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July 6, 1970

Cadwallader Colden (1688-1776): Lieutenant-Governor of New York Colony

JAMA. 1970;213(1):120. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170270060018

Although Cadwallader Colden spent most of his professional days in political activities, many of his writings reflect a continuing interest in selected medical matters. Colden was born in Ireland of Scottish parents and was destined to follow his father in the ministry. However, upon completion of his studies for the baccalaureate in Edinburgh in 1705, he acceded to a stronger urge and turned to medicine.1 After three years of study of anatomy, chemistry, and botany in London, he came to Philadelphia in 1710, where he practiced medicine and carried on a mercantile business.

In 1718, Colden was persuaded by Robert Hunter, governor of New York Colony, to enter upon a public career, first as surveyor-general. In 1721, he was appointed to the Governor's Council and, in 1760, finally yielding to repeated pressures, he became lieutenant-governor and presiding officer of the Assembly of the Colony. Colden's writings— extensive, diffuse, and