and picaroon. Commerce was not a merely peaceful calling; and those who went down to the sea in ships led troublous lives.