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Letter from Abraham Livingston to New-York Congress



New-York, March 11, 1776.

GENTLEMEN: Having been informed that Mr˙ Curtenius has applied to Congress for further proposals being made by both him and me, on a supposition that I had not attended to the tenor of the advertisement, I think it necessary to acquaint you what motives induced me to form that part of my offer which proposes that all expense of transportation be paid by the publick. I requested the favour of Mr˙ Lott to ask the Congress some questions that I thought absolutely necessary, which I delivered to him in writing. One of the questions was, "Where are the troops to be stationed?" The answer delivered to me, also in writing, was, "Wherever the General pleases." I could not, therefore, as a person possessed of the least degree of prudence, attempt to make any other proposals on that head than I did, at least within the bounds of moderation.

I am pretty well assured that Mr˙ Curtenius knew from Congress that the troops were to be stationed in New-York, King' s County, and the Highlands. I therefore cannot but think that the Congress will readily consider my proposals the most reasonable, as the expense of transportation to those places cannot possibly exceed one half-penny per ration. I have the answers to the questions to Mr˙ Lott ready to produce to the Congress should they think proper to see them.

I thank the Congress for their kindness in appointing me .Commissary of Provisions. When I engaged in that business, I understood that, while I remained in office, I was to transact all affairs in that department; and as I have lately understood that some other person has been employed to famish what properly came within the line of my duty, and nothing left for me to transact but such business as, in all probability, many would refuse, I find it will answer no purpose to continue in that office. I therefore apprize the Congress that I do decline serving as Commissary. And lest the publick service should be impeded by my resignation, I will serve provision as usual, to supply the troops, this week, and shall be ready to deliver the provision, &c˙, to whoever the Congress shall please to appoint.

I have ordered my accounts to be made out, and am ready for an immediate settlement. I cannot conclude without declaring to Congress that the post I now resign was not at all solicited by me, and sincerely wish the appointment of a person who will give more satisfaction.

I am, with respect, your very humble servant,


To the New-York Congress.