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William Livingston


The Livingston family contributed many able and devoted patriots to the service of America. Among these, William Livingston, Governor of New Jersey was conspicuous during thc Revolution. He was born in New York about the year 1723, and was graduated at Yale College in 1741. he afterward pursued the study of thc law. Possessing a strong and comprehensive mind, a brilliant imagination, and a retentive memory, and improving with unwearied diligence the literary advantages which he enjoyed, he soon rose to eminence in his profession. He early embraced the cause of civil and religious liberty. When Great Britain advanced her arbitrary claims, he employed his pen in opposing them, and in vindicating the rights of his countrymen. After sustaining some important offices in New York, he removed to :New Jersey, and as a representative of this State was one of the principal members of the first Congress in 1774.
   In 1776, on the formation of the new constitution of the State, he was elected the first governor; and such was his integrity and republican virtue that he was annually re-elected until his death. During our struggles for liberty, he bent his exertions to support the independence of his country. By the keenness and severity of his political writings he exasperated the British, who distinguished him as an object of their peculiar hatred. His pen had no inconsiderable influence in exciting that indignation and zeal, which rendered the militia of :New Jersey so remarkable for the alacrity with which on any alarm they arrayed themselves against the common enemy.
   In 1787 he was appointed a delegate to the grand convention which formed the constitution of the United States. After having sustained the office of governor for fourteen years, with great honor to himself, and usefulness to the State, he died at his seat near Elizabethtown, July 25, 1790.
   Governor Livingston was remarkably plain and simple in his dress and manners. He was convivial, easy, mild, witty, and fond of anecdote. Fixed and unshaken in Christian principles, his life presented an example of incorruptible integrity, strict honor, and warm benevolence. His writings evince a vigorous mind and a refined taste. Intimately acquainted with ancient and modern literature, he acquired an elegance of style which placed him among the first writers of his time.

Source: Marshall, James V.. The United States Manual of Biography and History. Philadelphia: James B. Smith & Co., 1856. Pages 174, 175. (Some minor spelling changes may have been made.)


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