Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs
Manuscript Group 41, Samuel Smith (1720-1776), Treasurer of the Western Division of the Colony of New Jersey / Historian
Papers, 1748-1768, 0.85 linear feet / 2 boxes & 1 volume
Call Number: MG 41 + Box number
Papers include letters to Samuel Smith, and occasionally New Jersey's Committee of Correspondence (Samuel Smith, Robert Lawrence, John Wetherill, Charles Read, and Jacob Spicer) from Joseph Sherwood, New Jersey's agent in England; accounts with Joseph Sherwood; and Richard Partridge's power of attorney.
Also contains the original corrected and amended manuscript of Samuel Smith's unfinished history of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, from which was published his History of the Colony of Nova-Caesaria, of New Jersey (Burlington, 1765) (call# R.B. P3). Included is a copy of instructions, 1702, from Queen Anne to Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury, certified in 1747 by James Hamilton, Robert Hunter Morris, John Smyth, and John Waddell.
Gift of Edmund Morris, ca. 1855.
Samuel Smith, the son of Abigail Raper and Richard Smith (d. 1751), was born in Burlington, New Jersey on December 13, 1720. Smith established himself as a merchant in Philadelphia before returning to Burlington where he became involved in politics. He served as the treasurer of the Western Division of the Colony of New Jersey from 1750-1775, as justice of the peace, as a member of New Jersey’s Council from 1763-1775, and as mayor of Burlington. In addition, he took a key role in the establishment of an Indian Reservation in Brotherton, New Jersey, was an active member of the Society of Friends, and a historian who gathered early documents for a history on New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the Society of Friends in those colonies. His book, The History of the Colony of Nova Caesaria or New Jersey to Year 1721, was published in 1765 and covered solely the history of his home province.
Samuel Smith married Jane Kirkbride, the daughter of Joseph Kirkbride, on November 13, 1741. The couple had four children together: Joseph, Abigail, Sarah, and Richard. Samuel Smith died in Burlington on July 13, 1776.
Archives of the State of New Jersey, Series I, Vol. IX, pgs. 394-395.
Schermerhorn, William E. History of Burlington, New Jersey (Enterprise Publishing Company: Burlington, NJ, 1927), pgs. 254-255.
These papers were originally made up of two separate collections, Manuscript Group 41 and Manuscript Group 56, both of which were donated by Edmund Morris and consisted of the papers of Samuel Smith. The two were combined at the time of processing.
The papers, dating from 1748-1768, consist of Samuel Smith’s manuscript draft of "The History of New Jersey and Pennsylvania" and of letters to Smith from Joseph Sherwood, New Jersey’s Colonial Agent in England. There are also a few accounts/bills between Joseph Sherwood and the Colony of New Jersey, a power of attorney from Richard Partridge to Samuel Smith, and a copy made by Smith of Queen Anne’s 1702 appointment of Edward Hyde (Lord Cornbury) as Governor of New Jersey with her instructions concerning the governing of that province.
Sherwood’s letters have been bound into one volume and are in loose chronological order dating from 1761-1768. They are addressed to Samuel Smith, and occasionally to New Jersey’s Committee of Correspondence (made up of Samuel Smith, Robert Lawrence, John Wetherill, Charles Read, and Jacob Spicer), and report on political matters in England. The letters were written during the critical years before the American Revolution and refer to matters of possible concern to New Jersey, for example: the birth of George IV; various royal appointments; the death of Sir Charles Wyndham, Earl of Egremont; the possible appointment of Lord William Pitt; resignations in Parliament; boundary disputes with the Colony of New York; Parliamentary grants; a cider tax; and the passing of various acts concerning trade, colonial-based troops, and the printing of paper money. The acts mentioned include the Currency Act and Revenue Act of 1764 and the Quartering Act and Stamp Act of 1765. Sherwood describes the "tumultuous" colonial reaction to the Stamp Act and gladly informs Smith of its repeal. Sherwood also refers to Smith’s History of the Colony of New Jersey, which was published in 1765.
The majority of the letters were transcribed and printed in the Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society, Series I, Vol. 5, pgs. 131-153.
Smith’s manuscript, "The History of New Jersey and Pennsylvania," was written sometime during the early 1760s and used to publish Smith’s The History of the Colony of Nova Caesaria or New Jersey to Year 1721 (call# R.B. P3) and, in 1797-1798, Robert Proud’s The History of Pennsylvania, in North America, from the Original Institution and Settlement of that Province…in 1681, till after the Year 1742. The manuscript is a draft copy and contains the correction marks and comments of both authors.
Sections of the manuscript not used in either Smith or Proud’s publications were printed in the Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society, Series I, Vol. 8, pgs. 40-48, 126-136 and Vol. 9, pgs. 15-22.
Processed by Kim Charlton, April 2000 as part of the "Farm to City" project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
The New Jersey Historical Society