This section is from the book "Popular Law Library Vol1 Introduction To The Study Of Law Legal History", by Albert H. Putney. Also see: Popular Law-Dictionary.
New York differed greatly from the other original colonies, in that her original colonies and settlers were not English but Dutch. Although Holland was at the time a certain kind of Republic, the colonial government and laws of her American colony were very illiberal, being, in the main, based upon the old principles and methods of the feudal system. In 1664, New Amsterdam (as the colony had been previously called) passed into the control of the English. For a while New York was a proprietary colony under the rule of James, Duke of York, (afterwards King James II,) but was soon made a royal province. The Dutch element in the population of the colony was always large, with the result that this colony was often out of sympathy with her sister colonies. The political history of the colony was less stormy than that of most of her neighbors. The Tory sentiment was perhaps stronger there than in any other colony, and New York played a very important part in the Revolutionary War, while her narrow and selfish spirit, in the period which followed the peace with England, did much to embarrass the central government and to drive the American Union more than once close to the rocks of anarchy or civil war. The colonial laws and government of New York possessed no features of particular interest or importance, closely resembling those of the other royal provinces.