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Full text of "The Livingston Manor : address written for the New York Branch of the Order of Colonial Lords of Manors in Americas"

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LIVINGSTON MANOR 



THE LIVINGSTON MANOR 

ADDRESS WRITTEN FUR THE Nl<;\\ YORK BRANCH 

OF 

THE ORDER OF COLONIAL LORDS OF 
MANORS IN AMERICA 

7. .1, 



JOHN HENRY LIVINGSTON 

President, Nciv York Branch 



Monograph 



F'iZJ 




ROBERT LIVINGSTON, IST LORD OF THE MANOR, BORN 1654, DIED 1728 

Original portrait in the possession of Herman Livingston, Esq., of Oak Hill, Columbia 
County, N. Y. 

Published by permission of the Author of "The Livingstons of Livingston Manor." 



THE LORDSHIP AND MANOR OF LIVINGSTON 

Before beginning my address let me explain that I have done 
everything possible to obtain access to old papers, letters, 
etc., owned by members of the family, which might throw new 
light upon the Livingston Manor, but in the majority of cases 
such papers were not available. Hence I am compelled to 
fall back almost entirely upon material already well known, 
and shall merely sketch to you a concise account of the creation 
and duration of the Manor of Livingston, introducing such 
items of interest as I could obtain to enlighten us somewhat 
as to the lives of the owners of one of those vast estates, which 
were decreed by Royal authority to be "Lordships and Manors." 

It is well known that the men of greatest influence in the 
early days of our Colonial history were from the aristocratic 
class, numbered among which were the Livingstons. Their 
names constantly occurred in the early historical records of 
Scotland. 

Their first ancestor, as far as has yet been traced was a Saxon 
Thane or Noble, named Leving or Living, who seemed to have 
settled in Scotland in the latter part of the nth or the early 
part of the 12th century, as is shown by his donation of the 
Church of his "Villa" or "Manor" to the Abbey of Holyrood 
founded in 11 28. 

From 1 165-12 14 we find his grandsons, Alexander, William 
and Henry, all witnesses to further charters. 

Were we able to trace beyond Leving's time, we should 
probably find that his ancestor was named "Liv" or "Lif " 
for the termination " ing " means " family of " and when, in 
about a century after Leving's time, surnames came into use, 
his descendants naturally adopted that of "de Livingstoun " 
which would mean the Estate of the family of "Liv" or "Lif." 

Passing over a century or two we find that Sir William 
Livingston married the heiress of the House of Callcndar 
about 1345, whence the Callendar Arms entered into tJic 
Livingston shield and now form its 2nd and 3rd quarterings. 
'■ From this time onwards the Livingstons are continually 
appearing in Scottish history as ln)lders of office of respon- 



sibilitv including; the liisli office of Custodian of the Royal Palace 
of Linlithgow, where was ])orn Mary Queen of Scots. Among 
her Maids of Honour was not only Mary Livingston (one of 
the "Four Maries"), but also her younger sister Magdaleine. 
They were the daughters of William sixth Lord Livingston of 
Callendar, ist cousin of the Rev. Alexander Livingston, great 
grand father of Robert first Lord of the Manor of Livingston. 

It was in 1458 that the Estates of Sir James Livingston, the 
then representative of the family, were formed into the free 
Barony of Callendar and shortly thereafter he was created a 
"Lord of Parliament." 

In 1600 Alexander, seventh Lord Livingston of Callendar was 
created Earl of Linlithgow by King James VI. 

In regard to the Arms of the Livingstons of Callendar, 
which are those borne by the Livingstons of America, we find 
the rather unusual charge of a "double tressure" in the Liv- 
ingston cjuarterings, indicative either of royal descent or of 
some distinguished service. It is as yet unknown when this 
was granted, or for which reason, therefore we of the present 
day have the alternative of believing ourselves descended 
either from some one of the Kings of Scotland or from some 
very valourous ancestor, according as our tastes incline. 

About 1500 William, fourth Lord Livingston of Callendar mar- 
ried Agnes Hepburn of that family which alas! was to become 
too celebrated in later vears by its representative James, Earl 
of Bothwell. 

They had three sons, Alexander, fifth Lord Livingston, James 
who was killed at Pinkie Field in 1547 and William. 

James was the great great grandfather of Robert first Lord 
of the Manor of Livingston. (See "Select Biographies," Vol. 
I, pp. 127, etc.) 

This Robert, the 14th child and 8th son of the Rev. John 
and Janet (Fleming) Livingston, in 167,^ after the death of 
his father set out to make his fortune in the New World. He 
landed at Charlestown, near Boston, l)ut very soon decided 
not to remain there, for in 1674 he came over to New York 
and proceeded up the Hudson to All)any. There he soon ob- 
tained many public appointments including the Secretaryship 
of Indian Affairs. On the 9th of July, 1679, in the Presby- 
terian Church at Albany he was married to Alida, daughter 
of Philip Peterse and Margareta (Van Schlectenhorst) Schuyler. 
The latter was the only daughter of Brandt Van Schlectenhorst 
the celebrated Director of Rensselaerwvck. Thus Robert Liv- 







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FACSIMILE (reduced SIZe) OF GOVERNOR DONGAn's CHARTER OF THE MANOR OF LIVINGSTON, JULY 22XD, 168?^ 

Original in the possession 0} Ccraldyn Redmond, Esq., of Callendar Bouse, Dutchess County, iV Y. 

Published by permission of the Author of "The Livingstons of Livingston Manor." 



I 



ingston became united wilh one of the lar.c;cs1 and most power- 
ful land holdiuj^f families of the C"oloii>-. Tlie estates of the 
Schuyler family like those of the Van Rensselaers were meas- 
ured' by square miles rather than by acres. It has been 
authoritatively stated to me by one of his descendants that 
the head of the Schuyler family refused kni^dithood and de- 
clined to accept a grant of ''Lordship and Manor" for his vast 
estate. " 

Robert soon saw that the power of the Colony lay with the great 
land owners and on July 22nd, 1686, he obtained from Gov- 
ernor Dongan a Manor 'grant of the lands lying for 10 miles 
on the east bank of the Hudson River, about ,:;o miles south of 
Albany and extending to the New England boundary line, 
a total of al)out 160,000 acres. On this estate in i6oq he 
built his Manor house, the site of which was on the Hudson 
River near to what is now the railway station of Linlithgow. 
It remained standing for over a century, but about 1800 it 
was taken down by the great great grandson of the founder. 

While credulous natives will still point out various old 
Livingston houses as "Manor Houses" and one may even 
see such designations on picture postal cards sold in the vicinity, 
this information is absolutely erroneous and without any au- 
thority whatsoever. The Livingston Manor House is not now, 
nor has been in existence, for over 100 years. 

Owing to the uncertainty of the original boundaries of the 
Manor and the difficulty in identifying the Indian landmarks, 
Robert in 17 13 petitioned the Government for a new patent. 
This was granted and on October 12th, 171 5, a confirmatory 
Manor grant was executed by Governor Hunter, whereby the 
Manor of Livingston was given a representative in the General 
Assembly, an honour which had been conferred in 1685 upon 
the Manor of Rensselaerwyck and in 1697 upon the Manor 
of Cortlandl. From 1716 until his retirement from active 
life in 1725, Robert represented his Manor in the General 
Assembly and for seven years was its Speaker. 

When Col. Robert Hunter resigned his ofiice as Governor of 
the Colony of New York, his successor, William Burnet, son 
of the celebrated Bishop Burnet, found in Robert Livingston 
"a capable and willing adviser." Owing however to his ad- 
vancing age, the latter was compelled to discontinue the 
numerous duties attached to his various offices and he thereupon 
l)laced his resignation as Secretary of Indian Affairs, etc., etc., 
in the hands of Governor Burnet with the request that the 



ofifices held by him should be given to his eldest surviving son 
Philip, who had been his deputy for many years. This wish 
on the part of the first Lord of the Manor was warmly approved 
by Governor Burnet, who wrote to the Lords of Trade urging 
that this request be granted. This the Lords of Trade fully 
endorsed and laid stress upon the fact the father had been 
"very serviceable since the year 1675 in all transactions and 
treaties with the Five Nations of Indians at New York." 
The King duly granted the request and Philip was appointed 
his father's successor in office. 

On October ist, 1728, Robert first Lord of the Manor of 
Livingston died bequeathing the bulk of his estate, including 
the Manor House to his son Philip. The southwesterly por- 
tion of the Manor however he left to his son Robert, of whom 
a brief account will I^e given later. 

Before concluding this abbreviated account of the eventful 
career of the first Lord of the Livingston Manor, his great 
interest in the Colony of New York should be noted. This 
is shown by his long letter to the Lords of Trade, dated at 
New York, May 13th, 1701, in which he recommends the 
appointment of a soldier as Governor and the repairing and 
preservation of the forts about New York and Albany, as well 
as the storing of supplies, &c., in short, general "preparedness" 
in which the British Go^•ernment seemed to have been very 
lacking. 

Also by his letter to the Lords of Trade dated at Whitehall, 
December i8th, 1703, he seemed to have been solicitous for 
the spiritual welfare of the Indians. In this letter he asked 
that missionaries be sent out to him by "the Right Hon'"'"' the 
"Society for propagating the Gospell in foreign parts." This 
request was granted in part. Two missionaries were sent out, 
but John Chaml^erlayn, Secretary to the "Society for the 
"Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts" in his letter 
dated at Westminster "i Feb"" 170!" writes that "Mr. 
"Livingston, Secretary of the Indian aiTaires of the above 
"mentioned Govern* (New York) acquaints us that four more 
"missionaries are still wanting, that is to say three more for 
"the Five Nations and one for the River Indians." In this 
same letter Chamberlayn states "that the Society (not without 
"a great deal of pains and time spent to that purpose) have 
"found out two Reverend Divines, Mr. Smith and Mr. Moor 
"whom they think well qualified for that Errand." One of 
these, the Rev"" Thorogood Moor, an Englishman, was pre- 

12 




PHILIP LIVINGSTON, InU LORD OF THE MANOR, BORN 1686, DIED 1749 

Original portrait in the pus^ession of Crawford Livingston, Esq., of St. Paul, Minn. 
Published by permission of the Author of "The Livingstons of Livingston Manor." 



vented "by a great fall of snow" and later by opposition on 
the part of the fur traders from doing any missionary' work 
among the Indians. Subsequently he was invited to lake 
charge of a church at Hopewell, New Jersey, but having 
offended Lieut. Governor Ingoldsby of that Colony he was 
cast into jail. From this he escaped and attempted to return 
to England. He was lost at sea together with the ship in 
which he sailed. (See "Documents relative to the Colonial 
History of the State of New York," Vol. IV, pp. 870-879, and 
pp. 1077-78.) 

Upon retirement from public life by the first Lord of the 
Manor, as mentioned above, Philip his eldest surviving son 
succeeded him in his various offices and soon became one of 
the well known and distinguished men of the Colony, much 
appreciated by Governor Burnet. At his father's death (his 
elder brother Col. John Livingston having died before his 
father, without issue) Philip ])ecame the second Lord of the 
Manor of Livingston and continued to take a prominent part 
in the political affairs of the Colony. 

In her "History of the City of New York," Vol. I, p. 319, 
Mrs. Martha J. Lamb gives a description of the second Lord 
of the Manor. "He was unlike his father in many respects, — ■ 
"was less subtile, less persevering, less of financier and a much 
"handsomer man. In his youthful days he was dashing and 
"gav; he had a winning way with women, and went about 
"breaking hearts promiscuously." This "dashing and gay" 
period of his life must have been of short duration, for very 
soon after becoming of age, on the 19th of September, 1707, 
he married Catharine, the only daughter of Peter and Sarah 
(Cuyler) Van Brugh. Peter Van Brugh was for many years 
Mayor of Albany and a member of the Assembly. He was 
"a near relation of Sir John Van Brugh, and of Capts. Charles 
"and Philip Van Brugh, commanders of men of war in the 
"EngHsh Navy." (See Holgate's "American Genealogy," 
p. 163.) Mrs. Lamb also states that Philip supported three 
princely establishments, one in New York, one in Albany and 
his Manor House, and that he lived in a style of courtly mag- 
nificence. (See Vol. I, p. 598, of her "History of the City of 
New York.") 

As the first Lord of the Manor was much interested in the 
religious welfare of the Indians, so was the second exidcntly 
likewise interested in regard to the tenants of his Manor, for 
his great grandson has related that he was continually building 

15 




PHILIP LIVINGSTON, SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, 

BORN 1716, DIED 1778 

Orignud portrait in the possession of John Henry Livingston, Esq., of Clermont. 




CHRISTIXA TEX BROKCK, WII'E Ol" PlUI.Il' MXIXCSTOX, THE SIC'.XEK 
BORN 171cS, DIED l.SOl 
Original portrait in the possession oj John llcnry Livingston, Esq., of Clermont. 



churches in his Manor, all of which he painted red. It was 
probaljly due to his example that a very old Dutch Reformed 
Church in Dutchess County, very near to the Manor line was 
painted red, and its successor, now standing, but become a 
"Monument Historique," is still known as "The Red Church." 

Philip continued to retain his seat in the Council Foard and 
to take a leading part in public affairs until his death on the 
4th of February, 1748 '9. 

He was survived by nine of his eleven children, of whom the 
best known were Robert the eldest, who succeeded his father 
as third Lord of the Manor, Peter Van Brugh, the second, a 
distinguished member of the Committee of "One Hundred" 
and of the Provincial Congress, of which he was the first Presi- 
dent, Philip the fifth, a member also of the Committee of 
"One Hundred" and of the first and second Continental Con- 
gress, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, &c., &c., 
and William the eighth, who became the celebrated War 
Governor of New Jersey. It was William's daughter, the 
beautiful Sarah Van Brugh, who married Chief Justice Jay. 
It is related that, when in Paris she and her husband entered 
the Royal box at the Opera, the whole house rose, supposing 
that she was the Queen Marie Antoinnette, so great was the 
resemblance. Philip's funeral was conducted with great 
pomp. Sedgwick, in his "Life of William Livingston," page 
164, in speaking of Philip states as follows: "He died as has 
"been said in New York, but his obsequies (for so they may be 
"called) were performed both at that place and at his residence 
"in the Manor of Livingston. In the City the lower rooms of 
"most of the houses on Broad street, where he resided, were 
" thrown open to receive the assemblage. A pipe of wine was 
"spiced for the occasion and to each of the eight bearers, 
"with a pair of gloves, mourning scarf and handkerchief, a 
"monkey spoon was given. At the Manor the whole cercmon}- 
"was repeated, another pipe of wine w^as s])iced and besides 
"the same presents to the bearers, a pair of I)lack gloves and 
"handkerchief were given to each of the tenants." In a note 
in regard to the "Monkey Spoon" Sedgwick adds "It would 
"be desirable to know the origin of this custom now entirely 
"obsolete. This spoon differed from the common spoon in 
"having a circular and very shallow bowl, and took its name 
"from the figure of an ape or monkey, which was carved 
"/// .solido at the extremitv of the handle." 



18 




WILLIAM LIVINGSTON, GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY, BORN 1723, DIED 1790 

Original porlrail in the possession oj Miss Catharine McVicker of Bujalo, N. Y. 

Published by permission of the Author of "The Livingstons of Livingston Manor." 



Robert llie lliird Lord of tlu' Manor of Lixinj^slon, was born 
December lOtli, 170S, and married May joth, 17,^1, Mary 
daughter of Walter and Sara (\'an Dam) Tong. Her name is 
also written Maria Thong, evidently the Dutch way of writing 
it. Her father Walter, according to one of the family charts, 
was the grandson of Sir Nicholas Tong of Tong Caslle, 'I'unslall, 
Kent, England. 

In 1737 Robert took his seat in the General Assembly as 
representative of the Manor of Livingston, succeeding his 
uncle Gilbert and retaining it for 21 years through se\-en 
General Assemblies, when he "retired in favour of his talented 
"younger brother William, then recognised as the leader of 
"the Presbyterian or opposition party in the province, of which 
"the Livingstons had become the champions, and which at 
"this period had l)ecome so identified with this family that 
"it was generally known as 'the Livingston party;' w^hile the 
"Episcopalian, the party in power, took the name of 'the 
"De Lancey party ' from their leader, the lieutenant-governor — 
the Honourable James De Lancey." (See "The Livingstons 
"of Livingston Manor," p. 162.) 

Though represented as of a very quiet peaceable disjiosition 
the third Lord of the Manor seemed quite capable of taking 
care of the interests of his Manor which was much troul)led 
by scjuatters from Massachusetts. 

In a letter dated January i6th, 1755, he writes to the Governor 
of Massachusetts complaining of the attempts of a man named 
Ingersol and his adherents "wdio are endeavouring with my 
"wicked tenants to get my lands claimed by your Government, 
"&c., then to get grants of it from them, that they may have 
"Estates at my expense defended by your Government, and 
"thus embroil our two Governments in a land quarrel, it seems 
"some folks delight to fish in troubled waters they can not 
"live at rest and therefore will not that any others should, 
"unhappy mortals, but I trust Providence will not suffer them 
"to depart this life unpunished 

"Coll" Hofman told me some time ago that Ingersol offered 
"him £1000 if he would join him in petitioning your Province 
"for Lands lying in this, this restless monster cannot nay will 
"not be easy, till he be severely punished in an exem])lary 
"manner which (I) hope may soon happen to deter others 
"from the like carryings on that have a tendency of inbroiling 
"two neighbouring Governments who want each others assist- 
"ance, for should he succeed in his devilish sclieme must not 

21 



"the consequence be very great disturbance and perhaps 
"bloodshed for I am firmly resolved never to give up a foot of 
"my just possessions acquired by my ancestors at their very 
"great expense nor suffer any body to settle within my manor 
"bounds but under me without sending them to Goal and deal- 
"ing with them according to law." (Extract from a letter 
belonging to Miss Laura Livingston McKinstry of San 
Francisco.) 

His fears of disturbance and bloodshed in connection with 
the settling of the boundaries of New York and Massachusetts 
were well founded. By letter dated February 23rd, 1756, 
Gov. Sir Charles Hardy writes to the Lords of Trade "With 
"regard to the dispute between this and the Massachusetts 
"Government it is and may be, attended with Great evils, 
"the Inhabitants of that Province indiscriminately dispossess 
"the Tenants of the Proprietors of the Manors of Livingston 
"and Ransaleer, and have violently and by Force seized and 
"committed all who opposed them in their outrages." 

On December 22nd, 1756, the Governor again writes to the 
Lords of Trade as follows, "After the many conferences and 
'letters that have passed between me and Gov"' Shirly on 
'this subject and the assurances he gave me, I had con- 
'ceived hopes, that care should be taken on the side of the 
'Massachusetts Government to prevent their People commit- 
'ting any further outrages and violences upon the Lands and 
'Tennants of Mr. Robert Livingston and Mr. John Van 
'Ransaleer, Proprietors of those two Mannors within this 
'Province and which estates has been handed down to them 
'by their ancestors from old Times." 

Furthermore on July 30th, 1757, Lieutenant-Governor De 
Lancey wrote to the Lords of Trade as follows, "It is a melan- 
'choly consideration as your Lordships observe that in such 
'times as these, the Dis])ute between this Province and Massa- 
'chusetts Bay should have been the occasion of Riot and 
'Bloodshed: I hope your Lordships taking it into considera- 
'tion, will find a speedy remedy, which is so greatly wanted 
'for it gives me great concern to be obliged to acquaint your 
'Lordships that blood has been again shed in this unhappy 
'dispute on the 7th of May last, wherein James Burton on 
'the part of Massachusetts Bay and Casper Ham on the part 
'of Mr. Livingston lost their lives." (See "Documents 
'relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York," 
Vol. VII, pp. 38, 206 and 273.) 

22 




ROBERT LIVIXC.STON, .M^U I.l.'Kl) OF TUK MAXOR, liOKX 170S, DIKI) 1790 
Original portrait in the possession of R. M. C. Livingston. Esq., of Nice, France., 



As early as 1753 the life of the Lord of the Manor was 
endangered. In fact he then escaped only through the timely 
warning from his neighbour H. Van Rensselaer of Claverack, 
who begged him to be on his guard "as he had been credibly 
"informed that the New England people intended to carry 
"him off either 'dead or alive.'" Again three years later 
the threats of murder and arson were so serious that the New 
York government sent a military force to guard the Manor 
and the iron mines. (See "The Livingstons of Livingston 
"Manor," p. 316.) 

The third Lord of the Manor personally held no position 
under the Government of the revolting Colonies, but he 
showed his loyalty to it by placing at the disposal of the 
Committee of Safety his iron mines and foundry. Also he 
was well represented by his sons. Peter R. in addition to being 
a member of the Provincial Congress and of the Assembly, 
was Colonel of the Manor Regiment during the Revolutionary 
War. Walter, also a member of the Provincial Congress and 
Speaker of the Assembly, was Deputy Commissary General 
of the Northern Department, John was Aid-de-Camp to Gov- 
ernor Clinton, and Henry the youngest was Lieutenant-Colonel 
of and Commander of the Manor Regiment at the battle of 
Saratoga. His eldest son Philip seems to have been a popular, 
attractive man. He died many years before his father on the 
3rd of April, 1756, in his 23rd year. 

The third Lord of the Manor lived through the Revolution, 
which broke the entail of the Manor Estate. He died Novem- 
ber 27th, 1790. A letter (in the collection of the late Mrs. Wil- 
mot Townsend Cox,) written by the Hon. James Duane, a son- 
in-law, to Major Valentine Gardiner, another son-in-law, gives 
the summary of his Will, by which he bequeathed that part 
of the Manor "which lies on the West side of the great highway 
"leading to Albany" to his son Peter R. for his life with 
remainder to his children and all "on the East side" to his four 
younger sons, Walter, Robert Cambridge, John and Henry, 
who inherited also his houses in New York. To his daughters 
he gave property in Saratoga. 

Of these five sons, four, Peter R., Walter, John and Henry 
built residences upon the Manor. All however, except John's 
have passed out of the family. John Livingston's residence, 
Oak Hill, built in 1795, has descended to and is now owned by 
his great grandson Herman. Here may be seen the original 
portraits of the tirst Lord and Lady of the Manor together 

24 



with very many pieces of old family furniture and family 
relics. 

With the death of the third Lord ends the manorial life of 
this portion of the Manor. 

We must now turn back to the first Lord, who bequeathed 
to his second surviving son Robert all the Manor lands on the 
Hudson River south of the Roeliff Jansens Kill. 

Of him, Mrs. Julia Delafield, in her "Biograi)hy of Francis 
"and Morgan Lewis," Vol. I, p. 122, after mentioning that 
his father had sent him to Scotland to be educated, states as 
follows, "The first summer that young Robert passed with 
"his father at the Manor, his attention was attracted one 
"afternoon by what seemed to him an unusual number of 
"Indians skulking around and keeping within the shadow of 
"the woods. That night, after he was in bed, he heard a 
"noise in the chimney. He lay quite still and watched; pres- 
"ently a pair of legs descended upon the hearth, Robert sprang 
"from his bed, seized the fellow before he could extricate 
"himself, exclaiming at the same time; 'Villain confess!' 
"The man, utterly confounded, confessed that he was one of a 
"gang who had fixed upon that night to rob and murder the 
" whites. His father was so pleased with his intrepidity that he 
"gave him the lower end of the Manor — ^a tract consisting of 
"about thirteen thousand acres." 

Upon his father's death in 1728, Robert took possession of 
this estate and built about 1730 on a cliff close to the Hudson 
a large brick and stone mansion, which he called Clermont. 
Set on fire by the British in 1777, all but the north and south 
walls, was destroyed, but it was rebuilt on the exact plan of 
the original house in 1778. 

After the destruction of the Manor House, Clermont became 
the oldest Livingston residence on the Manor and still stands 
today an interesting example of Colonial architecture, with 
hall and staircase very similar to those at Mt. Vernon and with 
much of the beautiful woodwork for which that period is noted. 

Roljert of Clermont (as he was called to distinguish him 
from his nci)hew the third Lord) represented the Manor in 
the i8th and 19th General Assemblies, retiring in favour of 
his younger brother Gilbert. Otherwise he seems to have 
taken no active part in the politics of the Colonies, but was a 
most strenuous advocate of their independence, as is evidenced 
by the conversation related by Mrs. Delafield in the above 
named biogra})hes, Vol. I, p. 134. 

25 




1 <1 



''In the autumn of 177,^, as the e\cning was closing in. the 
"old man with his son, Judge Robert Livingston, his grandson 
"Robert, and Montgomer\-, the husband of Janet, his eldest 
"granddaughter, were sitting round the fire, talking of public 
"affairs, when he made the prediction which has often been 
"quoted, but seldom quite correctly: 'This co'untry,' he said, 
" 'will be independent, but I shall not live to see it, neither 
"will you Robert' — this was addressed to his son, the Judge. 
"Then turning to his grandson Robert (afterwards the Chan- 
"cellor), he added, 'You, Robert, will and Montgomery may!' 
"When he heard that hostilities had commenced, he told the 
"Judge that he wished to go to Boston. The Judge answered, 
" 'Father, what could you do there?' He replied, 'If I stopped 
"a bullet, I might save a better man!' " .... "An 
"exaggerated report of our losses on Breed's Hill gave him a 
"shock that obliged him to take to his bed, from which he 

"never rose "His last consecutive words were 

"addressed to his daughter-in-law, 'Peggy what news from 
"Boston.' " He died June 27th, 1775. His son followed 
him in December and Montgomery was killed at Quebec 
December 31st, 1775, while his grandson lived to see the Col- 
onies a free, independent and well established nation, thus 
fultilling his prophetic words quoted above. 

It is interesting to note that patriotism was at this time be- 
coming prevalent in the Upper Hudson, for about six months 
after Robert of Clermont uttered his prophetic words, Lieut. - 
Governor Cadwalader Colden wrote to the Earl of Dartmouth, 
"The Act to regulate elections for Representatives in general 
"Assembly for the City and County of Albany is thought 
"necessary to prevent the exorbitant Influence which the very 
"large Mannors in that County give to the Proprietors or Lords 
"of the Mannors as they are called: There are two Mannors 
"and a Borough, my Lord in that County which each send a 

"Representative to the Assembly The present 

"Representatives of the Mannors have distinguished themselves 
"in opposition to Government and were the warmest suj^portcrs 
"of the Congress." (See above-mentioned Documents, \'ol. 
VIII, p. 565.) At that time the Manor of Rensselaerwyck was 
represented in the General Assembly by Abraham Ten Broeck 
and the Manor of Li\ingston l)y Peter R. Li\-ingston, eldest 
surviving son of the third Lord of the Manor. 

To return to Robert of Clermont. On November nth, 1717, 
he married Margaret daughter of Thomas and Catherine 



(Bcdlow) Howarden whose maternal grandfather Captain 
Bedlow, a wealthy Englishman, became involved pecuniarily 
with Lord Cornbury, Governor of the Colony with the result 
usual to all those who lent any money to that Governor. 

They had but one child, Robert or Robert R. as he is called, 
afterwards to become the well known Judge Livingston of the 
Admiralty Court and of the Supreme Court of New York. 
Of him Governor Moore writes from New York January 21st, 
1769 to the Earl of Hillsborough urging his appointment to a 
vacancy in the Council of the Province, saying, "He is a branch 
"of the most considerable family in the Prov'^''; his father (who 
" is very far advanced in years) possessed of a very great landed 
"Estate, which will come to him undivided, as he is an only 
"son. He is married to the richest Heiress in the Country 
"whose Father is likewise very old and infirm; so that in all 
"prol)al)ility he must very shortly be the greatest Landholder 
"without any exception, in this province, the very large Estate 
" which must center (sic) in him, can not fail of giving him great 
"weight here, and puts it very much in his power to support 
"Govern', which all my letters to his Majty's Ministers have 
"showed to be very weak and to stand much in need of every 
"assistance which can be obtained. Mr. Livingston is a 
"Member of the Church of England as by Law established 
"and very well affected to his Majty's person and Govern*. 
"He is at this time one of the Judges of the Supreme Court 
"and has there given frequent proofs of his abilities to serve 
"his Countr\'. He has likewise been several years a member 
"of the House of Assembly, where I must acknowledge myself 
"indebted to him, for his readiness and assistance in some 
"difficulties I laboured under during the troubles I was engaged 
"in, on my first arrival liere &c., &c." (See above-mentioned 
Documents, Vol. VIH, p. 148.) Though, through the adverse 
inlluence of Lieut. -Governor Golden, whose" cherished scheme for 
"strengthening the prerogative of the Crown" Judge Livingston 
had strenuously opposed, the latter did not obtain this appoint- 
ment, this letter shows the high esteem in which he was held 
by the Governor Sir Henry Moore, notwithstanding the lil)eral 
principles which he had already frequently exhibited. In 
1765 he had been chosen a member of the Stamp Act Congress 
in the deliberations of which he had taken an active part. An 
address to the King praying for " the invaluable rights of taxing 
"ourselves and trial by our peers," drawn up by Judge Living- 
ston had been adopted by the Congress. 

28 




JUDGE ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON OF CLERMONT, BORN 1718, DIED 1775 

Original portrait in the possession oj the Estate of the late Robert R. Livingston. Esq., oj Nortli- 

wood, Columbia County, N. Y. 

Published by permission oi the Author of "The Livingstons of Livingston Manor." 




MARGARET BEEKMAX, WIFE OF JUDGE ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON OF CLERMONT 
BORN 1724, DIED 1800 

Original portrait in the pos'iession of the Estate of Ihelale Robert R. Livingston. Esq., of Northivood, 

Columbia County, N. Y. 

Published by permission of the Author of "The Livingstons of Livingston Manor." 



Time and s])ace forbid enlarginji; furllicr upon the eari'er of 
this eminent Christian, Statesman and Patriot of whom one 
of his most intimate friends, William Smith, the historian and 
Chief Justice of Canada, was accustomed to say, "If I were to 
"be placed on a desert island, with one book and one friend, 
"that book should be the liible and that friend Robert R. 
"Livingston." (See Hunt's "Life of Edward Livingston," 
p. 27.) 

On December 8th, 1742, in New York Robert R. Livingston 
had married Margaret the only surviving child and the heiress 
of Colonel Henry and Janet (Livingston) Beekman of Rhine- 
beck and granddaughter of Robert Livingston "The Nephew," 
so called from his being the nephew of Robert first Lord of the 
Manor. Their married life was a very happy one and lasted 
nearly one-third of a century. The Judge died on December 
gth, 1775, lea\'ing surviving him, his widow and ten children. 

The Judge's widow Margaret (Beekman) Livingston sur- 
vived her husband 25 years and died in 1800, while sitting at 
the head of her dinner table at Clermont. Previous to her 
death, with the consent and approval of her eldest son, Robert 
R. she divided the large Beekman Estate of 240,000 acres, 
which she received from her father, among her ten children. 

Clermont had passed to her eldest son upon his father's 
death. His career is so well known that I shall only mention 
its main incidents. Entering politics at an early age, he was 
one of the Committee of five appointed to prepare the Dec- 
laration of Independence, was Secretary of Foreign Affairs 
at the time of the Revolution, Chancellor of the State of New 
York, one of the most influential and able advocates of the 
adoption of the United States Constitution by his State, 
Minister to France, Negotiator of the Louisiana Purchase, 
&c., &c. 

He had made experiments with boats propelled by steam and 
one day when in Paris, returning to his apartment, he remarked 
to his family that he thought he had found a man who could 
aid him. This proved indeed to be true, for the man was no 
other than Robert Fulton and the little boat wdiich at last 
crowned their united efforts with success, was called "The 
Clermont," after Chancellor Livingston's beloved count re- 
seat. After retiring from public life, he lived until his death 
in 1813 upon this esitate, which is now in the possession of his 
great grandson. 



33 




CH.\MCELLOR ROBliRT R. LIVIMGSTONr OF CLKRMOMT, HORN 1746, DIED 1813 

Orisinil partrail by Gilbert Slimrl in the possession of John Uenry Livingston, Esq., of Clermont. 

Published by permission of the Author of "The Livingstons of Livingston Manor." 



The Chancellor's brothers and sisters were, with scarcely an 
exception, either prominent themselves in the alTairs of their 
country, or married to men who were so. They were Janet, 
who married Gen. Richard Montgomery, Margaret who mar- 
ried Surgeon General Thomas Tillotson, Catharine who mar- 
ried the Rev. Freeborn Garretson, Henry Beekman, a Colonel 
in the Revolutionary Army, John R., who did good ser\ice 
to his country in the supi)lying of gunpowder, Gertrude, who 
married Gen. Morgan Lewis, Governor of the State of New 
York, Joanna, who married Hon. Peter R. Livingston, Speaker 
of the New York Assembly, President of the Senate, &c., 
Alida, who married Gen. John Armstrong, Minister to France, 
&c., and Edward, Secretary of State, Minister to France, 
author of the Penal Code of Louisiana, &c. 

Though the Revolution ended the entail in this the younger 
line as it had in the elder, iVIanorial customs long survived and 
we read of Chancellor Livingston still paying his visits in a 
grand gilded coach drawn by four horses. From this we may 
surmise that, while politically the strictest of democrats, the 
style of living congenial to him continued to be that of the 
Lords of the ISIanor. 

NOTE. 

The Author is under great obligations to those from whose 
works cjuotalions in this address are taken and especially to 
Edwin Brockholst Livingston, Esq., for permission to draw 
largely from his exhaustive worlv, "The Lixingstons of Living- 
ston Manor." 



37 



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