« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
(1) William Burnet, the Governor to whom Dr. Colden dedicates his history, and within whose province it was written and published, was a son of the famous Bishop of Salisbury.
He had been Comptroller of the Customs in London, a post worth £1,200 per annum, but losing heavily in South Sea speculations, effected a sort of exchange with Governor Hunter, hoping to retrieve his fortunes in America.
He was appointed Governor of New York and New Jersey in April, 1720 (N. Y. Col. Doc. v. 586), and published his Commission in New York September 17, and at North Amboy, N. J., September 22.
He at once became popular by his manners. “A man of sense and polite breeding,” says Smith, "a well-read scholar, sprightly and of a social disposition. Being devoted to his books he abstained from all those excesses into which his pleasurable relish would otherwise have plunged him. He studied the arts of recommending himself to the people, had nothing of the moroseness of a scholar, was gay and condescending, affected no pomp, but visited every family of reputation, and often diverted himself in free converse with the ladies.”
He seems, indeed, to have found New York society and ladies so pleasing that before he had been a year
all those herwise bading himof a scholaut visited Celf in
installed he married Anna Maria, daughter of Abraham Van Horn, an eminent merchant and subsequently member of the Colonial Council.
As a Governor he was one of the best that ever visited New York in colonial times. To limit the power of the French on the North and Weft he faw to be effential to the wealth and progress of New York. The French in Canada possessed great influence at the West through their extensive trade, the goods being, however, frequently English fabrics furnished from the colony of New York. Burnet sought to break up this trade, and direct the energies of New York to the opening of direct channels of commerce with the Western Indians. With this view he erected a trading post at Oswego in 1722, attracted the Western tribes to join the Five Nations, exerted himself to defeat the French in their project of a fort at Niagara, and finally, in 1727, replaced his trading house at Oswego by a fort.
“The excessive love of money, a disease common to all his Predecessors, and to some who succeeded him," says Smith, “was a vice from which he was entirely free. He sold no offices, nor attempted to raise a fortune by indirect means; for he lived generously, and carried scarce anything away with him but his books. These were to him inexhaustible sources of delight. His astronomical observations have been useful; but by his Comment on the Apocalypse he exposed himself, as other learned men have before him, to the criticisms of those who have not ability to write half so well.”—(Hift. Province of New York. London, 1757, pp. 172–3.)
He was superseded by the appointment of John Montgomery, Esq., Governor of New York, August
12, 1727 (N. Y. Col. Doc. v. 823), and delivered the great seals to that gentleman April 15, 1728.
His removal from this congenial position was not his only affliction : about the same time he lost his wife, and, thus bereaved and disappointed, proceeded to Boston to assume the difficult post of Governor of Massachusetts. “His superior talents and free and easy manner of communicating his sentiments made him the delight of men of sense and learning,” says Mr. Hutchinson (Hift. of Massachusetts, vol. ii. ch. 3); but this was not enough. His short career in Massachusetts was as unpleasant as that in New York had been agreeable. A long struggle with the General Court embittered his days, and the excitement produced upon him seems to have undermined his health. After adjourning the Court to meet in Cambridge in August, 1729, he fell fick at Boston, and died September 7, 1729. The Court which refused him a salary gave him a pompous funeral.
His issue by his first wife seems to have been one son, Gilbert; by Miss Van Horn he had William and Thomas, a daughter, Mary, who married Hon. William Brown, of Beverley, Mass., and a child who died young.
His will, dated New York, September 6, 1727, alludes to his wife as dead; it was proved at Boston, September 25, 1729, his property amounting only to £4,540 45. 3}d.
A correspondent of the Historical Magazine (vol. viii, p. 398) states that he has two manuscript sermons—that preached in the chapel of the fort of New York on the interment of Mrs. Burnet, by Rev. Mr. Orum, unfortunately not dated, and that preached at the Governor's funeral in “ the King's
Chapple, in Boston, in New England, the 12th day of September, in the year 1729, by the Rev. Mr. Price.”
(3) See Edition of 1747 (8vo, London), pp. 136, 186, 191, &c.
(4) It is not easy to say what French works are here alluded to, probably Hennepin and La Hontan. Of other French works bearing on Iroquois history, Colden appears to have seen only de la Potherie. Champlain, the Jesuit Relations, Lafitau, and the Lettres Edifiantes were probably inaccessible at the time to one writing, as he did, at New York. But it is strange to see how completely, fixty years after the English occupancy, the sixty years of Dutch rule, with all the writings of that period, were despised and ignored. The tract of Megapolensis on the Indians, the works of Van Der Donck and De Vries, which would have given him much, are all overlooked. The only special English works on New York published prior to Colden's work, Denton, Woolley, Miller, give little direct information as to the Five Nations, and we can scarcely wonder at all absence of allusion to them.
(5) Dr. Colden should have taken better care of these “Minutes of the Commissioners of Indian Affairs.” He appreciated their value, but finding them in a wretched condition, left them fo, subject to utter loss. Fortunately, in 1751, Mr. Alexander (thank him, all ye antiquaries of New York) “borrowing them for his perufal, had them bound up in
four large volumes in folio.”—(Smith's History of New York, p. 154, note.)
(6) European nations, as relics identical with those of America show, had their stone and their copper age before reaching that when iron made progress rapid. Our Northern Indians were still in the stone age, Mexico and Peru had reached that of copper.
(7) Hence a report of a speech of an educated French interpreter, fully conversant with the language, as missionary or agent, would seem to be more trustworthy.
(8) The names of tribes and places here given suggest some curious reflections. Neither English nor French names have prevailed exclusively. We have adopted the French terms Abenaki, Algonquin, Chicago, Detroit, Huron, Illinois, Iroquois, Lake Huron, Miami, Michilimackinac, Lake Ontario, Shawnee, here treated as words so foreign to our fathers as to need explanation. One name, Illinois, was as new to Washington when he wrote his first diary, for, not catching it clearly, he made it out Ines Noires, and translates it Black ands little foreseeing his own future or his country's ; little dreaming that he was to be the first President of a great Republic, and that that Illinois would one day send, as his successor in the city of his name, in his hold on the affections of the people, a grandson of one of the backwoodsmen of his own Virginia. A few remarks will here be made on these names. ADIRONDACKS means tree-eaters.-(See Historical Magazine, vol. iv. p. 185.)