The New York Provincial Congress
(1775-1777) was an organization formed by rebels in 1775, during the American Revolution
, as a replacement for the Province of New York
Assembly, and as a replacement for the Committee of One Hundred
A Provincial Convention assembled in New York City on April 20, 1775 with Philip Livingston as its chairman. All counties other than Tryon, Gloucester, and Cumberland were represented. Delegates were elected to the Second Continental Congress, which included the delegates to the first congress and also five new members. The scope of the Provincial Convention did not extend beyond electing delegates, and they dispersed on April 22.
On April 23, news of the Battles of Lexington and Concord arrived.
First Provincial Congress
The First Provincial Congress was convened in New York City
on May 22, 1775 with Peter Van Brugh Livingston
as president. The first resolution adopted was obedience to recommendations made by the Continental Congress.
The congress adapted a "plan of Accommodation between Great Britain and America", which it sent to its delegates to the Continental Congress urging extreme caution in the quarrel with England. The plan demanded the English authorities repeal of all unconstitutional laws affecting the colonies and an acknowledgement of the right of the colonies to self-taxation. In return New York promised to contribute to the costs of defence, the maintenance of civil government, and to recognize England's right to regulate imperial trade.
In May, they ordered the militia to stockpile arms, undertake the removal of cannon from Fort Crown Point and Fort Ticonderoga, and the erection of fortifications and defences on Manhattan Island. All loyalists in the province were disarmed. In May, the raising of 3,000 to serve until December 31 was authorized. They condemned the planned invasion of Canada, since they had a plan of reconciliation. When in June the British troops in New York City left to board British ships, Marinus Willett intervened to prevent them taking carts loaded with arms back to the ships. The congress welcomed the return of Governor William Tryon. On June 28, 1775 they authorized the raising of the four regiments of the New York Line. On July 20, 1775, members of the Sons of Liberty and others surprised a guard and captured a British storehouse at Turtle Bay. In August, the congress ordered the removal of the cannon at Fort George and while doing so the British HMS Asia opened fire on the militia. In late 1775, the provincial militia was restructured.
It adjourned on November 4, 1775 and appointed a Committee of Safety to sit during its recess. This committee was dominated by Alexander McDougall and John Morin Scott.
Second Provincial Congress
The Second Provincial Congress was organized on December 6, 1775 and sat in New York City, and continued until adjournment on May 13, 1776. In January, 1776, George Washington ordered Major General Charles Lee to prepare New York City for the coming British attack. In February, the provincial congress initially refused Lee's entry, but then agreed and also decided to stop provisioning the British ships in New York City harbour.
Third Provincial Congress
The Third Provincial Congress was organized on May 22, 1776. It continued in session until June 30, 1776. It instructed its delegates to the 2nd Continental Congress
to oppose independence. On May 31, 1776, the Continental Congress recommended that each of the provinces establish themselves as states. On June 17, the provincial congress called a new election with the delegates vested with the power to declare independence. In June, Howe's forces appeared off the coast of New York City.
First Constitutional Convention
The Fourth Provincial Congress convened in White Plains on July 9, 1776 and became known as the First Constitutional Convention. It declared the independent state of New York
on July 9, 1776. New York City celebrated by tearing down the statue of George III in Bowling Green
. On July 10, 1776, the Fourth Provincial Congress changed its name to the Convention of Representatives of the State of New York, and "acts as legislature without an executive." While adjourned it left a Committee of Safety
The Constitution of the State of New York was adopted on April 20, 1777. The governor would be elected not appointed, voting qualifications were reduced, secret ballots were introduced, and civil rights were guaranteed. On July 9, 1778 the State of New York signed the Articles of Confederation and become part of the United States of America.
President of Provincial Congress
1st Provincial Congress
2nd Provincial Congress
3rd Provincial Congress
4th Provincial Congress and Representative Convention
Chairmen of the Committee of Safety
- Nathaniel Woodhull July 10, 1776 to August 10, 1776
- Abraham Yates August 10, 1776 to September 26, 1776
- Peter Van Brugh Livingston September 26, 1776 to March 6, 1777
- Abraham Ten Broeck March 6, 1777 to April 9, 1777
- William Smith April 9, 1777 to April 11, 1777
- Pierre Van Cortlandt April 11, 1777 to April 18, 1777
- Leonard Gansevoort April 18, 1777 to May 14, 1777
President of the Council of Safety
- Fernow, Berthold, New York in the Revolution, 1887
- Launitz-Schurer, Leopold, Loyal Whigs and Revolutionaries, The making of the revolution in New York, 1765-1776, 1980, ISBN 0-8147-4994-1