Skip to main content

Belcher, Jonathan

Belcher, Jonathan

BELCHER, JONATHAN. (1682–1757). Merchant, colonial governor of Massachusetts and New Jersey. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on 8 January 1682, Jonathan Belcher was raised in a prosperous family that had important political and commercial connections. Graduating from Harvard in 1699, Belcher traveled in Europe before becoming a wealthy merchant in Boston. In 1705 he married Mary Partridge, daughter of New Hampshire Lieutenant Governor William Partridge.

After being elected to the Massachusetts Council eight times during the twelve years from 1718 to 1729, Belcher happened to be in England when Governor William Burnet died, and he was able to secure the governorship of Massachusetts and New Hampshire for himself. On 10 August 1730 he landed in Boston to take up his commission. His position was one that called for real genius, which Belcher lacked. He tried to walk the fence between royal and colonial interests, but repeatedly found himself embroiled in controversy. Among the conflicts that troubled his time in office was the Broad Arrow policy, which brought him into conflict with royal authority; the Land Bank, in which he supported his friends and family, who opposed the popular scheme; and the boundary dispute between Massachusetts and New Hampshire, in which he was accused of accepting a bribe. On 7 May 1741 the Board of Trade dismissed Belcher as governor of both provinces.

In 1744 Belcher went to England to argue his case, meeting with the Board of Trade, members of Parliament, and King George II. In 1747, perhaps just to get rid of him, the Crown appointed Belcher governor of New Jersey. He reached his new post in August 1747 and had a relatively tranquil tenure until his death on 31 August 1757, in Elizabethtown, New Jersey. He took a great interest in the founding of the College of New Jersey (Princeton) and left the college his library.

SEE ALSO oad Arrow.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The Belcher Papers. Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 6th ser., vols. 6 and 7. Boston: The Society, 1792.

Batinski, Michael C. Jonathan Belcher, Colonial Governor. Lexington, Ky., University of Kentucky Press, 1996.

                          revised by Michael Bellesiles

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Belcher, Jonathan." Encyclopedia of the American Revolution: Library of Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 May. 2019 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Belcher, Jonathan." Encyclopedia of the American Revolution: Library of Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 19, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/belcher-jonathan

"Belcher, Jonathan." Encyclopedia of the American Revolution: Library of Military History. . Retrieved May 19, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/belcher-jonathan

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.