1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Schuyler, Philip John
SCHUYLER, PHILIP JOHN (1733-1804), American soldier, was born at Albany, New York, on the 11th of November 1733. The Schuyler family was established in the New World by Philip Pieterse Schuyler (d. 1683), who migrated from Amsterdam in 1650, and whose son, Peter (1657-1724), was the first mayor of Albany and chairman of the board of Indian commissioners of the province. The family was one of the wealthiest and most influential in the colony and was closely related by marriage to the Van Rensselaers, Van Cortlandts and other representatives of the old Dutch aristocracy. Philip Schuyler served in the Provincial Army during the Seven Years' War, first as captain and later as deputy-commissary with the rank of major, taking part in the battles of Lake George (1755), Oswego River (1756), Ticonderoga (1758) and Fort Frontenac (1758). From 1768 to 1775 he represented Albany in the New York Assembly, and he was closely associated with the Livingston family in the leadership of the Presbyterian or Whig party. He was a delegate to the second Continental Congress in May 1775, and on the 19th of June was chosen one of the four major-generals in the Continental service. Placed in command of the northern department of New York, he established headquarters at Albany, and made preparations for an invasion of Canada. Soon after the expedition started he was prostrated by rheumatic gout, and the actual command devolved upon General Richard Montgomery. Schuyler returned to Ticonderoga and later to Albany, where he spent the winter of 1775-1776 in collecting and forwarding supplies to Canada and in suppressing the Loyalists and their Indian allies in the Mohawk Valley. On the death of Montgomery and the failure to take Quebec the army retreated to Crown Point, and its commander, General John Sullivan, was superseded by General Horatio Gates. Gates claimed precedence over Schuyler and, on failing to secure recognition, intrigued to bring about Schuyler's dismissal. The controversy was taken into Congress. The necessary withdrawal of the army from Crown Point in 1776 and the evacuation of Ticonderoga in 1777 were magnified by Schuyler's enemies into a retrograde movement, and, on the 19th of August 1777, he was superseded. A court martial appointed in 1778 acquitted him on every charge. He resigned from the army in April 1779. He was a delegate from New York to the Continental Congress in 1779-1781, and state senator in 1781-1784, 1786-1790 and 1792-1797. In 1788 he joined his son-in-law Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and others in leading the movement for the ratification by New York of the Federal constitution. He served in the United States Senate as a Federalist from 1790 to 1791 and was again elected in 1797, but resigned in January 1798 on account of ill-health. He was also active for many years as Indian commissioner and surveyor-general and helped to settle the New York boundary disputes with Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. He prepared plans for the construction of a canal between the Hudson river and Lake Champlain before 1776, and, in 1792-1796, carried to a successful conclusion a more pretentious scheme for connecting the Hudson with Lake Ontario by way of the Mohawk, Oneida Lake and the Onondaga river. He died in Albany on the 18th of November 1804.
See Bayard Tuckerman, Life of General Philip Schuyler (New York, 1903).
Other prominent members of the family were: Montgomery Schuyler (1814-1896) and his cousin Anthony (1816-1896), Protestant' Episcopal clergymen; George Washington (1810-1888), treasurer of New York State in 1863-1865 and of Cornell University in 1868-1874 and author of Colonial New York: Philip Schuyler and his Family (2 Vols., 1885); his son Eugene (1840-1890), who was long in the consular and diplomatic service of the United States, and who translated some of the novels of Tourgeniev and Tolstoi and wrote Peter the Great (1884) and American Diplomacy and the Furtherance of Commerce (1886); and Montgomery (b. 1843), a son of Anthony, and a journalist and writer on architecture.