Abraham Livingston to John Hancock, referred to Wythe & Committee, 8 May 1776

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A disgruntled Abraham Livingston writes to John Hancock explaining that he followed all the steps necessary to propose a contract to provide provisions for the United States Army which he did because he wanted to be of service to the United States. However, since the Continental Congress seems to believe his contract will be detrimental to the health of the public, Livingston recalls his contract. He sarcastically ends his letter by underlining the comments about his "utmost cheerfulness" and the "wisdom" of Congress showing that he feels the opposite of what he has written.

"Abraham Livingston to President of Congress, 8 May 1776, pg 1." Image from The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.

Letter text

Page 1

Letter from A. Livingston

May 8. 1776.
Read 9th May

To Mr. McKean
Mr. Adams
Mr. Wythe

Page 2

"Abraham Livingston to President of Congress, 8 May 1776, pg 2." Image from The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.


New York 8th May 1776.

Having been informed that the Contract I made with the Provincial Convention of this Colony in Behalf of the Continent, is thought by by the Hon. Continental Congress, disadvantageous to the Publick, I beg leave to explain the Motives on which I founded my Proposals, having seen an Advertisement in the public Prints, requesting all those who were willing to Contract for Victualling the Army of the United Colonies, to be stationed in this Province to send their Proposals sealed to the Provincial Convention who were there sitting, what particularly induced me to make Tenders was, that I thought few Persons in this City would be concerned in so great an Undertaking and as I had always an earnest Desire to serve my Country and being brought up to Business was confident that the Representatives of this Colony would not be displeased, should the Contract fall in my Hands, these Considerations with the Prospect that the Emoluments arising therefrom woud be adequate to the Trouble & Expence that such a Contract, would naturally create, induced me to offer Proposals which were esteemed the most advantageous to the Continent of any delivered, and finally I contracted to victual the Army, But as I am informed that the Hon. Continental Congress are of Opinion that my Contract is very injurious to the Publick and altho I earnestly wish to be in the Service of the Continent, having met with considerable losses, and altogether thrown out of Business by the present unhappy Disputes, Yet I esteem if my Duty and shall always prefer the Good of the American Cause to my private Interest, I will therefore with the utmost Chearfullness resign my Contract, should the Congress in their Wisdom

Page 3

"Abraham Livingston to President of Congress, 8 May 1776, pg 3." Image from The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.

Wisdom think it expedient, I have the Honour to be,

Your most Obed. Hum. Servant

Ab: Livingston
To the President of the Hon. Continental Congress