This calendar covering the executive minutes of the New York colonial council from 1668-1783, was prepared by Mr Berthold Fernow, keeper of historical records, shortly before his resignation April 1, 1889, and was intended to form with other calendars an additional volume of the series of Documents relative to the colonial history of the state of New York.
Numbering of volumes. No minutes exist for the period directly following the surrender of New Netherland to the English, Aug. 59, 1664, the earliest being those of the council convened by Gov. Francis Lovelace, Sept. 2, 1668. Many of the executive acts of Gov. Richard Nicolls's administration are to be found in "General entries 1664-65" and "Court of assize, 1665-72," which volumes were for that reason listed by John Van Ness Yates in his Report of the secretary of state relative to the records etc. in his office, 1820, as 1 and 2 of a set of 33 volumes of colonial council minutes and general entries, while the first volume of regular council minutes 1668-78 was marked 3. This volume consists of two parts; the first ending July 11, 1673, and the second beginning Oct 31, 1674. Minutes for the intervening period of Dutch control are found in "New York colonial mss", 23: 1-270 and have been translated and printed as "Minutes of council of the administrations of commanders Evertsen and Eenckes and of Anthony Colve, governor of New Netherland, 1673 and 1674", in Documents relative to the colonial history of the state of New York , 2 : 569- 730. Toward the end of the second part of the volume another interruption in the minutes occurs from Nov. 10, 1677-Aug. 17, 1678, including the period of Gov. Edmund Andros's visit to England and the temporary administration of Capt. Anthony Brockholls. Minutes for this period may be found in "New York colonial mss.", vol. 26-27.
A volume of "General entries 1671-74 " having been marked 4, the next volume of council minutes, covering the years 1683-88 is marked 5, leaving a gap from 1678 to 1683; part of the minutes for that period, up to November 1680, may be found in "New York colonial mss" vol. 29, while other executive acts are recorded in "General entries 1678- 80," vol. 32, and "Entries 1682-83," vol. 33. A gap in the council minutes occurs again between vol. 5, breaking off with the last council under Gov. Thomas Dongan Aug. 2, 1688, and vol. 6 beginning with the first council under Gov. Henry Sloughter, Mar. 19, 1691. For the first year of this period, when New York was united with New England under Gov. Sir Edmund Andros, no regular proceedings are among the New York archives, but for the years 1689-91, covering the administration of Jacob Leisler, a full record of commissions, appointments, orders, accounts, etc. with numerous letters are found in vol. 6 of "New York colonial mss." After vol. 6 the minutes form one uninterrupted series till Mar. 11, 1776. A few pages of minutes of the councils of Gov. James Robertson and Lt.-gov. Andrew Elliott from Mar. 23, 1780-Nov. 19, 1783, held at New York city then in the hands of the British are also recorded.
Legislative minutes. Beginning with the first regular colonial legislature, convened in 1691 by Gov. Sloughter, the council became a legislative body, coordinate with the assembly. Its legislative minutes have been printed as the Journal of the legislative council of the colony of New York begun the 9th day of Ap, 1691 and ended the 3d day of Ap. 1775. 2v. Alb. 1861, and for that reason are not entered in this calendar.
In vol. 6-8, executive and legislative minutes are kept separate, the latter at the end of each volume. Vol. 6 contains also the minutes of the council in its judicial capacity 1687-88, and vol. 7, proceedings of the court of oyer and terminer, 1679-85. In vol. 9-17, 1702-36, the two functions were mingled and the minutes printed as legislative have been marked by a pen or pencil line in the margin. Vol. 18, 20, 22, 24, 27, 28 and 30 contain only legislative minutes and were printed entire as also some minutes of 1775-76, found in vol. 26.
Of the greater part of these minutes the state library has two and in some cases even three copies. The first and most complete set described above and used for the compilation of this calendar, consists of engrossed minutes except vol. 9-11, which are made up of blank books of rough copies. The second set, covering with some interruptions the years 1709-76, consists entirely of blank books from which a few minutes not found in the bound volumes of engrossed minutes have been inserted in the calendar. The third set containing the original drafts of the proceedings of 1754-75 are in the form of loose sheets.
A. J. F. van Laer