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Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 3

To Robert R. Livingston
RTP Livingston, Robert R.
Philada. Jany. 26th 1776 My Dear Sr.,

I recieved yrs. addressed to Mr. Langdon & my Self after Mr. Langdon he was sett out for home, & I must now assure you it was not for want of respect that I did not make you visit you in my . . . return. Mr. Langdon being on horseback set out before me & I followed him on the west side of the River & crossed the Country from Esopus; I am sorry to find we are not like to have yr. Company here soon & must most sincerely condole with you and yr. Respected family yr. the very melancholly & grevious occasion of your Sudden departure from Albany & absence from Congress; had I wrote you some time ago as I intended I should have found my mind overcharged to express to you my Sympathy for the with you in your Loss of the best of Parents & bewail with you the Loss of a Father of his Country in the Death of Judge Livingston; but how shall I now adress you? In vain do I seek Expressions suitable to my Greif when I attempt to lament your reiterated loss in the brave the amiable Montgomery1 nor is there any thing that in the least can divert my Sympathy Greif for you unless it be the sence I have of my own loss affliction in Cmmn. with America. Excuse me if my freedom should make cause yr. wounds to bleed afresh. I write not for ceremonious Compliment. You may not monopolize the Loss tho yr. endeared Connection may cause the deepest Wound; the Congress deeply impressed with the merits of their deceased General after mature consideration of the most respectful 144mode of doing Honour to his Memory have directed an Oration to be pronounced by Dr. Smith & a Monument to be erected with some suitable inscription. America recognizes his Worth. America will establish his memory, & Posterity will hand down his Fame when Statues are mouldered into Dust.

Pray make my sincere Compliments of respect & condolence to yr. amiable & afflicted family.

We have no foreign news here but what you will soon have in yr. York Papers. 57 Ton of Salt petre arrived here some time past from abroad. I send inclosed a paper containing an act. Powder Mills are wanted. I hope yr. affairs will not prevent you in Exn. yr. fathers intention of rebuilding the Mill. The plot thickens fast. A few more Struggles & then the birth day of American Liberty. Adieu my freind may heaven bless you & all yr. Connections & soon grant us a happy meeting is the sincere wish of Sr. &c.

Robert Treat Paine

Dft. ; addressed: “To Robert. R. Livingston Esq. at Claremont Hudson River.” Attached to this is a draft note to Gen. Philip Schuyler, see above under Jan. 3.


Gen. Richard Montgomery (1738–1775) had been married to Livingston’s sister Janet. Paine noted in his diary, Jan. 17: “this day the Meloncholly news arrived of the Death of Genrel Montgomery in attempting the Town of Quebec.”

Extracts from the Minutes of the Continental Congress
Continental Congress
Saturday, January 27, 1776

Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed to take into consideration the report of the Commissioners for Indian affairs in the middle department, and the state of the Indians in said department, and report

The Members, Mr. Wythe, Mr. Paine, Mr. Wilson,1 Mr. Duane,2 and Mr. Rogers. . . .

Resolved, That a committee of 3 be appointed, to take into consideration the matter of the inlistment of apprentices and persons in debt, report thereon to Congress3

The members chose, Mr. M’Kean,4 Mr. Paine, and Mr. Wythe.

Tuesday, January 30, 1776

Resolved, That a committee of 5 be appointed to take into consideration an application from the committee of safety of New York.5

The members chosen, Mr. Ward,6 Mr. Paine, Mr. Paca,7 Mr. Lee,8 and Mr. Rodney.9

Robert Treat Paine

Printed in Journals of the Continental Congress, 4:95–96, 104.


James Wilson (1742–1798), a native of Scotland, arrived in New York in 1765. In 1774 he became head of a committee of correspondence in Carlisle, Penna., and was elected to the first provincial congress at Philadelphia. Wilson was a strong, although often dissident, voice in the First Continental Congress but achieved his greatest reputation later in the establishment of the federal constitution ( DAB ).


James Duane (1733–1797) was admitted to the New York bar in 1754 and was very active in adjudicating a number of land disputes on the frontier. Known as a moderate Whig, Duane represented New York in the Continental Congress almost continuously from 1774 to 1781. Following the war he served as mayor of New York City ( ANB ).


The committee reported on Jan. 30, and Congress resolved restrictions upon the enlistment of apprentices without prior approval of their master or mistress; “recommended” that creditors seeking redress of debts below $35 should not arrest debtors during their military service; and allowed underage enlistees to obtain discharges within twenty-four hours of enlisting by returning any bounty payments (Journals of the Continental Congress, 4:103).


Thomas M’Kean (1734–1817), a lawyer and public official, represented Delaware in the Continental Congress (1774–1776 and 1778–1783). He was a strong voice for independence and was a signer of the declaration. McKean was president of the State of Delaware in 1777 but moved his home to Philadelphia and was chief justice of that state from 1777 to 1799 and governor from 1799 to 1808 ( DAB ).


The committee reported on Feb. 15, and Congress passed several resolutions concerning fortifications in New York and also recommended exploration of a lead mine at New Canaan (Journals of the Continental Congress, 4:152–153).


Samuel Ward (1725–1776) had served as governor of Rhode Island under the royal charter in 1762, 1763, and 1765–1767. He represented the state in the first and second Continental Congresses and in 1775 chaired the Committee of the Whole. Ward died of smallpox at Philadelphia, Mar. 26, 1776, while attending Congress ( DAB ).


William Paca (1740–1799) began the practice of law in his native Maryland in 1764. He was a member of the provincial assembly (1771–1774) and a delegate to the Continental Congress (1774–1779), where he signed the Declaration of Independence. Later he was a judge in Maryland and governor there from 1782 to 1785. In 1789 President Washington appointed him judge of the United States Court for Maryland and Paca continued in that position until his death ( DAB ).


Probably Richard Henry Lee.


Caesar Rodney (1728–1784) was an associate justice of the Delaware Supreme Court from 1769 to 1777, during which time he was also a delegate to the Continental Congress (1774–1776). Rodney served as a brigadier general of the Kent County militia in 1775, and was president of Delaware from 1778 to 1782. Although reelected to the Continental Congress in 1782 and 1783, Rodney did not serve again ( DAB ).