Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

taken up that in 1788 Buffon, having lost his copy and failing to replace it, applied to Mr. Jefferson, who wrote to Francis Hopkinson for the tract.

Mr. Colden also wrote about this time an Inquiry into the Principles of Vital Motion.

When Mr. Clinton became Governor Dr. Colden was again recalled to more active public life. The old parties had well-nigh exhausted their strength; many of the former leaders had withdrawn; the most prominent man of the day, Chief Justice de Lancey, was connected by marriage with Dr. Colden, and all seemed to promise a state of harmony suited to his tastes. But a rupture soon occurred between the Chief Justice and the Governor, and Dr. Colden enjoyed the confidence of Mr Clinton to such a degree that in 1746, and the following years, he was urgently recommended for the post of Lieutenant-Governor, first as a deserved honor, and subsequently as a defense against his political enemies, headed by de Lancey.*

In the summer of 1746 the Governor, in consequence of instructions from the home government, proceeded to Albany to meet the Five Nations, and invited his Council to attend him, but all declined to give their attendance except Mr. Colden and Mr. Livingston. At Albany. the Governor fell fick, and Colden met the Indian Deputies, and described himself as the next person to the Governor in the Administration. This gave offense, and when he printed the treaty with prefatory remarks, stating the fact that the Councillors had all declined to go except himself and Mr. Livingston, the Council took the matter up, and by resolution declared it an invidious reflection, and some members made a representation to the Governor.

* N. Y. Colonial Documents, vi, 313, 377, 417.

attendance

I have not met a copy of the original edition of this Treaty, but the pamphlet is included in the London edition of the Five Nations, of which we have given full titles.

The action of the Council drew from Dr. Colden a labored defense of his whole course. I

Disgusted with the petty jealousies of the men around him, he retired to Coldengham, and returned to New York only on the urgent solicitation of the Governor. Here he was brought into fresh difficulty, his advice to Mr. Clinton drawing on him the censure

* Journal of the Legislative Council, 958, N. Y. Col. Doc., vi, 330.

+ It is given without Colden's preface in the N. Y. Colonial Documents, vi, 317.

I Ib. 318–340.

of the Afsembly and a violent attack from Chief Justice de Lancey. To this he replied in a letter to the Duke of Bedford, November 22, 1748.*

In the year 1750, at the request of Governor Shirley he drew up the documentary evidence of the right of England to the lands claimed by the French, the contest for which ended in the overthrow of French power in North America.

This was followed, in August of the ensu. ing year, by an elaborate report on “ The present state of Indian Affairs, with the British and French colonies in North America, with some observations thereon for securing the Fidelity of the Indians to the Crown of Great Britain and promoting Trade among them.”+

In 1753 he addressed Dr. Fothergill on an Epidemical Sore Throat that had appeared in Massachusetts in 1735. This was published in 1755, and republished in Carey's American Museum.

His more important public career now began. On the death of Lieutenant-Governor de Lancey, in 1760, Dr. Colden, as President of the Council, came to New York, took

* N. Y. Col. Doc., vi, 469.
† Ib., vi, 738.

up up his residence at the province house, in the fort, and administered the government. He solicited an appointment as Lieutenant-Governor, and was appointed August, 1761.* He administered the government till November, 1765, except a short period, during which General Monckton, the Governor, was in New York.

The government again devolved on him in 1769, but he was superseded the following year by Lord Dunmore. He was called for the fourth and last time in 1774 to the administration, which he held until the 25th June, 1775.

His administration of the Colony thus in a manner closed the English rule in New York. A zealous and earnest supporter of the British Crown, he met the censure of the public. At the time of the Stamp Act he met the full fury of the populace, and was burned in effigy. His life, protracted to the age of eighty-seven, closed on the 21st of September, 1776, before the great struggle had more than fairly opened, and while men were but just discussing the great act of the Continental Congress.

He died at Spring Hill, near Flushing, on Long Island, and was interred in the pri.

* N. Y. Col. Doc., vii, 461-2. History, 497.

New York Doc. vate cemetery on the place. His wife had preceded him several years, having died at Fort George, in New York, in March, 1762, aged 72. He had several children: 1, his oldest son, Alexander, was Surveyor General of the Colony, and died in 1775; 2, his second, David, died in infancy ; 3, Cadwallader D. Colden, a man of note in his day; 4, David; 5, Elizabeth, who married Oliver de Lancey; 6, Jane; 7, Alice; 8, Kate.

Governor Colden,” says Verplanck, “was a scholar of various and extensive attainments, and of a very great and unremitted ardour and application in the acquisition of knowledge. When it is considered how large a portion of his life was spent in the labors or the routine of public office, and that however great might have been his original stock of learning, he had in this country no reading public to excite him by their applause, and few literary friends to assist or to stimulate his inquiries, his zeal and success in his scientific pursuits will appear deserving of the highest admiration. A great mass of manuscripts on mathematical, botanical, metaphysical and theological learning, in addition to the works published during his life, afford ample proof of the extent and variety of his knowledge,

and

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »