English Bill of Rights, 1689

On June 7th, 1628 the Puritan men of Parliament (which included young Oliver Cromwell) delivered the Petition of Right to King Charles I to curtail royal abuse of power. In 1629 King Charles I granted a charter for a self-governing colony at Massachussetts Bay and dissolved Parliament.

Parliament re-convened in 1640 and was tumultuous. In 1642 the English Civil War began. English people emerged victorious against the King, and, in January 1649 after trial, King Charles I was executed for high treason. The principle charge against him surrounded his dealings with Roman Catholic church officials in Ireland and France in failed attempts to raise troops abroad.

Following the King's execution, England was governed for eleven years (1649-1660) as a commonwealth and protectorate. The Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, Oliver Cromwell, had repeated problems with Parliament for corruption and for contempt for the people. It was twice disbanded during that period, once personally by Mr. Cromwell.

In 1664, subsequent to the restoration of King Charles II in 1660, the king issued a charter to his brother, James the Duke of York and Albany, for the province of New York, including Suffolk County. The inhabitants of these lands were solidly Puritan and supporters of Oliver Cromwell and the Commonwealth. The King's charter placed New York under undemocratic corporate rule.

The Duke of York proved a tyrant and unsympathic to the democratic demands of the inhabitants of New York. In June 1682 petition, the Town Meeting in East Hampton unanimously approved the delivery of a grievance of this undemocratic, corporate government and petitioned that East Hampton might enjoy democratic govenment. They noticed the Duke that if he denied the petition that they would bring the matter to his brother, King Charles II.

As a result, in 1683 the first convening of the New York provincial assembly was held and a constitution of democratic government was enacted. Many laws were passed by the assembly until, in February of 1685, the duke of York became King James II and he denied acceptance of the laws enacted and moved to dissolve the assembly. I was in this context that King James II issued the December 1686 Town Pattent to East Hampton which incorporated the Township and granted the freeholders and inhabitants exclusive dominion over their lands.

In 1688-89 the English people drove King James II from the throne in the "Glorious Revolution." This peaceable (and apparently bloodless) Revolution brought an end to the old theory of the divine right of kings and clearly established the supremacy of Parliament. To that end, in 1689, Parliament enacted the English Bill of Rights.

Unlike what occurred at the end of the English Civil war (1669), however, royal lineage was continued with position. The return to the promising days of the establishing of the Commonwealth of England, with Oliver Cromwell as its lord protector, did not occur.