Smith's History of Nova Caesarea
is the bedrock of New Jersey history. This was the first compilation of
facts, documents, and materials relating the colony, written by one of
its most prominent citizens. The presentation deals extensively with the
early settlements, government under the Proprietors, the transition to
a Royal Colony, and notable events of the 17th and 18th centuries. Of special
interest is Smith's chapter on "The State of Indian Affairs,"
which records in detail the proceedings of the Treaty of Easton (1758,
at which Smith took extensive notes). The 1890 appendix "John Tatham,
New Jersey's Missing Governor" is also included.
Samuel Smith, author of the History
of New Jersey, was eldest son of Richard Smith, esquire, of Burlington,
member for twenty years of the Assembly of West Jersey, and a flourishing
merchant in Burlington and Philadelphia. The author joined his father as
a West India merchant, and settled at Burlington. His reading was extensive
and accurate; the several historical works composed by him, showing the
fruits of careful research, and a clear and agreeable style. He was the
originator of the benevolent efforts which resulted in the colonization
of the remnant of the New Jersey Indians at the "Brotherton"
settlement; drew up, in 1757, the constitution of the "New Jersey
Society for Helping the Indians," and signed its subscription list
with twenty pounds.
In 1765, Samuel Smith had the press of
the "King's Printer" moved to Burlington for the purpose of printing
his History of New Jersey, as appears by the following extract:
In 1764, James Parker, printer to the King for
the Province of New Jersey, compiled and printed a Conductor Generalis
for Justices of the Peace, he then holding that office in Middlesex county,
and the following year moved his press from Woodbridge to Burlington for
the accommodation of the author of the History of New Jersey, (Smith),
but on the completion of the work it was returned to the former place.
- Whitehead's Contributions
to East Jersey History, p. 376.
Samuel Smith filled some of the most important
public offices in the Province of New Jersey. He was, for many years, a
member and Secretary of the King's Council, Treasurer of the Province,
&c., &c. He died in 1776. His brother Richard was a member of the