an eminent physician and botanist, the son of the Rev. Alexander
Colden of Dunse, was born February 17, 1688. He studied at the
university of Edinburgh, and in medicine and mathematics especially
made great proficiency. In 1708 he emigrated to Pennsylvania, where he
practised as a physician for some years. In 1715 he returned to
Britain, and while in London acquired considerable reputation by a
paper on Animal Secretions. He afterwards went to Scotland, but the
rebellion which had broken out there induced him to recross the
Atlantic in 1716. He settled a second time in Pennsylvania, but in
1718 removed to New York. After a residence of a year in that city, he
was appointed the first surveyor-general of the lands of the colony,
and at the same time master in chancery. In 1720 he obtained a seat in
the king’s council, under Governor Burnet. For some time previous to
this, he had resided on a tract of land about nine miles from
Newburgh, on Hudson river, for which he had received a patent, and
which he employed himself in bringing into a state of cultivation,
though much exposed to the attacks of the Indians. In 1761 he was
chosen lieutenant-governor of New York. During the absence of Governor
Tryon he displayed his ability in the management of affairs, and
formed several benevolent establishments. After the return of Governor
Tryon in 1775, Colden retired to a seat on Long Island, where he died,
September 28, 1776, in the eighty-ninth year of his age, a few hours
before nearly one-fourth part of the city of New York was reduced to
ashes. Governor Colden was distinguished for his acquaintance with
botany. His descriptions of between three and four hundred American
plants were published in the ‘Acta Upsaliensia.’ He paid attention
also to the climate, and left a long course of diurnal observations on
the thermometer, barometer, and winds. He sent a great many American
plants to Linnaeus, with whom he corresponded, and who gave to a new
genus of plants the appellation of Coldenia. His works are:
of the Five Indian Nations of Canada. 2d edition, London, 1701, 8vo.
The same, 1747, 1750, 8vo. And 1755, 2 vols, 12mo.
of the Five Indian Nations depending upon New York. New York, 1727,
8vo. Lond. 1752. 4to.
Principle of Action in Matter, the Gravitation in Bodies, and the
Motion of the Planets, explained from their principles. New York,
1745, 8vo. Lond. 1752, 4to.
Coldenghomiae in provincia Noveboracensi Americes sponte crescentes.
Act. Societ. Upsal. 1743, p. 81, &c.
concerning the Throat Distemper. Med. Obs. and Inq. i. p. 211. 1755.
Epidemic Malignant Sore Throat.