Colonial governor; born at The Hague
, in March, 1688, when William of Orange
(afterwards William III.
) became his godfather at baptism; was a son of Bishop Burnet
; became engaged in the South Sea
speculations, which involved him pecuniarily, and, to retrieve his fortune, he received the appointment of governor of the colonies of New York and New Jersey
He arrived in New York in September, 1720.
Becoming unpopular there, he was transferred to the governments of Massachusetts
and New Hampshire
He arrived at Boston
in July, 1728, and was received with unusual pomp.
This show he urged in his speech as a proof of their ability to give a liberal support to his government, and acquainted them with the King
's instructions to him to insist upon an established salary, and his intention to adhere to it. The Assembly at once took an attitude of opposition to the governor.
They voted him £ 1,700 to enable him to manage public affairs, and to defray his expenses in going there.
The governor declared himself dissatisfied, and would not consent to their resolve, as it was “contrary to his Majesty's instructions.”
The Assembly appealed to their charter, granted by King William, and refused to vote a fixed salary.
A spirited contest in writing ensued.
In one of his communications the governor threatened the colony with the loss of their charter.
They remained firm, “because,” they said, “it is the undoubted right of all Englishmen, by Magna Charta
, to raise and dispose of money for the public service of their own free accord, without compulsion.”
At a town meeting in Boston
, during the controversy, a unanimous declaration was made that the people of the town were opposed to settling a fixed salary on the governor.
That official then adjourned the legislature to Salem
, remarking, in his message for that purpose, that the interposition of towns was “a needless and officious step, better adapted to the republic of Holland
than to a British constitution.”
The Assembly adhered to their determination, and the governor was compelled to yield.
In person he was very commanding; frank in manner, and of ready wit. He died Sept. 7, 1729.