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New York, as mayor of the city, and as a congressman and state senator, are too familiar for detailed recapitulation here. His name is associated with the New York Historical Society by the presentation of the Colden papers to that society by Mrs. Frances Colden, the widow of his eldest son, Cadwallader.2

The accompanying letter, now published it is believed for the first time, was written by David Colden to his niece, Mrs. Henrietta Maria Colden, a Scottish lady, whose maiden name was Bethune. She had married Richard Nicholls Colden, the writer's nephew, who was surveyor and searcher of the port of New York, and who died in 1777. Her two sons, Alexander and Cadwallader, were being educated in 1784 at a school near Lancaster in England, and the British government allowed her £50 per annum for their education. When giving evidence in support of her claim for the loss of her deceased husband's property in America, Mrs. Henrietta Maria Colden impressed the commissioners of American claims in London * by her good sense and competence.

Dear Madam:


SPRING HILL 15th September 1783

I am sorry to have been in any degree accessory to the painfull anxiety under which you waited six months, expecting a letter from me. I hope one I wrote in April, would reach your hands in a few weeks after the date of your last to me, of the 30th of the same month. You would, however, even then, receive little satisfaction from my letter, respecting your affairs in this country; but it might convince you that I do not forget you. Be assured I would write oftener, if I could ever communicate any thing, either new or satisfactory to you about your affairs. I did not know but Mr. Auchmuty* might manage better for you than I could. He has however obtaind nothing from Antill, who keeps

2 For the Colden family, see the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, IV. 161-183; and Public Record Office, London, A. O. 12: 14; A. O. 12:9; A. O. 12: 25; A. O. 12: 101; A. O. 12: 109; A. O. 13: 12; A. O. 13: 64; A. O. 13:97; A. O. 13: 137.

* Public Record Office, London, A. O. 13:97.

• Robert Nichols Auchmuty, Loyalist, son of the Rev. Dr. Samuel Auchmuty, rector of Trinity Church, New York City.

Maj. John Antill, a lawyer, son of Hon. Edward Antill, of Perth Amboy, N. J., where he held several public appointments before the Revolutionary War. With his brother-in-law, Lieut.-Col. John Morris, of Shrewsbury, N. J., he was instrumental in raising in 1776 the second battalion of the well-known Loyalist regiment, the New Jersey Volunteers. On August 15, 1780, he was cashiered for making false returns and drawing provisions for more men than the effective strength of his battalion, but was shortly afterward reinstated. Major Antill married (1) April 21, 1770, Margaret, daughter of Alexander and Elizabeth (Nicholls) Colden of New York; and (2) his deceased wife's sister, Jane Colden,

possession of the Brooklyn Estate. Nothing can be got from him but by selling the few necessaries his wife and children have left. His half pay feeds them from day to day, and no more. Auchmuty tells me he is convinced this is their situation, and declines commencing a suit, that must be ineffectual. I do not know why he does not write to you.

Antill has been several months of this summer in Nova Scotia, looking out for a settlement there. He returnd lately; and is now going, with his son Jack, to England, upon what scheme I know not: nor in what manner he intends to provide for his wife and children, whom he leaves here.

Your letter to John Laurence was put into the hands of a gentleman, who engaged to deliver it to him in a few days. I am informed Mr. Laurence supports a favorable character-is pushing himself forward, and bids fair to rise in his profession. He has been two or three times in New York, since the cessation of hostilities, but I have not seen him. He will probably be a useful man to you. He designs to settle in

New York.

The legislature of this State have not passed any act, immeadiatly affecting the title of any part of the estate belonging to you or your children. No act of theirs yet passed, mentions your husband's estate, his fathers or his grandfather Colden's, either directly or by implication. That part of my fathers estate only, which belongs to me, is involved as being part of mine. But as you desire me to give you the most particular information of any act passed that may affect you, I will transcribe abstracts of some clauses of the act of attainder, passd in 1779,' which renders every man's estate who was within the British lines at any time of the war, liable to be yet involved in the destruction it works. It is enacted that, the Grand Jurors at any Supreme Court of Judicature, Oyer and Terminer or General Joal Delivery, to be held in and for any county of this state, on oath of any one or more creditable witness, that who were sisters of Richard Nicholls Colden, the husband of the lady to whom this letter was written. Allusion is made in this letter to Major Antill's visit to Nova Scotia, whither he had gone, with Lieut.-Col. Elisha Lawrence, of the New Jersey Volunteers, as the accredited agents of the seconded officers of the Loyalist regiments to secure settlements for them in that province. Parr, the governor of Nova Scotia, in a letter of August 15, 1783, to General Sir Guy Carleton, complains of Major Antill's "unreasonable demands and illiberal ideas on the part of the second officers"; to which the general replied on September 5, regretting that the seconded officers had "made choice of so improper a person as Major Antill to act as their agent". Historical MSS. Commission, Report on the American MSS. in the Royal Institution, IV. 60, 280, 334; Public Record Office, London, A. O. 12: 14; A. O. 12: 100; A. O. 13: 93; A. O. 13: 108; A. O. 13:113. For the loss of his property in New Jersey he made a claim, and was awarded by the British government the sum of £2,900, as well as £340 for the loss of his annual professional income. In addition to these allowances, Major Antill was granted a pension and half-pay as major. A. O. 12: 109.

6 John Lawrence was perhaps the Loyalist physician of that name, who was the son of John Lawrence of New Jersey, an ardent Loyalist, and brother of Lieut.-Col, Elisha Lawrence; mentioned in foot-note 5. Dr. John Lawrence was educated at the College of New Jersey and practised medicine at New York during the Revolutionary War. Sabine's American Loyalists.

Laws of the State of New York (Albany, 1886), vol. I. (1777-1784), pp. 173-184.


any person, whether in full life or deceased, has been guilty of the offence aforesaid (adhering to the enemy) shall prefer bills of inditments against such persons.-Sheriffs are to give notice of the inditements by publishing advertisments, and it is then enacted that, on neglect to appear and traverse the inditement, agreeable to the sheriff's notice, the several persons charged in such inditement whether in full life or deceased to be adjudged guilty and forfeit all and singular their estate real and personal.—In case a person deceased is indited his representative is to appear and traverse. Some hundred Freeholders, Merchants and Inhabitants of Long Island, New York and Staaten Island have been indited, under this Act, since the cessation of hostilities. So little effect have the preliminary articles yet had!-I do not know that they have proceeded against any person not in full life, altho' they might under this very extraordinary act, declared by the preamble to be made in order to work a confiscation of estates for the use of the State.-Tyrannical Law! made to take a man's life for the express purpose of getting his estate. Be not surprised at the warmth of my expressions; it affects me to the quick. But you wish to have me say what predicament I think your children's estate stands in. I believe it safe from confiscation. The law is too severe to be continued. Hitherto it has lain unnoticed. It must now be annimadverted upon, and stigmatised with such censure by the world, that for the credit of a national character, it must be blotted out. I believe there is a tax laid upon all uncultivated lands; if it is so your son's estate cannot be exempted from the effects of such a law; but what method is taken to get money for the tax, I am not informed.

McLean, the tenant your husband left on the farm near Newburgh, I hear is yet in possession of it: and Haasbrook, of the lands he rented.— The back rents, when they can be collected, must amount to something considerable.

I have to inform you of an addition to Sandy's estate that has not been adverted to till a few month's since. My sister Caty, who died in 1762, by her will gave 2000 acres of land to Cad'r' son of her brother Alex'r, to Alex'r10 son of her brother Cad'r and to Alice11 daughter of her sister Alice (Willett) to be divided equally between them. In case of the death of the first named, under age or without issue, she gives his share to his brother Richard.12 Cad'r died under age, so that both by will and desent this share now belongs to your Sandy. Then 2000 acres of land was granted to William Mitchell in trust for my sister, to whom he released them, by deeds bearing date 15th October 1761; they are distinguished by Lott M in Butlars Purchase, and Lotts No. 2,

8 Catherine, daughter of Cadwallader and Alice (Christy) Colden, who was born February 13, 1731, and died in June, 1762, unmarried.

9 Cadwallader, son of Alexander Colden, and his wife, Elizabeth Nicholls. Alexander was born August 13, 1716, and was surveyor-general of the province of New York jointly with his father, postmaster of New York, and a vestryman of Trinity Church, New York, from 1761 until his death.

10 Alexander, son of Cadwallader Colden, the younger, and grandson of Lieut.-Gov. Cadwallader Colden. He married Gertrude (Wynkoop), widow of his brother David, and was a farmer at Coldenham, N. Y.

11 Alice Willet was the daughter of Col. William Willet and his second wife, Alice, daughter of Lieut.-Gov. Cadwallader and Alice (Christy) Colden.

12 Richard Nicholls Colden. See introductory note.

No. 8 and No. 28 in Glens Purchase, and are otherwise particularly described. They lie near the Mohawk River in Tryon County, in a pretty well settled part of the country, and are valuable. Caty's will is dated 16th May 1762; it was recorded and deposited in the Prerogative Office. I have an official copy of it, which I have now put up with the release from Mitchell, that I fortunately found among my papers, and have deposited them in a chest with my own papers of that kind, and those belonging to my Fathers Estate, which I have lodged in Mr. John Watts's house in New York.13 A place where it is supposed there will be more security than here in the country. The mohagony box, with all the papers I received from you, my book of accounts with you, and whatever letters or papers have come to my hands relative to your affairs, put up in it, is included in the same chest with my papers, under Mr. Watts's care.

I have mentioned the back rents of the lands at Newburgh, and you will readily say, why is not something done to collect them now. Το answer this question, I must endeaver to give you some idea of the state of this country, which will at the same time be answering some other queries in your letter.

We have pass'd a twelve month, in the most perplexing state of uncertainty that ever a people did. Long waiting for the portionary articles, expecting they would certainly provide some security for the unfortunate loyalists, they have only increased our distress and cause of anxiety, and to this hour we do not know that they will have the smallest effect in our favour. No measures have yet been taken by Congress, except the release of prisoners, or by any of the states, that we know of, in consequence of the treaty. Even the recommendation of Congress, to which the English Ministry have devoted the lives and fortunes of thousands, whose virtuous attachment to Government shall render their characters immortal, while that of the ministers shall be execrated, I say, even this recommendation has not yet come forth. The spirit of persecution and violence against the unhappy loyalists does not appear to abate in any degree, since the cessation of hostilities. They are not suffered to go into the country even to take a last farewell of their relations. Committees are formd throughout the country, who publish the most violent resolves against the loyalists, and give instructions to the legislative bodies, directly repugnant to the treaty. We are told that these committees have allarmd the people in power, who wish to suppress them, but know not how. The people have been taught a dangerous truth, that all power is derived from them. Nothing can now render the country tolerably happy but the strength and firmness of the Governors: the Legislative Bodies; those in whom the Constitution have placed the Power of Governing. The most dreadfull anarchy must ensue, should the new Government prove unequal to the Task. An event most devoutly to be deprecated by every good Man! The Legislature of the State of New York have not been convened since the preliminary Treaty came [over?]. It is said, that by the Constitution, Peace having taken place, they cannot meet till representatives are elected for Long Island and that part of the state that has been within the British Lines. The election cannot be made while the British Army is here. General

13 John Watts, senior and junior, prominent in the commercial and social history of the city of New York, both of whom were Loyalists. Sabine, American Loyalists.

Charlton has informed Congress by letter of the 17th of last month, that he has received the Kings orders for the final evacuati[on] of New York, but that the infractions of the Treaty, and violences committed in the country upon the loyalists, has driven such multitudes of them to apply to him to be removed to some place of security, that he cannot say when he shall be able to leave the place being determind not to leave any loyalist behind, who choses to go away.. Above 30,000 men women and children, have already been transported to Nova Scotia etc. and a very large number are still waiting for ships to carry them. Many substantial farmers of Long Island, and inhabitants of New York are gone and going, freightend away by inditements, and menaces, the fear of taxes, and an abhorrence of a republican government.

What I have now writen will be sufficient to convince you that this country is by no means yet in such a situation, that private affairs can be lookd into and settled.

You must allow my dear Niece that if I do not write frequently, you get very long epistles from me. The present has got to an enormous length, and yet I have said very little of the friends you inquire after. This will fill every corner of my paper. I have nothing to add to what I have already said of Antill and his family. Hamilton1 says he will abide on his farm in my neighborhood with his children. It is generally thought that he will be made very unhappy, as soon as the British army leaves us, and that he had much better go to some other place. My sister Delancey16 has had many severe tryals to encounter. Her son James1 included in the same act of attainder with me, has no expectation of recovering his estate: he is gone to England. She has parted with him, never expecting to see him again. Her daughter Barclay18 is gone with her husband and four children to Nova Scotia, where they must be reduced to a kind of life neither of them have ever before been

14 Gen. Sir Guy Carleton, who was appointed commander-in-chief of the British army in North America, in succession to Gen. Sir Henry Clinton, on February 23, 1782.

15 Col. Archibald Hamilton, who after twenty-seven years' service as an officer in the British army in Flanders, North America, and the West Indies, retired and bought a farm at Flushing, Long Island, where he became colonel of the Queens County militia. He married Alice, daughter of Alexander and Elizabeth (Nicholls) Colden, on July 16, 1766; she died during the Revolutionary War, and he died an exile at Edinburgh, Scotland, on June 1, 1795. His only son, Alexander Mark Kerr Hamilton, rose to be a major-general in the British army, of whom a biography is in preparation by the writer of these notes.

16 Elizabeth Colden married Peter DeLancey of New York (1705-1770). T. Jones, History of New York during the Revolutionary War, I. 649–663. In her original letter to Maj.-Gen. James Robertson, dated August 5, 1782, she refers to the fact that early in the war her house at Westchester was taken possession of by the Continentals and converted into a military hospital. Later, when the Continentals were routed, her house became the headquarters of General Heister, in command of German troops, who appears to have commandeered all Mrs. DeLancey's forage, grain, and cattle, without payment. Hist. MSS. Comm., Rept. on the Amer. MSS. in the Royal Inst., III. 54-55.

17 Col. James DeLancey, son of Peter and Elizabeth (Colden) DeLancey, was colonel of the Westchester Refugees, province of New York-a Loyalist corps.

18 Susannah DeLancey, who married the eminent Loyalist, Major Thomas H. Barclay.

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