Cadwallader Colden

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Cadwallader Colden
Cadwallader Colden.png
Cadwallader Colden
29ºcolonial governors of Province of New York
In office
1760–1762
Preceded by James DeLancey
Succeeded by Robert Monckton
31ºcolonial governors of Province of New York
In office
1763–1765
Preceded by Robert Monckton
Succeeded by Sir Henry Moore, 1st Baronet
Personal details
Born 7 February 1688
Ireland
Died 28 September 1776
near Flushing in Queens County on Long Island in New York.
Profession governor

Cadwallader Colden (7 February 1688 – 28 September 1776) was a physician, farmer, surveyor, botanist, and a lieutenant governor for the Province of New York.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

He was born in Ireland, of Scottish parents, while his mother Janet Hughes was visiting there. His father, Rev. Alexander Colden A.B. of Duns, Berwickshire, sent him to the Royal High School and Edinburgh University to become a minister. When he graduated, he continued his studies in physics, anatomy, chemistry and botany. In 1710, his aunt invited him to Philadelphia where he started his practice in medicine. He returned to Scotland to marry Alice Chryste in 1715, and returned with her to Philadelphia that same year.

Career[edit]

In 1743, he published a series of essays noting the correlation between filthy living conditions and high rates of disease in New York City. This was particularly prompted by an epidemic of yellow fever at the time. Colden's essays were critical for establishing the sanitation efforts of New York City, and a milestone in the development of the field of public health.[1]

In May of 1743, while serving as surveyor general of New York, Cadwallader began a correspondence with Benjamin Franklin encouraging Franklin to create the American Philosophical Society. Franklin knew Colden by reputation and was flattered to hear from him. He replied at once, "I cannot be but fond of engaging in a correspondence so advantageous to me as yours must be. I shall always receive your favours as such, and with great pleasure".

Colden refused to be intimidated by the awesome reputation of Isaac Newton, convincing himself that Newton had erred on certain important points. He devoted much of his adult life to correcting the mistakes.

Colden wrote a taxonomy of the flora near his Orange County (New York) home, which he rendered in Latin and sent to the Swedish patriarch of plant science and Latin nomenclature, Carl Linnaeus, who duly published the work.[2]

On 1 November 1765 Cadwallader was confronted by a huge crowd carrying an effigy of him in a parade to protest the Stamp Act. He seemed to enjoy confrontation and had gone out of his way to defend royal prerogative. Members of the throng had appropriated his coach and added it to the parade; at the end of the route the coach was smashed to kindling and used as part of a great celebratory bonfire on Bowling Green.

He was acting governor of New York from 1760 to 1762 (replaced by Robert Monckton in 1762) and again from 1763 to 1765 and finally as Governor (1769 to 1771) after Henry Moore's death. He was likely one of the oldest British governors in New York. He was replaced by John Murray after his last term.

In 1769 at his request the New York Assembly led by James Delancey passed a bill providing funds for British troops garrisoned New York City. The Livingston family voted against as they opposed a standing army in times of peace.

He served as the first colonial representative to the Iroquois Confederacy, an experience that resulted in his writing The History of the Five Indian Nations, the first book on the subject.

He died in Spring Hill near Flushing in Queens County on Long Island in New York. He was buried on 28 September 1776 in a private cemetery, in Spring Hill. An elementary school in Flushing was named after him. It is more commonly known as Public School 214 Queens. His daughter, Jane Colden, was the first female botanist working in America. His grandson was Cadwallader David Colden.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Duffy, J. (1992) "Account of the climate and diseases of New York." The Sanitarians: A History of American Public Health. Illinin Books ed. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.
  2. ^ Brands, H. W. (2000)"The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin" First Anchor Books Edition, March 2002. ISBN 0-385-49540-4.

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New-York 7. Weed, Parsons & Company. 1856. 

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
James DeLancey (acting)
Governor of the Province of New York (acting)
1760–1762
Succeeded by
Robert Monckton
Preceded by
Robert Monckton
Governor of the Province of New York (acting)
1763–1765
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Moore, 1st Baronet
Preceded by
Sir Henry Moore, 1st Baronet
Governor of the Province of New York (acting)
1769–1770
Succeeded by
John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore
Preceded by
William Tryon
Governor of the Province of New York (acting)
1774–1775
Succeeded by
William Tryon