Livingston, Robert to Lord Treasurer re: difficulties in returning to New York with money
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.
Discussion of the hardships endured by Livingston in attempting to return to New York with reimbursed funds. He mentions how two ships carrying part of his money failed to reach New York (one was boarded by the French while the other was lost at sea) and writes of his fears of a debtors prison should he return without any of the funds. Docketed on recto.
Windsor, [England] 12 October 1709
In all humility I presume to acquaint your Lord[shi]p that it was with great Reluctancy I left my family Expos'd to a Cruel & vigilant Enemy on the fronteirs at Albany in the Province of N: York & to undertake a dangerous Voyage of 1000 leagues to come to England for Payment of those moneys I had advanc'd for Victualling the forces there & for Services done to the publik in that Government, in wh. Voyage I was taken by the french & strip'd of what I brougt for my support; I was forc'd to it by my Creditors of whom I had taken up money at 10 [p.to] to Enable me to go on with the victualling, & to repay those people I borrow'd money of to satisfy them that Return'd my Ld. Bellomont's warrants upon me wh. I Rec'd for my Salary as Secretary of the Indian affairs, that govt. not being able to pay them, & tho I morgag'd great part of my Estate to Secure them before my departure I was in hopes to have gott that Releest here, which should have enabled me to pay every body, & sitt down quietly, & end my days in some ease after a 30 years fatague & hurry of publik Bussiness.
I flatterd myself ye more to be releev'd in that particular relating to my salary as Secretary of the Indian affaires when I consider'd that yr. Lordship in Conjunction wth. the rest of the Lords of the Treasury in 1695 made that favourable & just Report to his late Maj[esty] upon that subject, & that yr Lord[shi]p was now in that  high & Eminent station wh. could the more facilitate the accomplishmt of it.
I was advis'd before I came from N: York that the 30 [pto] was the Proper fund to pay my debt since the Revenue of N: York wh. was alloted to doe it was borrow'd to pay those Contingencys of the four Comp[any]s & accordingly I apply'd my self to the Solicitation of the Parlamt. Last Session, & after a great deal of Charge & attendance procur'd a Clause for the Paymt of the sd forces, Resolving the Surplus of the 30 [pto] to be disposed by his maj[esty] to those whom she should adjudge entituled thereunto, & altho the attorney genll. hath given his opinion in the matter in my favour [inserted: declaring that the Quatr. may give him the surplus that was mentioned in the warrants being answer'd] that yr Ldp. seems not inclined that It should be apply'd to any other use than the Paymt of a military debt, wh. I presume is [illegible] upon the first Report of my Ld. Ranelagh & Mr. Blathwayt, not doubting that they are now better Satisfied & if yr Ldp thought fitt to Refer that matter to them for a Second Report would be now more favourable.
I must beg leave to acquaint yr Ldp. that that very day I came home from Windsor last, & had Recd yr Lordships answer, I had the bad news that the 2 ships that went to N: York in may last with the West India fleet in whom I had Shipd the money I had Recd in Debentures for the victualling to the 25 of march 1699 that one of them was taken going into the Ruiz & the other not heard off tho 12 weeks at Sea. So that I am now Reduc'd to the utmost Extremity, my fortune wh. with great Industry & pains I have got those 30 years last past for the support of my wife & family must now goe to pay these debts I contracted to serve the Publik wh. money should have been pd. at N York, this tho is a  melancholy Reflexion to me, yet the Consequences of it will be very prejudiciall to those Plantations, for none wil ever after this advance anything for the Publik, when they see that I through my zeal to the Publik wil be Reduc'd with my numerous family to penury & want in my old age.
I am as willing to serve her maj[est]y as ever I was any of her Royall predecessors, but could wish that I might Receive that money for my Service as Secretary of the Indian affairs to Enable me to pay my debts, & shall then be satisfied if it shall be thought for the Publik good to lay down those Employmts I have Executed for those 29 years past without Interruption & altho I was suspended by Coll Fletcher wthout just cause as my Ld Bellomont Reported to his Late Maj[est]y yet I continued in the faithfull performance of the Service ever since as the Councill of N York acknowlege & that I was virtually tho not formally Restored, they have nothing to object agst. my Receiving the Sallary pursuant to his late Maj[esty's] Commission if her Maj[esty] shall please to allow the same.
I have been here a great while & at great Expence about this bussiness & am determind (God willing) to goe home wth the Virginy fleet wh is to sail in December next & therefore in all humility Implore yr Lordship 
I cannot but think my self the most unhappy supplyant that ever applyd to the Treasury for Relief, since [struck: my] after [struck: the establishm't of my salary] the Grant of my Commission [struck: of] [inserted: for] Secretary of the Indian Affairs and the Establishm't of my Salary upon the Ldp's Report in 1695 in conjunction with the other then Lds Commissioners of the Treasury, after my faithfull performance of that Duty [inserted: Ever since] reported by the Governr & Council of N Y: [inserted: after] a dangerous voyage to England wherein I was taken & stript by the French of all I brought for my support, [inserted: after] a long & Expensive sollicitation of the parliamt [struck: for action for] a clause for paymt of those forces, and leaving the surplus to [inserted: be disposed as] her Maj[es]ty in her judgment should think fit [inserted: to sure my satisfaction And] after obtaining [struck: the] Mr. Attor Genll's opinion upon a case stated, & refer'd to him by yr Ldp, that [struck: I] the surplus was chargable with my salary as well within the intent of the Act of parliamt, as in common Justice and Equity, I am at last [struck: distinguished] distinguish'd out of all my just hopes & expectations by the words Military Fund & Civill Debt, tho It is most Apparant that [struck: if] the Military List [struck: had not] was supported out of the Civill [struck: debt] Fund with [struck: was] should & ought to have paid my debts, and this surplus now arises from that reason.
I must crave leave to acquaint yr Ldp that this misfortune has been seconded with the news of another, viz.: the losse of a great part of that money I lately receiv'd [struck: upon] for my victualling wch was taken by the French at the mouth of N Y: River and unlesse yr Ldp be pleas'd to make some other provision for me, I shall be reduc'd to Extreamitys here, & not be able to keep out of a prison at home. Tho' I & my family must feel the immediate smart, the Consequences may affect the [struck: publik] crown for the Governmt & people of N Y: were of opinion that this surplus was the proper fund for my Satisfaction, and if I must return home unpaid, no man there will ever disburse money for the publick service in the greatest Exigencys. I [inserted: most] humbly beseech yr Ldps Compassion of the deplorable Circumstances of
Yr Ldps most dutifull humble ser[vant]
Windsor 12 of October 1704
No 14 Windsor 12 of october 1704 Copy of my letter to my Ld Treasurer
The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.