CHARLES II (1630-1685), King of England. Letter signed ("Charles R") to Lord Chancellor Heneage, Lord Finch "Our Keeper of Our great Seale of England," Windsor Castle, 30 July 1674. 1 page, folio (12¼ x 7 7/16 in.), integral blank, written in a clear English clerical hand, boldly signed by the King in upper blank portion, verso docketed "Warrant for Sealing Major Andros his Commission & taking possession of New York yielded by ye Dutch in ye late Peace." In very fine condition.
NEW YORK PASSES TO GREAT BRITAIN: CHARLES II ORDERS THE SEIZURE OF "THE PLACE CALLED BY THE DUTCH NEW NETHERLANDS, BUT BY OUR SUBJECTS NEW YORK"
An historic warrant ordering the certification of the commission of Major Edmund Andros (1637-1714), authorizing him, on the King's behalf, to take full possession of the former Dutch colony of New Netherlands, formally ceded to England in 1664, but retaken by a Dutch naval force in 1672 in the Third Anglo-Dutch War. When the war's disruption of trade proved too costly to both sides, the Dutch had sued for peace, promising to return all the territories taken from England, including New Netherland. In February the treaty was ratified by the nearly bankrupt King Charles. The King and the Duke of York, who held proprietary rights to the colony, were anxious to regain control of the strategically placed colony and its profitable port of New York (at the time, New York city constituted the largest settlement in North America between Boston and Havana). The Duke of York specified that Edmund Andros, an experienced soldier who had spent years in the West Indies and spoke fluent Dutch, should be appointed governor. Here, the King directs that the Great Seal be affixed to the Commission for Andros: "Our will and pleasure is that you forthwith cause Our great Seale to be applied unto a Commission whereby we have impowered Our Trusty & Wellbeloved Major Edmund Andros, and in case of his deathe or other accident Antony Brockhurst Gent. In Our name & for Our Use to demand, & to take into possession the place in the West Indies called by the Dutch New Netherlands, but by Our Subjects New York, together with all the Fortifications, Artillery, Arms, Ammunition & Necessaries of Warre according to the Sixth Article of the Treaty of Peace concluded between Us & the States Generall of the United Provinces."
Andros held the post of governor until 1680, but aroused the enmity of some English residents and was recalled to England; in 1683 Colonel Thomas Dongan replaced him as Governor. No similar document appears in H.P. Kraus, Catalogue 150, The Andros Papers.
Provenance: Anonymous owner (sale, Christie's London, 23 February 1983, lot 21, illustrated).