THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE OF NEW YORK. (NEW YORK.) Charles II, King of England. Authorization for Edmund Andros to take possession of New York from the Dutch. Letter Signed to Heneage Finch, Baron of Daventry and Keeper of the Great Seal. One page, 12 x 7 1/2 inches, on half of a folded sheet, with original docketing on verso reading "Warrant for sealing Major Andros his Commission & taking poss'on of New York yielded by ye Dutch by ye late peace." Windsor Castle, England, 30 July 1674
In this document, King Charles II authorizes a commission for Edmund Andros 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, armes, ammunition, and necessaries of warre therein remaining." In essence, it signifies the beginning of New York's final incarnation as an English colony.
The Dutch had relinquished New Netherlands to the English in 1664, but recaptured it in August 1673 as part of the Third Anglo-Dutch War. The costly war came to a close when the Dutch agreed to return captured territory. The resulting Treaty of Westminster was ratified by the Dutch on 5 March 1674, ending the war and returning New York to English rule. Edmund Andros, then a loyal but relatively obscure soldier, was selected to serve as the colony's new governor. His commission in hand, Governor Andros departed for New York in August and arrived on 22 October. New York was in English hands to stay, for another century at least, until the colonists themselves made other arrangements.
This document was profiled in two articles by Herman Herst: "New York State's Birth Certificate" in Manuscripts 37:2 (Spring 1985), pages 125-6; and "What is the Worth of a Unique Historic Rarity?", in Forbes 139 (9 March 1987). Provenance: Christie's London sale, 23 February 1983, lot 21; Christie's New York Malcolm Forbes sale, 27 March 2002, lot 1 to Eric Caren. From Windsor Castle to the Forbes Magazine Galleries to the Caren Archives to you.
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