1902 Encyclopedia > Today in History > Jacob Leisler hanged for treason, Pres. Andrew Johnson almost impeached, and more

Today in History - May 16
• Jacob Leisler Hanged For Treason
• President Andrew Johnson Almost Impeached

-- Compiled by James Finlayson-Bald

Gov. Sloughter Signing Death Warrant of Jacob Leisler (image)

Howard Pyle's engraving depicting colonial New York Governor Henry Sloughter signing Jacob Leisler's death warrant. Many saw Leisler's trial for treason as unjust as his judges had been his personal and political enemies. Governor Sloughter hesitated before signing the death warrant, and only did so (it is said) under the influence of wine (see the wine bottles in this engraving).

On this date:

1691—Jacob Leisler became the first American colonist to be hanged for treason. He went to New Netherland in 1660 as a soldier in the service of the Dutch West India Co, married a wealthy widow and engaged in trade. He continued to live in the colony after it passed to English control, when it was renamed New York. Early in 1689 news of the Glorious Revolution and the accession of William and Mary reached the colonies. Leisler led a revolt against the deputy governor of New York, Francis Nicholson. The fort at New York was seized and Nicholson fled to England. Supported by the small farmers and city workers, Leisler set himself at the head of a revolutionary government. He summoned the first intercolonial congress in America to plan concerted action against the French and Indians. Though proclaiming loyalty to William and Mary, Leisler refused to recognise the authority of Major Ingoldsby who arrived with English soldiers in 1691. After a skirmish Leisler surrendered the fort and was arrested and charged with treason, tried, with his son-in-law Jacob Milborne, found guilty and hanged.

1771—The Regulator Riot was defeated in North Carolina. The Regulators claimed taxation was excessive as applied.

1804—Napoleon was proclaimed Emperor by Senate and Tribune.

1861—Kentucky House of Representatives voted to remain neutral in the Civil War.

1868—Impeachment proceedings against President Andrew Johnson, stemming from his conciliatory policy towards the seceded states, and the ensuing feud with the Radicals, failed by one vote.

1920—Joan of Arc canonized as a saint.

-- John Sell Cotman, watercolourist, (1782-1842).
-- David Edward Hughes, inventor of the teleprinter (1831-1900).

Dead battles,like dead generals, hold the military mind in their dead grip. — Barbara Tuchman.

The above article was written by James Finlayson-Bald.
Edited and illustrations added by David Paul Wagner.

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