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At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 85,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World through the end of the twentieth century.

Weemes, James to Robert Livingston

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03107.00571 Author/Creator: Weemes, James Place Written: Albany, New York Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 7 June 1700 Pagination: 1 p. : address ; 33.1 x 21 cm Order a Copy

Weemes writes discussing the key issue of Europe: the succession of the Spanish throne. With the death of the King of Spain, it is rumored that the throne would pass to the Dauphin of France. Weemes also writes of the ill-fated Scottish Colony of Darien, and its subsequent claiming by the Spanish. Finally, Weemes writes of his difficulties in gaining pay for the thirty men serving under his command. Docketed on address leaf.

Robert Livingston the Younger (1663-1725) was the mayor of Albany from 1710-1719. He was the son of James Livingston and nephew of Robert Livingston the Elder. Born in Scotland, he emigrated to America from Rotterdam in 1687 and in 1697 married Margareta Schuyler, the daughter of Peter Schuyler, the mayor of Albany. He managed his uncle's Albany enterprises, becoming, serially, city clerk, county clerk alderman and deputy mayor, all while flourishing in mercantile pursuits. Captain James Weemes of Albany was an officer in one of his "Majesties Independent Companyes of New York." A note found on this document says that Weemes served under Colonel Samuel Vetch, who married Margaret Livingston in 1700. Weemes's fears of a pending war were prescient, as the death of the Spanish King Charles II led to the War of Spanish Succession, known as Queen Anne's War in North America. Weemes's comment on "the finie Exployt of our bra[ve] Countre men at Culedonice" is a reference to the Darien scheme, which was an unsuccessful attempt by the Kingdom of Scotland to establish a colony on the Isthmus of Panama. There were two abortive attempts at colonization, in 1698 and 1699, and it is argued that the disaster helped pave the way for the Acts of Union in 1707, which joined Scotland and England into the United Kingdom. Vetch was involved in the 1699 colonization attempt.


I have the favuor of youres wherein you desire the [illegible] of some [illegible] of ware which I have accordingly sent you 3 of Each sort and 4 pickaxes which is more as is behind in the Stoores if any [illegible] may offer as we may Expect one if these dayes if Mr Riggs news be trew that the King of Spaine is dead and the dalphen of France proclaimed King but I hope it may not be soe and yet why should I be soe for we can not Expect to be taken care of as time goes unless you have 3 or 4000 pou[nds] more to Lend out as for my ouwn part if there is once more warre against [us] I would Resigne my Charg[e] to morrow and then I would know what I hade to [illegible] to I presume you have h[e]ard of the finie Exployt of our bra[ve] Countre men at Culedonice how kind th[e]y have been to ye. Spaniards in settling a good fortification for them[.] I hade the other day a Leter from Mr Newton wherein he Informs me ye that Gentmen of Boston a post on them will not allow me any pay for the 30 men that was with me but for my own pay are willing to pay it as if I hade been with out men posted there alon[e] but if I would send a List of the mens names and affirmation that I find them th[e]y would doe som[e] thing in the matter which I have accordingly done and hyred an Indian to go with it this day I could fill up a whole ship and more but will forbear till metting only wish you prosper in [inserted: your] present undertaking and ame with all Regard Sr
your most Reast and humbl Sert
James Weemes
Alba[n]y June 7th [illegible]

[address leaf]
The Hond Robert
Livingston Esqr of
his majtes [illegible] att
his manor in the

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