Daniel Coxe IV, eldest son of Dr Daniel Coxe and Rebecca Coldham, was christened in St Botolph's Church in Aldgate, London on 31 August 1673. Although nothing is known of his education, from his later career it must be assumed that he received some training as a lawyer. Apart from his grandparents' wills, the next we hear of him is Dr Coxe's transfer of the remainder of his West Jersey property to his son in July 1701. The younger Daniel immediately involved himself in New Jersey affairs, supporting the continuation of Colonel Andrew Hamilton as Governor, and then, in December of the same year, changing his mind and contributing to a list of objections against Hamilton.
Queen Anne sent her cousin Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury, to New Jersey as Hamilton's replacement, and Daniel Coxe probably travelled as part of his entourage, arriving in the first months of 1702. Cornbury appointed him commander of the Queen's military forces in West Jersey, giving him the rank of Colonel ; from which point onwards he was known universally as Colonel Coxe. The private purpose of his trip to America was to organise the sale or lease of the properties assigned him by his father, which made him on his arrival the largest resident shareholder in West Jersey, and of all shareholders second only to William Penn. He moved first into Coxe Hall at Cape May, his father's old administrative headquarters.
In August 1703 Daniel Finch, Earl of Nottingham - a distant connection by marriage through the Dethick and Banks families - recommended Colonel Coxe as a member of the Council for New Jersey, the upper house of the colony's two administrative tiers under the Governor. The Board of Trade stated in response that they were unaware that the younger Daniel Coxe held property in the Jerseys, which was a requirement for Council membership, and that there was no place for him. Finch's recommendation touched off a minor storm of protest from the Jersey proprietors - notably the West Jersey Society - with the result that Colonel Coxe returned to London to answer for himself to the Board of Trade, as well as to deliver papers to them from Lord Cornbury.
The proprietors claimed that Coxe had already begun stirring up trouble in the Jerseys by asserting that land ownership should not be a qualification for Council membership. The lands he claimed to have received from Dr Coxe had in fact been sold to the West Jersey Society, and his recommendation for Council membership had been improper ; the insinuation being that Colonel Coxe himself had been behind Finch's proposal. With the proprietors threatening legal action against both the doctor and the colonel, the latter appeared before the Board of Trade in February 1703/4, answering the charges in a tone "far more dignified than the criticisms lodged against him".1 He stated that the Earl of Nottingham's recommendation had been unsolicited and made without his knowledge ; that he still owned large amounts of property in the Jerseys, conveyed to him by his father, and not part of the sale to the West Jersey Society.
Colonel Coxe had also been delegated by Cornbury to protest to the Board of Trade about Quaker influence in West Jersey. He claimed that due to their pacifist principles Quaker members of the Council failed to support the militia or measures to finance it ; that Quakers refused to pay tithes and intimidated Anglicans. The Board ignored his complaints. For the rest of his life Coxe continued the campaign instigated by Lord Cornbury, taking every opportunity to attack Quakers, on one occasion stating their intent to be to "destroy our religion, lives, liberties, reputations and estates".
While Colonel Coxe was still in England, Cornbury again recommended him for Council membership, despite the earlier controversy, and on 29 November 1705 the appointment was endorsed by Queen Anne. Coxe returned to New Jersey and took his seat in the summer of 1706. This was the heyday of the "Cornbury Ring", the inner circle of the Governor's notoriously corrupt administration, which augmented the harassment of Quakers by appropriating their land by various none-too-scrupulous means. Daniel Coxe was a prominent member and energetic participant in their activities. The presiding villain, Lord Cornbury, had his picturesque side ; he was an unabashed cross-dresser, whose portrait, in "ball-gown and five o'clock shadow"2, is now hanging in the New York Historical Society.
On 8 May 1707 Colonel Daniel Coxe married Sarah Eckley, the orphaned daughter of a former Judge of the Supreme Court of Philadelphia, John Eckley, and his second wife Sarah. John Eckley came from Kimbolton in Herefordshire, near the border between England and Wales, and he and his wife were both Quakers. He had been a successful merchant in Philadelphia before being appointed a judge in 1684, and a member of the Pennsylvania Provincial Council from 1688 until his death in December 1689, around the time that Sarah was born. He had a son, also John Eckley, by a former marriage. His wife Sarah (whose maiden name was probably Prichard), had also been married previously, to a Mr Burge, by whom she had a son, William, and a daughter, Mary. Sarah died in 1698, when her daughter Sarah was nine years old, and in her will she placed her youngest child under the guardianship of her Quaker friends John and Hannah Delavall of Philadelphia. She left separate legacies to the Men's and Women's Meetings of Friends in Philadelphia, and her property - in Pembrokeshire and Pennsylvania - was divided equally between her three children, all of whom were then living in Pennsylvania.
There are conflicting accounts of Daniel and Sarah Coxe's wedding, but the gist of the story seems to be that the couple called at the house of Lord Cornbury's chaplain, the Reverend John Sharp, around midnight on 7 May, woke him up and asked him to marry them, for which he "received the magnificent stipend of five guineas"3. They were married according to the rites of the Church of England. After the wedding, the couple appear to have attended a further ceremony - perhaps to obtain the blessing of some of Sarah's friends, although it is difficult to imagine how Colonel Coxe, the arch-Quaker-baiter, would have behaved or been received at such a gathering. The report of this occasion is from a Quaker hand, that of Margaret Preston, a friend of the bride ; but she was not present. It supposedly took place on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River at three o'clock in the morning, "under a tree by firelight". Margaret wrote that the news of the marriage was "both sorrowful and surprising", and described Daniel as "a fine, flaunting gentleman, said to be worth a great deal of money" - for which, rather venomously, she implied Sarah was marrying him.
John Sharp later christened the "pretty" bride, and for the rest of her life she attended Church of England services. She could hardly have done otherwise. The couple settled on the Green Bank in Burlington, where their first child, John, was born in 1708.
Rumours of Cornbury's corrupt government of the province were reaching England, and that year Daniel Coxe was called upon to defend his friend and supporter. He blamed irregularities on the Scotch-Quaker-dominated Assembly, but to no avail. Cornbury was removed, and replaced in rapid succession by Governors Lovelace and Ingoldsby. Colonel Coxe, despite continued rumblings about his membership of the Council, was appointed an associate justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, a position he held until 1713.
In June 1710 - the year the Coxes's second son Daniel was born, in Burlington - Robert Hunter became Governor and immediately set out about defending the Quakers against the attacks and land seizures of Coxe and his associates. The colonel was still in dispute with the London proprietors - essentially the West Jersey Society - over the title to his father's former properties, and now there developed a running battle between Coxe and the new Governor. Hunter wrote to London that there would be no peace and quiet in New Jersey until Coxe and his friends were removed from office, to which Coxe retorted that he was being victimised because he was an Anglican. Queen Anne dismissed Coxe from the Council on 15 April 1713. He and Sarah returned to England, and together with the aging Dr Coxe and the colonel's brother Samuel campaigned unsuccessfully to prevent Hunter's reappointment as Governor. Back in New Jersey in 1714, Daniel wooed the Swedish voters and managed to get elected to the Assembly, the lower house of New Jersey's government. After Queen Anne's death in August 1714, however, and with the Whig party in the political ascendancy, Tories like Coxe were at a disadvantage.
He was as antagonistic to Roman Catholics as to Quakers. In 1715 he encouraged the residents of West Jersey not to pay their taxes because the assessor was a Catholic, and in 1716 himself refused to pay taxes ; his goods were seized and sold at public auction. His feud with Governor Hunter continued : in the spring of 1715 he generated rumours that Hunter would be replaced as Governor, as a result of which Coxe's party gained a majority in the Assembly. Hunter accused him of broadcasting false information and using "the rum bottle"4 to win votes, and dissolved the Assembly, but Coxe was elected again and chosen Speaker on 4 April 1716. The Governor's response was to prorogue the Assembly until 7 May, but Coxe and his faction refused to attend, and Hunter only achieved a quorum on 21 May, when once again he expelled the leading troublemaker. Again, Coxe was reelected, and again expelled by Hunter. Both Council and Assembly charged Colonel Coxe with disturbing the peace and forming a combination against the government. He fled with his family across the river to Pennsylvania, and from there to England, where his daughter Rebecca was born on 9 November 1716.
For two years he continued to attack Hunter, enlisting his father's support in complaining to the Board of Trade. The campaign was so furious that it even sparked rumours that the Coxes were encouraging the Governor's assassination. But Hunter had the Board's confidence - or more of it than Coxe did - and in 1718 they wrote to him to say that his troubles with Coxe were over. In 1719 his father's appearances before the board to give evidence about the Carolana patent raised both men's hopes that the settlement project might be resurrected, which led eventually to the publication of Colonel Coxe's "A Description of the English Province of Carolana, by the Spaniards call'd Florida, and by the French La Louisiane". This was a far more ambitious attempt to promote interest in the Carolana project than any of Dr Coxe's earlier West Jersey efforts, and was compiled almost entirely by Daniel junior from his father's collection of American travel journals and maps : it was indeed "a literary salvage of Dr. Coxe's memorials".5 It was published in London in 1722, "printed for B. Cowse at the Rose and Crown in St. Paul's Churchyard", and further editions were printed in 1727 and 1741, by which date its promotional intent had been overtaken by interest in the work's descriptive content. Daniel, still hoping in 1722 to attract settlers to Dr Coxe's "New Empire", stated his aims as being to provide a description of the lands covered by the patent and to defend the British claim to Carolana ; to describe the Indian nations, the native fauna and flora, and the province's attractions for settlers in terms of industry, agriculture and trade. The sources from which he drew his chapters were secondary : letters from Indian traders, the reports of expeditions (some sponsored by Dr Coxe), and other published descriptions and maps of America. In reply to doubts expressed as to the accuracy of some of those reports, the younger Daniel claimed his account was more accurate than anything so far published by the French.
The book begins with a long preface, followed by six chapters of description. To these Daniel appended copies of Charles I's original charter to Sir Robert Heath and the 1699 decision on Dr Coxe's title to Carolana by the Attorney General, followed by an abstract of the doctor's memorandum to William III, "A demonstration of the just pretensions ... ". The preface included what has been credited as the first plan of American union to appear in print, and it is worth quoting Daniel Coxe's words. He points out the threat from French incursions southwards from Canada, stating that the frontiers of the British colonies are "large, naked and open", and that there is little cooperation between those colonies when it comes to defending them ;