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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ALEXANDER, James, lawyer, born in Scotland about 1690" died in New York, 2 April 1756. His American career began in 1715, when he was obliged to leave England on account of his active partisanship with the pretender in his vain attempt to seize the English crown. He became the first official recorder of the town of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, in 1718, but, having served as an officer of engineers in Scotland, he was appointed surveyor-general of New York and New Jersey. In his intervals of leisure he studied law and became eminent at the colonial bar. He was a constant contributor, with Chief Justice Morris, to the " New York Weekly Journal," established in 1733. In 1735 he was temporarily disbarred because he served as counsel for Peter Zenger, a popular printer of that day, who was accused of sedition, but he was reinstated on a change of administration two years later. He held many public offices, served for several years in the colonial legislature and council, and was attorney general in 1721-'23, and secretary of the province of New York. He acquired large wealth, and was among the staunchest of the pre-revolutionary friends of civil liberty. In company with Franklin and others, he founded the American philosophical society. His son William was the "Lord Stirling" of revolutionary fame. In 1756 a ministerial project threatening the rights of the colony was proposed, and, when it came up for consideration at Albany, See. Alexander undertook the journey from New York to oppose the measure, although he was suffering from severe illness. His death resulted from the fatigue and exposure then incident to the trip.
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