Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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DE BERDT, Dennis, colonial agent, born early in the 18th century; died in England, about 1771. He was a London merchant, with extensive commercial connections in this country. About November 1766, when the colonial legislature of Massachusetts dismissed Richard Jackson from its service, the house elected the honest and aged Dennis de Berdt as its own particular agent. From this time Hutchinson, who had made pretence of being a friend to colonial liberty, dated the revolt of the American colonies, and his correspondence and advice conformed to the opinion. Samuel Adams divined the evil designs, now so near their execution, and instructed De Berdt to oppose the establishment of a military force in America, as needless for protection and dangerous to liberty. "Certainly," said he, "the best way for Great Britain to make her colonies a real and lasting benefit is to give them all consistent indulgence in trade, and to remove any occasion of their suspecting that their liberties are in danger. While any act of parliament is in force which has the least appearante of a design to raise a revenue out of them, their jealousy will be awake." The dosing of the affairs of Mr. De Berdt's firm in England, which was found to be irretrievably bankrupt, was undertaken by Joseph Reed, a young colonial visitor to England, who had practiced law in the New Jersey courts, and later had held, as his first political appointment, the office of deputy secretary for the province of New Jersey. He had visited England in 1763'5, and had met the family of Mr. De Berdt. In May 1770, he married Esther de Berdt. Dr. Franklin was chosen to succeed Dennis de Berdt as colonial agent at the time of his death.
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