Rip Claes Van Dam, Gov. (c.1660 - 1749)

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Nicknames: "Van Damm"
Birthplace: Albany, Albany, New York, United States
Death: Died in New York, New York, United States
Occupation: Merchant, President of His Majesties Council for the Province of New York for 30 Years, Governor, New York-Merchant
Managed by: Robert Engelhardt
Last Updated:

About Rip Claes Van Dam, Gov.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rip_Van_Dam

Rip Van Dam (ca. 1660 – 10 June 1749) was the interim acting governor of the Province of New York from 1731 to 1732. As one of the leaders of the republican liberal party, Van Dam confronted the subsequent royal governor William Cosby.

Early life

Rip Van Dam was born, about 1660, at Beverwyck, Albany, New York, where he was raised. His father was Claes Ripse Van Dam, a middle class local socialite who traded through his carpentry business and operated as a contractor. By him, Van Dam was related to the Dutch Church of Albany. Van Dam's mother was named Maria Bords.

Merchant of New York

In Albany, Van Dam was employed since his adolescence by Robert Story, a businessman of Manhattan, New York City, who was trading around. Subsequently, Van Dam was sent to New York, to study business management earnestly, and he became a prominent merchant, running his own business. Van Dam was married, in 1684, to Sarah Van Der Spiegle of New York, begetting 9 children at least.

Politician

During the New York Province royal governance of Lord Bellomont, Van Dam resisted his restrictions of commerce and Bellomont reacted confiscating some vessels of Van Dam, which would have infracted the laws of customs. By such struggle, Van Dam became engaged into politics. In 1699, Van Dam was elected to represent New York City into the New York State assembly, in Albany, and he became the opposition leader.

Councilman of the Royal Governor

Van Dam rallied those merchants who had been affected by Bellomont's restrictions and together they issued a complain to the King of England, William III. Effectively, in response, the new royal governor Lord Cornbury removed some councilmen, in 1701, accusing them with promotion of political disorder. Into one of the vacancies of councilman, Van Dam was appointed instead, in 1702. Indeed, it was uncommon that a native of Albany became a royal governor councilman as it was an office which was usually reserved for prominent noble figures and wealthy New Yorkers. It functioned in New York city.

Van Dam served as a councilman for 30 years. As a councilman's rank was determined by the length of his tenure, eventually Van Dam reached the presidency of the council as the oldest member and, often, he represented the royal governor. For instance, Van Dam travelled annually to Albany, to renew the English-Iroquoian alliance on the governor's behalf.

Acting Governor

After the royal governor John Montgomerie's death, Van Dam who was the council president was appointed temporary acting governor of New York Province, in 1731.

Against the new Royal Governor

By opposing the Molasses act, Van Dam was rewarded, receiving 1,000 pounds by the assembly. Besides, the assembly had disposed a bill through which the liberal institutions of New York got much money. In April 1732, the designated royal governor William Cosby arrived. Disliking such liberal manoeuvres, Cosby decided that Van Dam should restore half of his salary of interim governor. Van Dam durst replying that, before he might comply for such demands, Cosby should return the privilege fortunes, which were being defalcated out of the English treasury for fake provincial expenditures, by Cosby since his appointment. Cosby assumed in August 1732 but Van Dam refused to take his corresponding oath of councilman.

Cosby was enraged by Van Dam's stubbornness so he filed a lawsuit against him to despoil the half of his acting governor salary. Van Dam was processed through a chancery court (with neither a jury nor a faithful following of the law texts) whereas his defence was taken by William Smith and James Alexander. The court of chancery was quite unpopular amongst the New Yorkers. Nonetheless, it was upheld although one of the three Supreme Court judges, the Chief Justice Lewis Morris, voted against it, in 1733, arguing the illegality of such type of chambers of justice. Despite his judicial victory, Cosby reacted so Van Dam was dismissdismissed off the governor council and Morris was ousted. Nonetheless, Morris' liberal party won the elections in that same year, against the royal party.

In 1734, Van Dam's Heads of Articles of Complaint Against governor Cosby was published, at Boston, Massachusetts. Under the appellative of The Morrisites, the liberal party of New York aligned for Van Dam's claims, with his active participation. Oppositely, the royal loyalists, The Court Party, stood with Cosby.

John Peter Zenger's aggressively liberal New York Weekly Journal newspaper, of which Van Dam had been a founder (1733), used the Van Dam case much in its every day crusade of free government. Usually, like the other liberal figures of New York, Van Dam wrote unsigned articles which were published by Zenger. In 1734, Cosby burned piles of the publication, prosecuting Zenger in the historical Zenger's trial of 1735.

The Successor

Usually, Van Dam was absent, off the regular sessions of the governor's council. By this reason, Van Dam was suspended by Cosby, who issued this secret order during his deathbed.

Thus, Van Dam didn't assume the New York governorship after Cosby's decease (1736). Instead, the corresponding councilman George Clarke, who was of the royal party actually, did. Van Dam demanded the office and, when Clarke refused, the two of them called for respective council sessions. Van Dam was supported by the Chief Justice James DeLancey and his adherents were ready to use the weapons to defend Van Dam's claim. Nonetheless, the conflict ended because, from London, several communiques endorsed Clarke's interim governorship.

Death

Van Dam filed his will in 1746, detailing his own estate extensively. He died in New York city, in 10 June 1749.

-------------------- Rip Van Dam (ca. 1660 – 10 June 1749) was the acting governor of the Province of New York from 1731 to 1732. As one of the leaders of the republican liberal (or "country") party, Van Dam confronted the subsequent royal governor William Cosby.

Rip Van Dam was born, about 1660, at Beverwyck, Albany, New York, where he was raised. His father was Claes Ripse Van Dam, a middle class local socialite who traded through his carpentry business and operated as a contractor. By him, Van Dam was related to the Dutch Church of Albany. Van Dam's mother was named Maria Bords.

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Gov. Rip Claes Van Dam's Timeline

1660
1660
Albany, Albany, New York, United States
1684
September 24, 1684
Age 24
New York, New York, USA
1685
July 15, 1685
Age 25
1686
October 31, 1686
Age 26
1706
1706
Age 46
1735
1735
Age 75
1749
June 10, 1749
Age 89
New York, New York, United States
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