“Our Struggle will be glorious, our Success certain”: Livingston’s Draft Address to the Inhabitants of Great Britain, in Context
In the late spring of 1775, New York jurist Robert R. Livingston (1746-1813) drafted a letter titled “The Twelve United Colonies, by Their Delegates in Congress, to the Inhabitants of Great-Britain." Commissioned by the Second Continental Congress as an eleventh-hour attempt to reconcile with the mother country, it is a striking piece of testimony to the internal struggles of colonial leaders and patriots as they tried to develop a framework of reconciliation, and sheds new light on the period leading up to the Declaration of Independence and the final break with Great Britain.
The letter was discovered last summer in the Morris-Jumel Mansion in New York City, which served as George Washington’s headquarters during the Revolutionary War, and was recently acquired by Brian Hendelson, a noted New Jersey-based private collector. Hitherto unknown and unstudied, the manuscript will be on view at New-York Historical in the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library, and will remain on loan to New-York Historical for purposes of study and display for two years.