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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 biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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James Logan

LOGAN, James, statesman, born in Lurgan, County Armagh, Ireland, 20 October, 1674; died near Germantown, Pennsylvania, 31 October, 1751. He was of Scotch-Irish parentage, and descended from Logan of Restalrig, Scotland, whose estates were confiscated for connection with the Gowrie conspiracy against James VI. Before the age of thirteen he had acquired Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and he afterward studied mathematics and modern languages. He was sent to London, and apprenticed to a linen-draper, but, the campaign that ended in the battle of the Boyne having begun, he was recalled to accompany his parents in their flight to Edinburgh. Subsequently they settled in Bristol, England, where James resumed his studies and assisted his father in his school. He engaged in commerce in 1698, and in 1699 came to this country with William Penn, as his secretary, arriving in Philadelphia in December, 1699. He resided with Penn in "the slate-roof house" on Second street, and continued there after Penn returned to England in 1701. He became provincial secretary, commissioner of property, and receiver-general, and was the business agent for the Penn family, and the champion of their interests in the colony. In 1702 he entered the provincial council, of which body he was a member until 1747. In 1704-'5 he became embroiled in Governor John Evans's disputes with the assembly. In October, 1705, he visited the Indians at Conestoga, and in subsequent embassies gained their esteem and confidence, and as a testimony of their regard the chief, Logan, was named for him. On 26 February, 1707, he was impeached by the assembly, which charged him, among other things, with illegally inserting in the governor's commission certain clauses contrary to the royal charter, and with illegally holding two incompatible offices, the surveyor-generalship and the secretaryship. Logan's answer was filled with personal abuse, and on 25 November, when he was preparing to sail for England, the house ordered that he should be detained in the county jail until he should make satisfaction for his reflections on sundry members; but the sheriff refused to obey, and Logan sailed a few days afterward, returning in 1712. In 1715 he was commissioned a justice of the court of common pleas, quarter sessions, and orphan's court, and in 1723 became presiding judge of the common pleas. In 1723 he became mayor of Philadelphia, and at the close of his term went abroad again to consult with Hannah Penn. From 1731 till 1739 he filled the office of chief-justice of the supreme court, and as president of the council, after the death of Governor Gordon in 1736, acted as governor for two years. The latter years of his life were spent in retirement at his country-seat "Stenton," now in Philadelphia, devoted to science and literature. He corresponded with many scientists, and Linnaeus gave the name Logan to a class of plants in his honor.

He was one of the founders, and a member of the first board of trustees (1749), of the college in Philadelphia, now the University of Pennsylvania. In 1725 he became involved in a controversy with Governor Keith, and, in support of his part, published " The Antidote " (Philadelphia, 1725) ; "A Memorial from James Logan, in Behalf of the Proprietor's Family and of Himself, Servant to the said Family" (1725); and also, in the same year, "A Dialogue showing, What's therein to be Found," this being an answer to Rawle's "Ways and Means." In 1735 he communicated to Peter Collinson, of London, an account of his experiments on maize, with a view of investigating the sexual doctrine. This was printed in "Philosophical Transactions." and afterward enlarged and printed in a Latin essay entitled " Experimenta Meletemata de Plantarum Generatione" (Leyden, 1739 ; London, 1747). He was also the author of "Epistola ad Virum Clarissimum Joannem Albertum Fabricium" (Amsterdam, 1740); "Demonstrationes de Radiorum Lucis in Superficies sphericus ab Axe incidentium a primario Foco Aberrationibus" (Leyden, 1741); and an annotated translation of Cicero's "De Seneetute," with notes and a preface by Dr. Benjamin Franklin (Philadelphia, 1744 ; London, 1750). The first edition of this was printed by Franklin, and is regarded as the finest production of his press. It was reprinted at Glasgow in 1751 and 1758, at London in 1750 and 1778, and at Philadelphia in 1758 and 1812, with Franklin's name falsely inscribed on the title-page of the last-mentioned edition. He also rendered Cato's "Distichs" into English verse, wrote numerous essays on ethics and philosophy, and left translations of Greek authors in manuscript. He was a member of the Society of Friends, and addressed a letter to that body during the war between Spain and Great Britain, advising it not to procure the election of its members to the assembly, which letter was not allowed to be read. The following is an extract from his will bequeathing to the city of Philadelphia a library of over 2,000 volumes: "In my library, which I have left to the city of Philadelphia, for the advancement and facilitating of classical learning, are above one hundred volumes of authors, in folio, all in Greek, with mostly their versions; all the Roman classics without exception; all the Greek mathematicians, viz., Archimedes, Euclid, Ptolemy, both his 'Geography' and 'Almagest,' which I had in Greek (with Timon's 'Commentary,' in folio, about seven hundred pages) from my learned friend Fabricius, who published fourteen volumes of his 'Bibliotheque Grecque,' in quarto, in which, after he had finished his account of Ptolemy, on my inquiring from him, at Hamburg, how I should find it, having long sought for it in vain in England, he sent it to me out of his own library, telling me it was so scarce that neither price nor prayers could purchase it. Besides these are many of the most valuable Latin authors, and a great number of modern and ancient mathematicians, with all the editions of Newton, Dr. Watts, Halley, etc." This collection was annexed in 1792 to the library that was established by Franklin. It has been kept separate under the name of the Loganian library, and received in 1828 an accession of 5,000 volumes by the bequest of William Mackenzie. See " Memoirs of Logan," by W. Armistead.--His son, William, lawyer, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 14 May, 1718; died there, 28 October, 1776, was sent at the age of twelve to his uncle. Dr. William Logan, in Bristol, England, and on his return to this country became attorney for the Penn family, with his father, upon whose death he became owner of "Stenton," and devoted his life to agriculture. He was a councilman of Philadelphia from 1743 till 1776, when the meetings of the corporation were discontinued. He received Indians at his house, gave the aged a settlement on his land, and educated the young with his own means. He took no active part in the Revolutionary war. With his brother he deeded the library property to Israel Pemberton, Jr., William Allen, Richard Peters, and Benjamin Franklin, to be with William Logan and his brother, James Logan, the trustees or managers; and acted as librarian until his death. He added to the collection the books bequeathed to him by his uncle, about 1,300 volumes.--William's son, George, senator, born in Stenton, Pennsylvania, 9 September, 1753; died there, 9 April, 1821, went abroad and studied three years at the medical school of Edinburgh, where he received his degree in 1779. He then travelled on the continent, and on his return to this country in the autumn of 1780 devoted himself to scientific agriculture. He served several terms in the legislature, and in June, 1798, went to France on his own responsibility for the purpose of averting war between that country and the United States. He persuaded the French government to annul the embargo on American shipping, and prepared the way for a negotiation that terminated in peace. On his return he was denounced by the Federalists, who procured the passage in congress of the so-called "Logan act," making it a high misdemeanor for an individual citizen to take part in a controversy between the United States and a foreign power. He vindicated himself in a letter dated 12 January, 1799. He was elected United States senator from Pennsylvania as a Democrat in place of Peter Muhlenberg, resigned, serving from 7 December, 1801, till 3 March, 1807, in 1810 he went to England as a self-constituted agent to attempt a reconciliation between Great Britain and the United States, but was unsuccessful. Dr. Logan was a member of the American philosophical society. He was probably the only strict member of the Society of Friends that ever sat in the United States senate. He published "Experiments on Gypsum," and" Rotation of Crops" (1797), and was also the author of other pamphlets on agricultural subjects.

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