Occurrences since the year 1721.


Having now gone through the accounts proposed to the limited period; what

follows are partly matters incidental; the rest tho' not a regular course

of events, nor perhaps more important than others omitted, may

nevertheless assist in a future Volume, and in the mean time possibly be

of some historical service here. December 29, this year [1724], died

William Trent, Esq; chief justice of New-Jersey: He was several years

member, and part of the time speaker of the assembly; and being a large

trader at Trenton, when that place was laid out for a town, it from him

took its name, being before significantly called Little-Worth: He had been

also speaker of the assembly of Pennsylvania; he bore the character of a



In November [1726] a small earthquake was felt, it began between the hours

of ten and eleven at night.


In this year [1727] the following act was passed, which, tho' but short,

will probably hereafter be found of great importance.


An act for the limitation of actions, and for avoiding suits in law.


"For quieting men's estates, and avoiding of suits:


"Be it enacted by the governor, council, and general assembly of this

province, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That all

the statutes now in force, in that part of Great-Britain, called England,

concerning the limitation of actions, real and personal, shall, and are

hereby declared to be in force in this province from the publication

hereof, as fully and effectually, as if every of them were herein at length

repeated and enacted; any law, usage or custom to the contrary in any

wise notwithstanding."


Extracts from the proceedings of the house of assembly of the colony of

New-Jersey, John Montgomerie, Esq; governor.


"Die Jovis, 9th of January, 1728: A motion being made, whether the having

a distinct governor for New-Jersey, be in the opinion of the house for the

adyantage of the province, or not? A debate arising thereon, and the

question being put, the previous vote was demanded, whether that question

be now put or not? it was carried iu the affirmative; and then the

question was put, whether the having a distinct governor for New-Jersey,

be in the opinion of the house, for the advantage of the province, or not?

it was earned in the affirmative: Then the house adjourned 'till three,

o'clock, P. M.


"Three o'clock, P. M. the house met according to adjournment. Resolved

nemine contradicente, that the house will enter into consideration, what

may be the most effectual method for obtaining a distinct governor for

this province hereafter; and it is ordered, that Mr. Kinsey, Mr. Stacy,

Mr. Lambert, Mr. Eaton, Mr. Sonmans and Mr. Bonnell, wait on his

excellency and council, with this and the last resolve, and desire their

concurrence therein, and a conferrence touching the manner most likely to

effect it; and withal, to signify to the governor and that board, that it

is in no wise the intention of this house, to give him the least

uneasiness (were it in their power) during the time he may continue in

commission; but only to take such measures as may best conduce to the end

aforesaid, when his commission may determine by the king's pleasure or

otherwise; and this they conceive a duty incumbent upon them: Then the

house adjourn'd 'till to-morrow, nine oclock, A. M."


"To the king's most excellent majesty.


"The humble petition of the representatives of the province of New-Jersey,

in America, in general assembly convened.


"Most gracious sovereign,


"We, your majesty's most loyal and dutiful subjects, the representatives

of your province of New-Jersey, in general assembly convened, by the early

care your majesty has been pleased to shew for the general benefit the of

all your people, are animated to believe, that nothing which may

contribute to the advantage and prosperity of this, (though small and

distant) part ot your dominions, will be denied us; we therefore beg leave

thus to approach your royal presence, in discharge of that duty we owe to

your majesty and to our country, in the most humble manner here to



"That the inhabitants of this colony, (formerly a proprietary government)

since the surrender thereof to the crown, have always been under the same

governor with your majesty's province of New-York; that we humbly

apprehend it would much more conduce to the benefit of this province, and

no prejudice to that of New-York, were their governors, as are the

governments, distinct.


"It is a peculiar happiness many of our fellow subjects enjoy, to be near

your royal person, and to partake of the immediate influence of so good a

government; but since our distance deprives us of that great benefit, it

might, (we humbly conceive) in some degree be recompenced, by having a

person cloathed with your majesty's authority constantly residing amongst

us: This we cannot expect while under the same governor with New-York;

that government necessarily taking up so much of our governor's time, that

but a small part of it can fall to our share; and his residence being

chiefly there, renders applications to him from hence, on ordinary

occasions, difficult and in extraordinary cases (however willing) he may

be unable to relieve until the affairs of that province will permit his

coming into New-Jersey.


"Under the like difficulties, (and, for the like reason) we have laboured

in respect to our principal officers, who have formerly been inhabitants

of that colony; which not only renders them less useful in their several

stations, but by spending their salaries there, drained us of money, which

would otherwise have circulated amongst us.


"Our having the same governor with the colony of New-York at first, was

(as we humbly conceived) because this province was then in its infancy,

the inhabitants few, and it might justly have been thought too heavy a

burthen to maintain a governor of our own; but since we are now much more

numerous and are as able and willing to support one, as divers of our

neighboring colonies, who enjoy that benefit, we are humbly of opinion,

the granting this colony such a governor, might tend to encrease our

wealth, and put us in a condition to emulate our neighbours in trade and



"We entreat your majesty to believe, that nothing we here say, proceeds

from any dissatisfaction to our present governor; on the contrary, we are

well pleased with his government, and desire it may continue during your

royal pleasure; but all we humbly ask, is, that when your majesty shall

think fit to put a period to his government, you will then graciously

condescend to bestow a distinct governor on this your colony of New-Jersey.


"That your majesty may long live to enjoy the crown you wear, with ease

and delight, exceeding in honour your illustrious ancestors; that when you

part with an earthly diadem, it may be to receive a crown more permanent

and glorious, and that Great-Britain and these your dominions, may be

always happy in a sovereign, whose virtues are so conspicuous (as in duty

we are bound) shall be the prayers of; may it please your majesty, Your

majesty's most dutiful and most loyal subjects.


"By order of the house,


"JOHN KINSEY, jun. speaker.


"Divers of the members of this assembly being of the people called

quakers, concur to the matter and substance of this aaddress but make

some exception to the stile." Report of the lords of trade, relating to

the separating Report of the government of the province of New-Jersey,

from New-York.


"To the right honourable the lords of the committee of his majesty's most

honourable privy council.


"My Lords,


"We have considered the humble petitions of the president and council, the

speaker, and several members of the assembly, of his majesty's province of

New-Jersey; of the grand jury of the said province, and Mr. Richard

Partridge, agent for New-Jersey; together with two other papers annexed to

the last mentioned petition; all of them referred to us by your lordsliips

on the 24th day of May last; humbly praying, for the reasons contained,

that when his majesty shall nominate a governor for the province of New-

York, the province of New-Jersey may not be included in his commission,

but that his majesty would be graciously pleased to appoint a separate

governor for the said province of New-Jersey.


"We have considered the reasons given by the petititioners for this

separation, and upon the best information we have been able to procure, we

take leave to acquaint your lordships, that the allegations of the several

petitions appear to be of great cousequence; and we cannot doubt but that

a separate governor, whom the province is willing to support, would be a

means to give a quicker dispatch to their publick affairs, to increase

their trade and number of people, and very much advance the interest of

the province.


"Wherefore we are humbly of opinion, that his majesty may be graciously

pleased to comply with the prayer of these petitions.


"We are, my lords, your lordships most obedient and most humble servants.




"Whitehall, Aug. 5, 1736."


In this year [1730] died John Hugg, Esq; of Gloucester County: He was about

ten years one of the council: Riding from home in the morning, he was

supposed to be taken ill about a mile from his house; when getting off his

horse, he spread his cloak on the ground to lie down on; and having put

his gloves under the saddle girth, and hung his whip through one of the

rings, he turned the horse loose, which going home, put the people upon

searching, who found him in this circumstance speechless; they carried him

to his house, and he died that evening. In the spring this year [1731],

died in an advanced age, John Barclay, brother of Robert Barclay the

apologist; He bore the character of a good neighbour, and was serviceable

to the publick in several capacities; but more particularly in Amboy,

where he lived and died: He came over early among the Scotch settlers

to East-Jersey.


On the 5th of September 1732], about noon, a small shock of an earthquake

was felt.


On the 6th of September [1732], died in the seventy-first year of his age,

Dr. John Johnston, of Amboy: He was an early settler in East-Jersey; 13

years member of assembly, and ten of the time speaker; he went through

several other important offices with reputation. In his practice as a

physician, he was knowing and useful, and did many charitable acts; for

the poor were generally the object of his particular care.


In the spring this year, died Peter Sonmans [1734]: He was sometime one of

the council for New-Jersey, appointed by queen Anne; but being suspended,

he was afterwards twice chosen in the assembly for Bergen; he was agent to

some of the proprietors of East-Jersey, surveyor general there, receiver

of the quit rents, and ranger of the forests, as well as sea coasts, &c.

He was son to Aarent Sonmans, one of the states of Holland; who having

purchased a considerable share of propriety in East-Jersey, had intended

to have come over; and embarking for that purpose, arrived in England; and

riding in company with Robert Barclay for London, was shot by a highway-

man, supposed to be an effect of the party confusion in Holland, relating

to De Wit: His estate falling to Peter, he became a great proprietor: He

had before finished his studies at Leyden, and had borne considerable

offices in England, under king William: About 1705 he came over hither to

settle, it being his second voyage: He continued much engaged in the

business of his offices; but being no oeconomist, he was greatly

embarrassed in his private affairs: We have before seen by the publick

charges, other imputations he lay under. He published a long vindication

of his character; but with what success, is a question not now easily



In November this year [1737], came to these provinces, by land from Boston,

(where he had arrived from London) Sheck Scidit, a native of Berytus, in

Syria, (about 60 miles north of Jerusalem). He was said to be Prince of

Syria; but the credentials he produced under the sign manual and privy

signet, called him Unus ex nobilibus civitatus Berytus; having letters of

safe passport, and recommendation to the charity of those where he past.

He was reported to have suffered much for his religion in his own country,

being by profession a member of the eastern church, tho' situate under the

Mahometan or Turkish government, and a tributary prince of that empire:

His pretence was: That a greater quota of soldiers was exacted from him

than he was able to furnish, having other tribute to pay, and his country,

by several years distress from locusts, and blasts of other kind, so

impovershed, that both quota and tribute could not be collected; That the

grand segnior taking umbrage at this, sent for his head; of which he, by

means of the Czarian ambassador, having received private intelligence,

fled to the Czarina's court; That in the mean time his country was seized,

and his wife and children kept prisoners: while there, the Czarina gave

him expectations, that in her treaty with the Turks, she would take care

and provide for him when peace was made: That after some stay at the

Russian court, he obtained letters recommendatory to their ambassador at

London; and being by his means, taken notice of; he obtained the

credentials aforesaid, with which he travelled through most of the

corporations in England, where it was thought he collected two thirds or

three fourths of what was due from him to the grand segnior; but was

nevertheless encouraged to come to America, where he also received



Contributions were made for him in New-York and New-Jersey; he was

every where received with distinguished respect; it was said, he received

from the different congregations in and about Philadelphia, two hundred

and fifty pounds. He was a well proportioned lusty man, with a grave

aspect, and clothed after the eastern manner, with a turbant on his head,

and wore whiskers, spoke and wrote the arabick language; his conversation

and deportment was graceful and easy, and seemed to be-speak him of a

noble education. At Philadelphia he met with a handsome entertainment, his

expences were borne while he stayed, and provision was made for him in the

vessel he went.


The 7th of December [1737], this year, at night, was a large shock of an

earthquake, accompanied with a remarkable rumbling noise; people waked in

their beds, the doors flew open, bricks fell from the chimnies; the

consternation was serious, but happily no great damage ensued.


In this year [1738] died Robert Lettice Hooper, Esq; chief justice of New-

Jersey; in which post he had continued many years with a good character.


In the spring this year [1739], died at Trenton, Daniel Coxe, Esq; one of

the justices of the supreme court: He was son of the great proprietor and

governor Dr. Coxe, of London: He had gone through several other publick

offices in New-Jersey, to which, from his father's character and

influence, he came with great advantages: His differences with governor

Hunter, and the assembly, and the share he had in the publick

transactions, being all occasionally related before, renders further

addition here unnecessary.


About the 22d of the month called February [1741], appeared to these

provinces, in the east, and continued upwards of six weeks, a comet or

blazing star, with a long bright tail; it was supposed to be near the

equinoctial at its first appearance, but moved five degrees near north, in

twenty-four hours, and continued moving 'till it disappeared; towards the

last it was very much encreased in length of tail and bigness.


In the spring this year [1746]; died Lewis Morris, Esq; governor of

New-Jersey: To our relief, we find his character in great part already

drawn, by an able hand,1 to whom we have before been obliged: He was a man

of letters, and tho' a little whimsical in his temper, was grave in his

manners, and of penetrating parts; being excessively fond of the society

of men of sense and reading: He was never wearied at a sitting, 'till the

spirits of the whole company were dissipated. From his infancy he had

lived in a manner best adapted to teach him the nature of man, and to

fortify his mind for the vicissitudes of life: He very early lost both his

father and mother, and fell under the patronage of his uncle: Being a boy

of strong passions, he gave frequent offence to his uncle, and on one of

these occasions, through fear of his resentment, strolled away into

Virginia, and thence to Jamaica, in the West-Indies; where to support

himself, he set up for a scrivener: After several years spent in this

vagabond life, he returned again to his uncle, who received the young

prodigal with joy. In New-Jersey, he signalised himself in the service

both of the proprietors and the assembly; the latter employed him to draw

up their complaint against my lord Corubury, and he was made the bearer of

it to the queen: Tho' he was indolent in the management of his private

affairs, yet through the love of power, he was always busy in matters of a

political nature; and no man in the colony equalled him in the knowledge

of the law, and the arts of intrigue. He was one of the council of

New-Jersey, and a judge of the supreme court in 1692. Upon the surrender

of the government to queen Anne, in 1702, he was named to be governor of

that colony, but the appointment was changed in favour of lord Cornbury,

the queen's cousin.


He was several years chief justice of New-York, and a member of assembly

there; in whatever post he is named, activity must be supposed; for he was

among the foremost on all occasious; he was the second councellor for New-

Jersey, named in lord Cornbury's instructions; suspended by him in 1704;

restored by the queen, and suspended a second time in the same year; was

chosen in the assembly here in 1707, re-apappointed of the Council in

1708; suspended by the lieutenant governor Ingoldsby in 1709; appointed

again in 1710, and so continued 'till 1738, when he succeeded Cosby as

governor of New-Jersey, separate from New-York: The proceedings during his

administration in this capacity, will be found the labour of many pages;

but too voluminous to have justice done them in an abridgement here; his

favourite monopoly of doubts and disputation, however amusing in

mechanical and metaphysical subtilties, but illy agreed with the dispatch

and management necessary in a publick station; accordingly the whole

transactions of that period are chequered with great variety of debates,

some of them curious; qualified to hold up a side from long experience, no

argument he thought proper to espouse, was to be yielded, unless

mathematically wrong; in this but few apparent convictions attended,

either for want of candour in acknowledging, or antagonists sufficiently

skilled in the science: Had those who managed the controversy against him,

found patience enough to have let his own arguments gone to their proper

lengths, they had probably sometimes gained their points, and saved

themselves great fatigue in attendance, and the expence it often

occasioned; but having a trust, they opposed, refused, and disputed his

measures; he replied, rejoined, and demurred, and kept them in unmanly

suspence and attendancies for months together, with scarce a prospect or

means of accommodation; and yet nothing but that to do; frequent formal

angry dissolutions ensued, in which nothing was gained but increasing

firmness in the points contested, and a popular turn against the

government. In this uncertainty things were left at his death, and

restored to their original footing in the next administration: But

whatever were his faults, it must be remembered, that the province owed

much to his early patriotism and abilities; scarce an instance of

inordinate love of money is to be found in his private conduct; he

inherited a large estate from his uncle, and appeared moderate in adding

to it: He was besides in his way, a kind husband, and indeed had uncommon

cause to be so; an affectionate parent; had the satisfaction of a

promising offspring, and lived to see most of them married: The following

are extracts from the singular preamble of his will:


"IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN: God's will be done; but what I will or desire

should be done after my decease, and how I would have what estate God has

been pleased to bless me with, disposed of; is contained in what follows:

But before I give any directions concerning the disposition of my body or

estate, I think it my duty to leave the following testimonial of my sense

of the goodness of God to me, in protecting and wonderfully preserving of

me, from my infancy to this present time, now in an advanced age. My

mother died when I was about six months old, and my father not long after,

in New-York, where I was left an orphan, entirely in the hands of

strangers, who were appointed by the government to take care of me.

Sometime after that, the Dutch took the place, and I was put by their

magistrates into the hands of trustees, by them appointed to take care of

me, and of what effects their soldiers had left unplundered; and after the

surrender of New-York to the English, my uncle came into these parts of

America, and kindly took care of me until I came to man's estate; and he

then dying, what he had fell into my hands, being his sole and only heir.

He had made a will, in which were found several material interlinations and

erasures; which will, when exhibited before the governor and council of

New-York to be proved, of six subscribing witnesses to the said will, only

two of them could make oath in due form of law; and they knew nothing of

those erasures and interlinations; and one William Bickley, a quaker, who

wrote the will, said, that he wrote the will, and made them; but knew not

why they were made. My uncle by that will having bequeathed his plantation

over against the town of Haerlem, to his wife; but for what estate, did

not appear; the words being scratched or erased out so as not to be read,

and instead of what was so erased, there was after the words, Mary Morris,

(which was the name of his widow) these words, viz. (her heires and

assignes forever, the lands thereof) interlined. The widow died about a

week after her husband, (the will having been in her and Bickley's keeping

all that time) and after, or about the time of her death, I was told of

this erasure by Miles Forster, one of the executors in the will named.

This will was dated the 12th of February, 1690, but a little before my

uncle's death, and exhibited for proof the 15th of May following, at which

time the erasure, and reason for making of it, must have been fresh in the

memory of the writer, who declared he knew of it; and must have been fresh

in the memory of the witnesses, had any such thing been shewn unto them.

That Bickley should know of; and make this erasure and interlination, and

not know or remember the reason of making it in so short a time after it

was done, appeared strange to all present; and most were of opinion, that

the words erased out, were of different import from those interlined, or

there had been no necessity for making the erasure and interlination; but

as the writer of the will, either could not, or would not tell for what

end they were made, tho' it appeared to be done with intent to vest an

estate in fee simple in the widow which it is probable the words erased

did not do; and only two witnesses being able to make oath in due form,

and these not knowing any thing concerning it; administration was

committed to me, with the testament annexed; and I have since purchased

releases from the heirs and legatees of the widow, and have been in quiet

possession above fifty three years.


Thus, by the sole goodness of almighty God, my benign creator, the designs

against me were rendered ineffectual, without any contrivance or act of my

own. Whether my uncle was persuaded, or really intended to give that

estate to his wife and her heirs; or whether he had given it to her for

life, and so intended, and the words interlined were done after his death;

or if he did intend to give it her in fee, and the writer had not made

use of proper words for that purpose (tho' he had done it in every other

case where an estate was given to me in fee) and discovered it to my

uncle, and made the alteration during his life, and by his consent; or

discovered them after his death, and then made the erasure and

interlination; is what I know nothing of; and what the writer of the will

either could not or would not say any thing about; but it is evident on the

face of the will, that every bequest to me, either of lands or chattels,

even of my mother's jewels, and what in the will was mentioned to belong to

her, and did only belong to me, was given (as the writer of the will called

it) with restriction and limitation (meaning as I suppose with this

condition) that I should submit myself wholly and absolutely to every

thing contained in that will; and it was therein determined, that if I, or

any body claiming under me, should under pretence of right from my father,

whether by partnership with my uncle or otherwise, make any claim or

demand of the estate left by my uncle, or any part of it; that in such

case the bequests to me were to be void. The drawer of that will had

purchased and read (with all the judgment he had) a book, entitled

Orphan's Legacy, in order to qualify him for that performance; and so

apprehensive was the contriver or contrivers of that will of my making

such claim and that the law might determine in my favour; that by a

clause in that will it was directed, that if any doubt or controversy

should arise, by reason of imperfection, defect, or any other cause

whatsoever of; or in any words, clauses and sentences in his last will and

testament, or about the true intent and meaning thereof; that in such

case, his executors, or any three of them, should expound, explain,

interpret, and finally decide the same, according to their wisdoms and



There had been articles of agreement and partnership entered into between

my uncle and my father, and executed by both the parties; in which amongst

other things, it was covenanted and agreed between them, that if either of

them died without issue, the survivor, or issue of the survivor (if any)

should take the estate. Upon the death of my father, that part of the

agreement executed by my uncle, with other my father's papers, came into

the hands of my uncle, and upon his death into Bickley's (as I suppose)

who kept the keys of his scruitore: That part of the agreement executed by

my father, I had seen often, and it came into my hands; but that part

executed by my uncle, was made away with; who destroyed it, I can't say;

but believe my uncle was too just a man to do any thing of that nature. It

appears from all this, that there was a design formed to deprive me of the

greatest part of the estate my uncle died possessed of; and that this

design was defeated. That this might be accounted for from natural and

obvious causes, such as the erasure of the will and the like, may be; but

what confounded the understanding of the writer so as to make the erasure

in that particular place, and in the manner he did, and to pretend not to

be able in so short a time after it was done, to give any account why it

was done, I attribute only to the over-ruling providence of the Almighty,

who has wonderfully protected and preserved me hitherto; and I doubt not

will continue his goodness to me 'till he thinks fit to call me hence,

tho' I am unworthy of the least of his favours. I now proceed to

directions concerning the disposal of my body and estate; and first, I

will, that my body shall be buried by the bodies of my uncle and my

children that lie at Morrisania, if it can be conveniently done. I would

be buried in a plain coffin of black walnut, cedar, or mahogany, without

covering or lining with cloth, or any other material of linen, woollen, or

silk; my age and the time of my death may be put upon it in such manner as

my executors shall think fit: I forbid any rings or scarfs to be given at

my funeral, or any man to be paid for preaching a funeral sermon over me:

Those who survive me, will commend or blame my conduct in life as they

think fit, and I am not for paying of any man for doing of either; but if

any man, whether churchman or dissenter, in or not in priest's orders, is

inclined to say any thing on that occasion, he may, if my executors think

fit to admit him to do it. I would not have any mourning worn for me by

any of my descendants; for I shall die in a good old age; and when the

divine, providence calls me hence, I die when I should die, and no

relation of mine ought to mourn because I do so; but may perhaps mourn to

pay the shop keeper for his goods, should they comply with (what I think)

the common folly of such an expence. I will, (if it be not done before my

death) that a vault of stone be built at or nigh the place at Morrisania,

where my good uncle lies buried; and that the remains of my relations

lying there, be collected and put into coffins in it; and my executors may

get a tomb stone for me if they think fit. - - - - - What the state of the

dead is, I know not; but believe it to be such as is most suitable for

them, and that their condition and state of existence after death, will be

such as will fully shew the wisdom, justice, and goodness of their great

creator to them. As to what estate it has pleased God to entrust and bless

me with, I will and dispose of it as follows: First, I will as the law

wills, that all my debts and funeral charges be justly paid and

discharged, &c."


In this year died Joseph Cooper [1749]: He was at eight successive

elections chosen to represent Gloucester county in assembly, and continued

in that station 19 years; he had steady principles, and a nobility of

disposition and fortitude, superior to many: At one of the tedious

sessions, in Col. Morris's time, when contrariety of sentiments had long

impeded business, that governor casually meeting him in the street, said,

"Cooper, I wish you would go home and send your wife." "I will," says he,

"if the governor will do the same by his:" An anecdote deservedly

expressive as to those good women.


In the summer this year [1749], three natives of Greenland, passed through

the province, dressed in seal-skins, with the hair on after the manner of

their own country; they were two young men and a young woman, converted to

the christian religion by the moravian missionaries: They had left

Greenland about two years before, in a Moravian ship (which had carried a

house ready framed, for worship, to be erected there, that country

affording no wood for building) and had since visited the brethren in

several parts of Europe; as England, Holland, and Germany: Their eyes and

hair were black, like the Indians here; but their complexion somewhat

lighter: Two Indian converts from the moravian mission, at Barbice, near

Surrinam, were also with them: They together went to the Moravian

settlement at Bethlehem, in Pennsylvania; there they met with some

Delaware and Mohickon Indians; converts also of the Moravians; and tho'

their native lands are so vastly remote as the latitude of 5, 41, and 65

[degrees] north; yet what they observed of each other's hair, eyes, and

complection, convinced them that they were all of the same race; they

could find however, no similitude in their several languages.


The 9th of November [1751] died, in the 53d year of his age, Richard Smith:

He represented Burlington in assembly near twenty years, through a great

variety of difficult business: He maintained a fair reputation, was

instrumental in procuring considerable provincial benefits; and hence

acquired the love of many, who had no opportunities of knowing him, but in

a publick character. He was cool and even in his temper, impartial and

conscientious in the discharge of his duty, kind and careful in every

paternal relation, and generous in both sentiment and conduct.


The 18th of November [1755], at four o'clock in the morning, was a

considerable shock of an earthquake, which lasted about two minutes; the

weather for seven days successively before, had been remarkably clear and

still, and all that night was so, with a clear full moon-shine; the two

days following, continued also very still and clear, not a cloud to be

seen, 'till towards evening of the second day after it happened: It did

not begin with so much of a rumbling noise as that in 1737, but was

thought not to fall short in the concussion.


Early in this year [1756] died at New-York, James Alexander, Esq; where he

had long borne the office of provincial secretary, and afterwards many

years one of the council. He was also long surveyor general of both East

and West-Jersey, and several years of the council in New-Jersey. He was

bred to the law, and tho' no speaker, at the head of his profession for

sagacity and penetration; and in application to business, no man could

surpass him: With his knowledge he was ready and communicative; and having

by candid practice, and ingenuous industry and diligence, acquired a great

estate in his latter years, remained a generous source of instruction for

the advantage of younger practitioners, and many others.


In this year [1757] died, in the seventy-sixth year of his age Jonathan

Belcher, Esq; governor of New-Jersey: In this station he arrived in 1747.

He was a native of New-England, and in his youth falling heir to great

acquisitions, got early upon the wing, in the gay world; a handsome

exteriour, a fondness for it, and for dress, equipage, and popular eclat,

insensibly betrayed him into a scence of show and expence, which at length

proved inconvenient to his patrimony; with this turn he travelled, kept

the first rate entertainments and company, and received marks of

distinguished notice and respect in the electorate of Hanover.2 He went

over agent for the Massachusetts Bay, on the long contest with governor

Burnet, on the subject of an indefinite support; on his death came over

governor of that colony, and long insisted on the same demands his

predecessor had done, and with the same success: He continued governor

there for a considerable time, and had great opportunities of indulging

his favourite taste; but carrying a high hand in the administration,

disgusted men of infinence; and at one time putting a negative on several

councellors, occasioned so many voices to unite in their applications

against him, that he was removed from his government. Here he witnessed a

reverse of fortune, being obliged to wait at a great expence several years

before an opportunity presented of getting again into office; at length the

government of New-Jersey falling vacant, early notice, properly used,

procured him that: He was now advanced in age, yet lively, diligent in his

station, and circumspect in his conduct, religious, generous and affable:

He affected splendour, at least equal to his age and fortune; but was a

man of worth and honour; and tho' in his last years, under great debility

of body from a stroke of the palsy, he bore up with firmness and

resignation, and went through the business of the government in the most

difficult part of the late war, with uuremitting zeal in the duties of his



In this year [1762] died Andrew Johnston, esq; aged 67: He succeeded his

father in representing Amboy in assembly, and was speaker several years;

long one of the treasurers: The last 15 years of his life he was in the

council, and a diligent attender on the business there, he had great

equality of temper, circumspection of conduct, an open, yet grave engaging

mein, much goodness of heart, and many virtues both publick and private.


The 30th of October [1763], between four and five in the afternoon, was a

very considerable shock of an earthquake; which directed its course to the



In the beginning of this year [1764] died Robert Hunter Morris, Esq: He was

near twenty-six years one of the council, and chief justice of New-Jersey,

and some time lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania: He had strong natural

powers, an elevated quickness of apprehension, a memory tenacious, read

much, and was uncommonly furnished in conversation on most subjects; he

gloried in the rational privilege of free disquisition; in his motives to

action, disdain'd to resemble the floating log 3 that went with the tide;

yet the other extream had a snare of too delicate concealment to be always

avoided: He came young into the office of chief justice, stuck to

punctuality in the forms of the courts, reduced the pleadings to precision

and method, and possessed the great qualities of his office, knowledge and

integrity, in more perfection than had often been known in the colonies:

Had no other stations engrossed his attention, his character had remained

without dispute, more light than shade; inheriting from his father,4 or

imbibing a turn at starting more difficulties, than himself or others

could easily solve, introduced debate, in which often appeared a seemingly

constitutional delight; but being brought up under the tuition of an

excellent mother, the bias here was qualified in part, with the advantages

of this, the father's experience, and much of his own, in variety of

situations: He had a liberal education, a comely respectable person, easy

address, smooth flow of words, a commanding influence in his manner, and

was a warm friend, but formidable enemy, not partial or oppressive as a

judge, in several private relations generous and manly, in none

avaritious, in some inconsiderate, in many his own original or his

father's copy, often singular, sometimes whimsical, always opinionated,

and mostly inflexible.


The 20th of the month called July [1764], at about 40 minutes past seven in

the evening, an uncommon ball of fire was seen in the north-east, about

fifty degrees above the horizon; it took its course near north-west; its

diameter seemed as large or larger than the sun, especially at one time,

when it opened so as to seemingly separate: It appeared like sheets of

fire inclining together; its sound as it went in some places, was said to

resemble that of a great fire urged by a strong wind; it kept near one

height all the way, 'till it had crossed the meridian to the north about

twenty degrees; there a small cloud seemed to attract it; mounting higher,

just as it appeared the outward edge of the cloud, it appeared to shatter

into innumerable pieces.


1 History of New-York, p. 125, 126.


2 Prince, in the dedication to him, of his chronology, speaks of this in

the following strain: "Upon this occasion his excellency will forgive me,

if for the honour of his country, as well as for his own; we boast of one

among us, who inspired with zeal for the succession of that illustrious

house, even in the joys of youth, twice brake away, viz. in 1704 and 1708,

and passed a double ocean; that he might with rapture see, and in his

country's name, express the ardour of their vows to that most important

family; in which under Heaven, all the welfare of three mighty nations,

and even of all the protestant states and kingdoms in the world, as well

as the liberty, religion and felicity of these colonies and provinces were

involved. A celebrated instance peculiar to himself alone, that I presume

no other American can pretend to; and for the fatigue and pains, I suppose

no other subject of the whole British empire; which redounds to the glory

of the land that bred him, that parted with him, and received him with

applause; and the happy consequence whereof, at the head of his country,

he now enjoys."


3 He was apt to apply this expression in contrast to a sentimental choice.


4 See above, &c.