Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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CLARKE, George, governor of New York, born in England; died in Chester, England, in 1763. He was sent out by a friend, during the reign of Queen Anne, to mend his fortunes in New York. Dunlap says he "had sagacity enough to see that the aristocracy possessed the offices of profit, and were supporters of the authority derived from England." He therefore sided with the governors in their disputes with the popular party, and was rewarded, until he stood the oldest councillor, with the exception of Van Dam. On the death of Governor Cosby, Van Dam would have assumed the administration as senior councillor, but the council, claiming that he had been secretly suspended by Cosby just before the latter's death, proclaimed Clarke governor pro tern., and, in spite of Van Dam's opposition, he was supported by the home government, and commissioned lieutenant governor. He endeavored to hold the favor of both parties, and is said to have destroyed the popularity of many democratic leaders by inducing them to ask for offices that he did not intend to bestow on them. His administration, like that of his predecessor, was disturbed by contention with the assembly; but it was also marked by the adoption of many good measures. The militia system was remodelled, courts set up for the decision of petty suits, the Indian trade promoted, and a precedent estab- lished for the annual provision by the legislature for the provincial government.
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