Description

    Robert R. Livingston Manuscript Letter Signed" "Robt R. Livingston," two pages, 7.5" x 12.25", front and verso. Philadelphia. The upper right portion which contained the date has been inexplicably cut off and crudely repaired with tape upon which a collector has written, in pencil, "Feby - 1782." By content, this letter was written in early February 1782 to His Excellency Geo: Clinton, Esqr, Governor of New York. In part, "I do myself the honor to transmit your Excellency several resolutions of Congress which having a reference to the department of foreign affairs, are in course to go thro' this Office...While we hold an intercourse with civilized nations, we must conform to laws which humanity has established, and custom consecrated among them - On this the rights which the United States or their citizens may claim in foreign countries must be founded - The resolution No. 2 passed Congress in consequence of a convention about to be concluded between His most Christian Majesty [King Louis XVI of France] and the United States of America, which affords an additional reason for paying it the earliest attention - Your Excellency if the legislature will see the propriety of rendering the Laws on these Subjects as simple and the execution of them as expeditious as possible, since foreigners who are the great object of them are easily disgusted at complex systems which they find a difficulty in understanding - and the honor of peace of a nation are frequently as much wounded by a delay as by a denial of justice. The resolution No. 3 relates to your boundaries & is designed as one means of ascertaining the territorial rights of the United States collectively which can only be accurately known by each State's exhibiting its claims & the evidence on which they found them...direct that authentic copies...of all grants, charters, maps, treaties with the natives...be transmitted to this office..." Robert R. Livingston was the first U. S. Secretary for Foreign Affairs, serving from October 20, 1781 to June 4, 1783. On January 25, 1782, Congress passed "resolution No. 2": "Resolved, That it be recommended to the several legislatures of these United States, to provide by law for the establishment of a speedy mode of administering justice between subjects of his Most Christian Majesty and citizens of the United States: and for vesting persons in the neighbourhood of the sea-coast, with power to secure shipwrecked property in the most effectual manner." On January 28, 1782, The Congress passed a resolution defining the boundary lines of "the district of territory commonly called by the name of the New Hampshire Grants," land also claimed by New York. It required that "the inhabitants residing in the district limits aforesaid shall within two months one month from the date hereof by an authenticated Act recognize the above described boundaries." Livingston refers to that resolution as "No. 3." Fine condition. Ex. Henry E. Luhrs Collection.

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    October, 2007
    25th-26th Thursday-Friday
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