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Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 3

Robert R. Livingston to Robert Treat Paine and John Langdon
Livingston, Robert R. RTP Langdon, John
Clare Mount 19th Decr. 1775 Gent.,

My abrupt departure from Albany (for which the unhappy occasion will appologize) having deprived me of the pleasure of seeing you or settling such matters as were then undetermined I take the liberty to enclose my account.1 I have omitted all those articles which tho not at present necessary may possibly hereafter be of use & some triffles which I have forgot to note & do not know the exact amount of.

The ballance I have in hand & would remit to you had I a safe conveyance. I shall pay it to the order of Congress.

I was much disapointed at not having the pleasure of seeing you on your return, as I expected that you would have made my house one of your 119stages.2 And I was more solicitous about it, as I fear it will be long before I have the pleasure of joining you at Philadelphia as the sudden death of my father & the settlement of his affairs will necessarily engage much of my time.

If it would not obtrude too much on the hours which you have devoted to more important purposes, I could wish to hear from you when any thing worth communicating turns up; as in my present scituation I am quite out of the sphere of news or politicks. Present my comps. to Mr. Linch & Rutledge3 & to the Gent. your Colleagues & believe me to be with the greatest esteem Your Most Obt. Hum: Servt.,

Robt. R. Livingston

RC ; addressed: “Robert Treat Pain & John Langdon Esqrs: Delegates to the Hon: the Congress at Philadelphia.” Some unidentified calculations appear on the address sheet.


On Dec. 10, while at Albany, Livingston learned of the death of his father, Judge Robert R. Livingston (1718–1775) and set out for home.


Langdon set out for Philadelphia on Dec. 14 and RTP on the following day. The poor road conditions brought on by the winter weather delayed Paine’s progress. He reached Bethlehem, Penna., on Dec. 23 and remained for the sabbath-day “Celebration of Christmass Eve,” when “they had a Love feast.” A broken sulkey shaft kept him in town on Christmas day, and he improved the day by attending a sermon in English during the afternoon and one in German in the evening. He returned to Philadelphia on Dec. 28 (RTP Diary).


Thomas Lynch and Edward Rutledge were delegates from South Carolina. Rutledge (1749–1800), a South Carolina lawyer who trained in London, was a member of the Continental Congress (1774–1776) and signed the Declaration of Independence. As captain in the Charleston Battalion of Artillery, Rutledge was captured at the fall of Charleston in May 1780 and held as a prisoner until July 1781. He later served in the state house of representatives, was a member of the state constitutional convention in 1790, and was governor of South Carolina from 1798 until his death ( DAB ).

To James Warren
RTP Warren, James
Philada. Jany. 1. 1776 Sr.,

I wrote you last from Hackinsac when I was on dated Novr. that I was sorry had put my Trunk on board a Waggon bound for Cambridge & had directed it to yr. Care. This Letter I think I sent by the Post, but the Waggon & Trunk Never set out from Philada.1 By this means you are saved the any further Trouble & I the burthen of being under any future further obligation to you. How far your malevolent 120disposition towards me would have sufferd you to have kept up the External appearance of External good Offices I know not, tho’ I believe another disposition would have prompted you to it. I dare say by this time you are trying to pretend to yr. Self A Suprize at this kind of Expression from a person whom you supposed considered you as your his best Freind, but I dare appeal to yr. Conscience which will at some time do the strictest Justice that you deserve severe Censures from me, however it is not my design to take notice of yr. Conduct towards me in any other way than Expostulation & call back yr. mind to the first principles of our Cmmn. Opposition from wch. it seems to me yo. are widely straying; Union is undoubtedly the Platform of our Opposition. Upon this we sat out & when ever we depart from it there is an End of our Defence. Whoever directly or indirectly doth any thing to break this union is So far an Enemy to American Liberty, whosoever abuses, undervalues disparages or discourages a fellow Labourer is so far an Enemy to the Cause; witht. enlarging in this strain to which there would be no End, I must referr yr. Contemplations to a Letter you sent to Mr. John Adams dated Novr. 3d. 1775,2 John Mr. Adams Met this Letter on the Road home & forgetting what distinction the discovery of traducing Letters has brought on . . . some others & how necessary it is that such a correspondance be kept secret in order to answer the vile purposes of it Sent it open to his brother Delegates; I cannot describe the Astonishment, Greif & vexation I felt when I read it—if possible explain to me wherein I deserve such Treatment from you—in the close acquaintance of 15 yrs. & more did yo. ever find me unfaithful. Was I not watchfully observant of yr. Interest Reputation & happiness. Has any person been more attentive to the Interest & Welfare of the Family with wch. you are Connected your dulce Domus & presidium & that at a time when my Interest & promotion would have been much promoted advanced by Contrary Conduct. I mention not these matters to upbraid, but to give you an Idea of the Reasons Reflections with wch. yr. Conduct agitate my mind; I know not what principle to derive yr. Treatment of me from, unless it be that to the opposing of which in Other Persons you owe all yr. Glory, could you not have “perticular freinds” witht. Calumniating ridiculing & degrading your other Freinds. “Paine I hear is gone to gratify his Curiosity in Canada.” Did you hear this from any of yr. perticular freinds, alass I fear what you call “freindship” has for its 121object a very Contracted monopolizing System for the Support of wch. many incumbrances must be cleared off. “A good Journey to him, he may possibly do as much good there as at Philada.” What knowledge apprehension have you of the little good I do at Philada. unless from the intimation of yr perticular freinds & pray Sr. what good do you do you do at Watertown or Cambridge? Do you Consider how far & to what Subjects Such enquiry may be extended? & do you know as well as I do what the answer might be? “Tho I find some people here would not have pitched on him for the business we suppose he is gone on & perhaps there are Some who would not have done it for any.” By all accts. if your Machinations had succeeded I had not been chosen into the Council & I could clearly percieve when there last that the influence of one of your Party in favour of one of yr. perticular freinds degraded me in point of Rank: & what other Plotts you have laid against me you well know. Pray Sr. do you really think that when such important matters were to be consulted & determined respecting our Expeditions in the North, that I took that fatiguing Journy at such a Season to gratify my Curiosity. If you knew how I spent all the time I was absent in this Journey & what Report the Cmttee. made you would not think that Curiosity either prompted or engaged my persuit. I certainly took great pains to be excused from the Service but was urged to it by one of yr. perticuler freinds. If I have not Acquitted my Self well in this matter let it be pointed out I am sure it was not . . . of sufficient abilitys & merit the exertions of yr. freind here & all other political undertakings let my deficiency be pointed out to me that I may amend.

That there are some in our Colony who would not have chosen me to this or any other business may be true, but if you were not one of them wherefore this insidious Clandestine way of Spreading the knowledge of it. Who these people are & how many of them owe their Sentiments to yr. influence you do not say. Are there any or how many do you think there are who have the same Opinion of you.

Do yo. really think I have done & I do no good here? Do you know how I have spent & do spend my time? I could sett this matter in a Light that would Sufficiently account for some things but I have affairs of more importance to attend to. That you are my Enemy & have been labouring my disgrace I am Satisfyed; that finding yr. self discovered your implacable Temper will urge you on to your ill will I have so much Reason to think that I must necessarily take Care of my Self.




Letter not located. RTP noted in his diary, Nov. 12, 1775, Philadelphia:

“Cold. At 11 oClock sat out with Mr. R. R. Livingston & Mr. Langdon. Rode to Bristol & din’d thence to Trenton by 7 oClock Mm this Morning I carried to Mr. Charles Marshall my travalling Trunk filled with my Summer Cloaths to be sent next Wednesday to Watertown in a Waggon that is to carry some to the & I directed the Trunk to Col. Warren & wrote a Letter to him informing him of the Same NB the Waggon not the Trunk didn’t go.”

And on Nov. 15, Hackinsack:

“Rainy morning breakfasted at Mr. Sobieski’s he dind with us at Tavern here. Wrote by Post to Col. Warren & my Wife. Rainy day PM sat out & rode 10m to Hoppmans & put up road naturally good but now wett.”


Warren to Adams, published in Warren-Adams Letters, 1:187–190, under the date Dec. 3, 1775. Warren stated in his letter: “Paine, I hear, is gone to gratify his curiosity in Canada. A good journey to him. He may possibly do as much good there as at Philadelphia, tho’ I find some people here would not have pitched on him for the business we supose he is gone on, and perhaps there are some who would not have done it for any. Many men, you know, are of many minds.”

The dispute within the Massachusetts delegation had been simmering for some months. On July 23, 1775, John Adams had complained to Warren of the “unfortunate and fatal Divisions” in the delegation, “which have lost us Reputation, as well as many great Advantages which We might otherwise have obtained for our Colony” (Warren-Adams Letters, 1:85–88). The same month Abigail Adams interpreted the situation for Mercy Warren: “they have to combat not only other provinces but their own—a doubly difficult task when those who ought to aid, become stumbling blocks” (Abigail Adams to Mercy Warren, July 24, 1775. Adams Family Correspondence , 1:255).