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Living at NYPL Archives & Manuscripts
Philip John Schuyler
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Philip John Schuyler (1733-1804) was a prominent member of the landed aristocracy of upstate New York. Born in Albany, Schuyler inherited extensive lands in the Saratoga Patent, through the Mohawk Valley, in Dutchess County, and along the Hudson River. He served in the British Army during the French and Indian War, rising to the rank of Major. His thirty year career in public office began in 1768 when he was elected to New York's colonial assembly. There he sided with those favoring increased independence from Great Britain. He was a delegate to the second Continental Congress and was made one of the four Major-Generals in the Continental Army under Washington. During the Revolutionary War he commanded the forces of the Northern Department, 1775-1777, until replaced by Horatio Gates. However, he remained in his post as Commissioner of Indian Affairs and was re-elected to the Continental Congress, 1778-1781. He served in the New York State Senate, 1780-1784 and 1786-1790, and became one of New York's first United States Senators, 1797-1798. Schuyler was also deeply involved in the commercial development of New York. He oversaw the construction of saw mills, gristmills, and New York's first flax mill, exported timber and other products of his estates via his Hudson River fleet, and took a leading role in the development of better transportation. As president and leading force in the creation and incorporation of the Northern Inland Lock Navigation Company and the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company, he constructed the canals that would form the basis of the Erie Canal system.



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