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Hyde, Edward (1661–1723)

EDWARD HYDE (Lord Cornbury), a cousin to Queen Anne of England, was widely considered to be the black sheep of the royal family. Nevertheless, his prominent connections enabled him to be appointed governor of the New York colony, and he held that position from 1702 to 1708. Governor Hyde quickly confirmed his scurrilous reputation. Indeed, he probably did more than any other royal governor to bring British administration in America into disrepute.

In the simplest of terms, Hyde was a drunkard and an unabashed transvestite, with a penchant for addressing the New York Assembly while wearing his wife's clothes. He was also a crook, as thoroughly dishonest in his public role as he was outlandish in his private live. He illegally allotted huge land grants, ranging ...

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