An active public man in the province of New York, to which he emigrated from Scotland
in 1715, where he was born in 1690.
He had fled from Scotland
because of his peril there as an adherent of the “Young Pretender.”
He was accompanied by William Smith
, afterwards chief-justice of the province and its historian.
He was made surveyor-general of New Jersey
and New York.
was secretary of the latter colony, and attained eminence in the profession of the law. As attorney-general
of the province and occupant of other important positions, he became distinguished.
He was one of the able counsel who defended the freedom of the press in the person of John Peter Zenger
Because of the part which he took in that famous trial he was arbitrarily excluded from the bar, but was reinstated in 1737.
He was associated with Franklin
and others in founding the American Philosophical Society.
He was the father of William Alexander
, known as Lord Stirling, a general in the Continental
He died in New York City, April 2. 1756.