April 2nd 1698-1701, March 5.
Bellomout was appointed, March 16, 1697. Shrewsbury thus informs the Lords of Trade: "My Lords: The King has been pleased to appoint the Earl of Bellmont to be Governor of the Provinces of New Yorke, Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire, and to be Captaine Generall during the War, of all his Majesty's forces both there, and in Connecticutt, Rhode Island and the Jerseys; which I signify to your Lordships by his Majesty's directions, that you may give orders to have his severall commissions and instructions prepared accordingly. I am, my Lords, Your Lordships most humble servant, Shrewsbury. Whitehall, 16th March, 1696-7. To the Lords of the Council of Trade and Plantations".-- Col. Docs. N. Y. iv. 261-2.
Bellomont was not Commissioned until June 18, 1697. His "Instructions" are dated Aug. 31, 1697.
He had espoused the cause of the Prince of Orange, in opposition to James II. In 1688 he became a member of Parliament and was advanced by William III. to the dignity of Earl of Bellomont. He was a member of the Committee In the House of Lords to inquire into the legality of the execution of Leisler and Milburne, and strongly declared that they had been "barbarously murdered".
Says Dix; "He came to New York, therefore, in avowed sympathy with the faction who (which?) represented the ideas and were identified with the acts of Leisler, and looked to him to reverse the political machinery of the Province and undo what had been done. A man of narrow mind and strong prejudices, he was predestined to no end of trouble in his government; nor was it long before the Churchmen of the Province realized the nature of the change in their position. As a seaman might have expressed it, the wind had now come out dead ahead and was kicking up an ugly sea". * * *
Bellomont was received by the Corporation of Trinity in a most respectful and honorable manner. His first act, however, was to dissolve Governor Fletcher's Assembly and call a new one. He charged his predecessor with dishonesty, oppression and collusion with pirates.
In his relation to the Church of England, he was a latitudinarian. He believed that the Ministry Act of 1693, secured by Fletcher, was unwise, on acount of the divisions it sought to make between the different nationalities here; and was also ineffectual in establishing the Church of England, as its language was entirely non-committal as to any Church in particular. * * *
In reference to the designs of Bellomont, he says: "It may be here remarked that for more than an entire generation the English and Dutch mingled together, and that there were few opportunities for training the people in the principles and ways of the (Episcopal) Church. The process of differentiation began with Vesey and Fletcher, and could hardly be appreciated by such a man as Bellomont, who was an indifferent Churchman, and ready to give nearly equal encouragement to the Church and Dissent. He reminds us of those of our own time, who are strong advocates of Christian union, provided always that it be effected at the expense of the faith and institutions of the (Episcopal) Church".-- Dix, 121.
EARL OF BELLOMONT'S INSTRUCTIONS TO MESSRS. SCHUYLER AND DELLIUS.
New York, April 22nd, 1698.
Instructions to Col. Peter Schyler one of the members of His Majesty's Council and Mr. Dellius Minister of Albany to be observed by them in their Negotiation with the Count Frontinac General of Canada.