Robert R. Livingston

Portrait by Gilbert Stuart, c. 1794

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QUICK FACTS
BORN:
27 November 1746 in New York, New York
  DIED:
26 February 1813 in Clermont, New York
Buried at St. Paul Episcopal Church in Tivoli, New York.

Robert R. Livingston was a delegate to the Continental and Confederation congresses and was on the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence. He was the first confederation secretary for foreign affairs until 1784 and he served as New York's chancellor, the chief equity judge. He was a member of the New York Ratifying Convention, and his notes of the debates are valuable in understanding the last, crucial days of the convention. As the highest ranking judicial officer in New York, he administered the oath of office to George Washington as president on April 30, 1789.

 

But with the British army evacuated [from Philadelphia in 1778] and the Patriots now in charge, Philadelphia Loyalists were doubly vulnerable to censure and punishment for siding with the Crown and for having consorted with the enemy. The Philadelphia Assembly Appointed [Charles Willson] Peale and four others to be Commissioners of Forfeited Estates, and for that the commissioners would receive a 5 percent commission. Peale’s group had extraordinary power to interrogate suspected traitors, break into houses, remove property, and sell off estates. Writs were issued to seize 118 estates ...

Paul Staiti
Of Arms and Artists: The American Revolution Through Painter’s Eyes (2016)