Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Livingston, Robert Petition to Viscount Cornbury re: Livingston's fiscal investigation

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03107.00676 Author/Creator: Livingston, Robert Place Written: New York, New York Type: Manuscript document signed Date: 1702/06/08 Pagination: 4 p. 30.6 x 18.5 cm

Summary of Content: Petition from Robert Livingston to new Colonial Governor Viscount Cornbury, in which Livingston details the pains he had to endure in his "persecution" over public funds. P.4 contains a note in response to Livingston's petition, dated 10 June 1702 by B. Cossens. Docketed on verso.

Full Transcript: New York, 8 June 1702
To his Excellency
Edward Lord Viscount Cornbury Capt. Genll. And Governour in Cheife of the Province of N: Yorke and the Territories depending thereon in America and ...Vice Admirall of the Same &c.
The humble Peticon of Robt Livingston
humbly sheweth
That about the month of octob 1700 an act of assembly was made appointing the Commissioners of accounts to retrospect all accounts of Publick moneys for 17 years past, as well such as have been receivd for the king, as paid by the king to the Inhabitants, with Sundrey Powers therein Specified.
That pursuant to the act your Petitioner being a Principall Creditor of the Government, and much in advance for the victualling of his Maj[esty's] forces in this Province, was summoned before sd. Commissioners and required to Lay before them an account of all the Publik money he had received from the king for 17 years past, and for what, notwithstanding all such accounts had been carefully from time to time audited before Payment & his Vouchers delivered up to the auditors.
That the Petitioner haveing been for 27 years past an Inhabitant at Albany, and had the Cheife part of the managing and ordering of the Incidentall Charges ariseing by the forts and frontiers and by the Indians of the five nations, was much surprised at this demand, and much doubting the possibility of his Complyance therewith, did forthwith sett about the Stating of an account of all the Money he had in that time Received for the king on account of Excyse and Quit Rents at Albany of which he had been sub Collector, and preparing of his Vouchers to Evidence the discharge thereof, and at Leisure times, took great pains in Sorting and finding out his papers and accounts of what he had received from the Publik for the sd. 17 years.
That on the death of the Earl of Bellomont which happened the 5th of march 1700 the Leut. Governr. being in Barbados he this Petitioner was Summonced as a member of Councill to attend the administration of the Government to which he gave obedience and attended untill the 20th of may following and on the 31th of may 1701 did deliver in to the said Commissioners his said account of [2] Excyse, who told him they must have an account of every farthing he had received from the king, and for what, to an ell of tape for 17 years past, and for that the Petitioner did not comply with this demand at the time by them prefixed, they did make application to the Leut. Governr. to have him Committed to prison without Bayle or mainprise, but the Leut. Governr. not thinking himself sufficiently warranted by the words of that act denyed the Request.
That in the mean time Mr. Weaver arbitrarily without any order of the govt. in the taking in of warrants from the Merchants by discount upon the revenue made particular exception to the Petitioners warrants, by means whereof the Merchants did return them upon the Petr. to a Considerable Value, & obliged him to raise money for their Satisfaction, wh. the Petr. did at 10 percent Intrest, as by his Complaint to the Lt. Governour and Councill, a Copy whereof is annexed will appear to your Lord[shi]p. but could have no relief Mr. Weaver being left to take what time he pleased to answer the Complaint of the Petitionr. did putt him off untill the meeting of a new assembly. In the month of august 1701 where, he being assisted by Mr. Atwood and others did Contrive a new method of ruining of your Lordships Petitioner by Confiscating his Estate by act of assembly, for the Satisfaction of Summs of money which should hereafter be made appear to be due to his majesty upon the Scrutiny of the Commissioners of the sd. 17 years accounts of moneys paid him by the Government.
And altho the Sd. Petitionr. did exhibite to the sd. Commissioners in writing an account of Charge and discharge of moneys Received from the Government in that time upwards, Eleven hundred pounds more then the sd. act of assembly charges the Petr. before the passing thereof, neverthelesse did the assembly and Councill being chiefly instigated by the sd. Mr. Atwood & Mr. Weaver proceed in great heat to passe the same as by the records and proceedings copys whereof are annexed may appear to your Lord[shi]p.
That by the sd. act of Confiscation the sd. Petr. was obliged to give his attendance to answer the said Commissioners objections to his said accounts on the 25th of march Last.
But so it is may it please your Lord[shi]p such a Violent Persecution was moved, for addressing his most sacred Majesty the Rt. honble. the house of Commons, and your Lordship upon their misconstruction of high Treason that your Lordships Petr. darst not adventure to appear in New Yorke untill your Lord[shi]ps arrivall, & for want of appearance on the 25th of march the Petitioners Estate is declared Confiscated and an Escheator appointed for that purpose who hath held an Inquisition upon that part of his Estate in the Citty of N: Yorke just before your Lordp[shi]s arrivall, where the Said Escheator accompanyed wth. Mr. Atwood Mr. Weaver and others the authors of his opposition as well as the Jury have feasted & expended a large sum of money in banquetting (as they suppose) at your Petitioners Charge.
And now Your Lordship is arrived to interrupt this Violence the said Commissioners have given in writing under their hands a certain book of frivolous and Simple [3] questions upon the Severall articles of the Petitioners account, which your Lord[shi]ps Petitioner is ready to answer upon oath.
May it therefore please your Lordship to take this unpresidented case of your Petitioner into your Prudent consideration and to appoint Such Commissioners as doe understand accounts, to examine into the State of your Petrs. case, to know what the sd. Commissioners appointed by the sd. assembly would have further from yr. Petr. and to make report to yr Excellency, and that your Excellency comeing thereby (or by any other means as shall seem good to your Excellency) to a right understanding of your Petitioners case, may grant him a quietus [sitt], and your Excellys Petitioner as in duty bound shall ever pray.
R.L.
[docket]
N Yorke 8 June 1702 Rt Livingstons Pet[itio]n to his Excell. my Ld. Cornbury Delivered to day wth. my 5 Petitions to the late Leut. Gov. & Councill & the Conference of the Councill & Repr. that 29 aug wth. the [illegible] of the house of Commons Report 1 Sep 71 with the order of Councill thereupon no.17

Fort Wm. Henry, [N.Y.], 10 June 1702

At a Councill held at Fort Wm Henry this 10th day of June 1702
Present his Excellency Edward Lord Cornbury &
Wm Smith Esq. Gerardus Beekman Esq.
Pr. Schuyler Esq. Rip Van Dam Esq.
Samson Shelton Brougham Esq.
The Petition of Rt. Livingston read and referred to Samson Shelton Brougham Gerardus Beekman and Rip van Dam Esqrs. members of his Maj[esty's] Councill. Tho [Nove] Esq mayor of the Citty of N: Yorke Mathew Ling Lawrence Reade John Chalwell Robt Lurting Johannes Kep merchants or any five of them, whereof one of the members of this Board to be always one who are to Examine and Report what they shall have done therein as desired & they to have Power to Send for any of the Commissioners appointed by act of genl. assembly Entitled an act to oblige Rt. Livingston Esqr to account according to the Purport of an act Entitled an act appointing & Enabling Commissioners to take and State the Publick accounts of this Province with their Books & papers for their perusall.
Pr order of Councill
B. Cosens Co Coneily

See More

People:

Historical Era: Colonization and Settlement, 1585-1763

Subjects: PetitionFinanceGovernment and Civics

Sub Era:

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources