« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
For many of the alterations and omissions there seems no solid reason; the omission of the speeches is inconsistent with the preface, in which the author at some length defends their insertion, and we can hardly conceive it possible that he retained the apology when he had made it unnecessary.
That he should have reprinted it at the time without enlarging it from the accessible matter afforded by the publication of Charlevoix' History of New France, in 1744, and the curious work of Lafiteau, so full of matter relating to the Five Nations, is indeed surprising, as he must have been aware of the labors of Mr. Smith, and the certainty that he would use these sources.
Osborne wrote, June 12, 1747, to Dr. Colden: “If you have any thoughts of making any further Edition (addition) to the Five Nations, I should be glad to have it as soon as possible.. .. but should be glad if you would bring it as low as possible and add some of your neighboring Nations to it. General Oglethorpe has promised to give me great help for the other Indian Nations, and he was so kind as to overlook your manuscript, and approved it very much.”
Colden, however, apparently never made any attempt to continue the History. He probably wrote expressing his thanks to
General Oglethorpe, for Osborne, June 6, 1748, says:
“I will take care to pay your compliments to General Oglethorpe,” a sort of proof that Colden was unaware of it till he received the General's thanks.*
Having thus given the history of the work, and its editions, as far as known, we resume our brief sketch of the author.
After the close of Mr. Burnet's administration, Dr. Colden removed to Coldengham, and there devoted all the leisure he could command from his official duties to his favorite studies, and to a correspondence with learned men in Europe and America. Among the results of his correspondence was the establishment of the American Philosophical Society, first suggested by him. He studied the botany of his estate, and finding a good bed of turf suitable for fuel, made probably the first New York canal to bring it to a convenient place of deposit, although the work may have had some more important but now forgotten object.
In 1732 he drew up an important document-"The State of the Lands in the Prov
* Osborne gives an insight into the pecuniary matters of the edition, stating that it cost him £120, and that he had sold only 300 copies, had 200 on sale, and 500 on hand.
ince of New York, * and in 1738 made, in form of a reply to certain queries of the Board of Trade, another communication on the Province and its Boundaries.
During the administration of Gov. Cosby he was not in favor, and took little part in public affairs. Although in Smith's History of New York his name appears among the Councillors who ordered the proceedings against Zenger, the official Journal omits his name for the year following October 1734.
In the summer of 1740 he was appointed one of the Commissioners for “marking out and settling the Boundaries between the Proyince of the Massachusetts Bay and the Colony of Rhode Island Eastward,” $ for which his geographical and scientific attainments so well fitted him. In this and a similar Commillion he presided with success. Il
His retirement from political struggles was not spent in idleness. Never losing light of his profession, he contributed valuable papers on the diseases of the colony. He was one of the first to suggest the cooling regi
* Published in O’Callaghan's Documentary History, i, 247.
† Printed in the Colonial Documents, vi, 121.
men in the treatment of fevers. He published a tract on the cure of cancers, another on the medical properties of the Bortanice, or Great Water Dock, and opposed the prevalent method of treating small-pox.
In 1741 and the following year, New York city was desolated by a malignant fever, resem. bling the yellow fever, which at a later day committed such fearful ravages. Dr. Colden communicated to the Common Council his views on the causes of the disease, which he considered local, and suggested efficient means of guarding against it. A vote of thanks attested the appreciation set by the city on his valuable recommendations.*
In 1742, as we have seen, he wrote the second part of his History of the Five Nations.
The Acta Upsalensia, for 1743, contains his “Plantæ Coldinghamiæ in Prov. Nov. Eboracenfi spontanæ crescentes, quas ad methodum Linnæi sexulem observavit Cadwallader Colden,” the great Botanic Contribution of Colonial New York, addressed to Linnæus, and redeeming us from total inattention to that science in which Pennsylvania and Canada had won honors.
valuable az, as we History
* His treatise is in the American Medical and Philo. sophical Register.
But But the work to which he devoted the greatest labor, and many years of his life, was “ An Explication of the First Causes of Action in Matter, and of the Cause of Gravitation.” New York, 1745; London, 1746, 8vo, 75 pp.*
“In this work,” says Mr. Verplanck, “far from aiming, as has been supposed, at the overthrow of the Newtonian system, he proceeds the very fame path with the father of the mathematical philosophy, and endeavors merely to advance a few steps beyond the conclusions where Newton had paused. Newton had himself expressly denied that he thought gravity a power innate, inherent and essential to matter; and in a letter to Dr. Bently, had said that gravity must be caused by an agent acting constantly according to certain laws.” This agent, and its mode of action, it is the object of Colden's essay to point out, and he brings arguments to show that light is that great moving power.
His treatise was enlarged and published at London, in 1751, under the title of “The Principles of Action on Matter,” to which he added, “An Introduction to the Doctrine of Fluxions.” This work was so rapidly
* The London edition was got out from an early copy, before the package sent by Dr. Colden arrived.