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just been given. Robert was born at Ancrum, Roxburghshire, where his father was minister, on the 13th December, 1654. His mother took him with her to Rotterdain in 1663, when she went to join her husband in banishment. Thus early removed to Holland, the boy attained to a complete knowledge and mastery of the Dutch language. It was his ability to speak English and Dutch with equal fluency which led to his subsequent promotion. At the age of eighteen, and upon the death of his father, the young man found himself thrown upon his own resources. Many different reasons in serious crises of their fortunes have tempted men to turn their eyes to America. Twice his venerable father had attempted to reach that country, that he might escape persecution, and worship God after a manner pleasing to his own conscience. Robert Livingston looked towards the land of the West, in the hope that it might provide him a field where he could earn for himself an honest livelihood, or afford him opportunities of embarking in a career that might possibly carry him forward to fame and fortune, Full of that enthusiasm which distinguished him in all the events of his life, having buried his father, he returned with his mother to Scotland, and on the 28th April, 1673, he took ship at Greenock for New England. Landed in the West, and finding that New York was on the point of being transferred from the Dutch to the English, he made his way with all haste to that Staie, and with considerable prescience sailed up the Hudson and took up his quarters in the town of Albany, after New York then the next important city in the State. Albany being near the Indian frontier, and the centre of a lucrative trade with the Indian trappers, his knowledge of Dutch and English stood him in excellent stead. The people being largely Hollanders, and the government British, he was the kind of man in demand from the very nature of the circumstances. He was at once appointed secretary to the Commissaries who superintended the officers of the Albany district. Discharging his duties with energy, the solitary, friendless young Scot rapidly rose in favour. In a short time he was appointed town-clerk, collector and receiver of customs, and secretary for Indian affairs. His position was strong, but he strengthened it still more by marrying, in 1679, Alida Schuyler, a bright young widow, in close connection with the best Dutch families, and only a year older than himself. Albany was his home until he transferred his residence to his house on his own lordly manor. Under Providence, Livingston's success may be attributed to his fortunate settlement in Albany, his knowledge of Dutch, and his marrying Alida Schuyler. Albany being a frontier town, and in close proximity to the hunting grounds of that powerful Indian federation—the Iroquois or the Five Nations—the authorities of the city required to exercise in their dealings with the Indians the very greatest circumspection. This was all the more necessary as the Iroquois were being continually worked upon by the French, who were then the holders of Canada. Being determined to gain the Indians to their own side, they were perpetually intriguing amongst them, and inflaming them against the English. Their swift wild raids kept the colonists in a state of perpetual trepidation. When consequently they were not engaged in fortifying themselves against their attacks, they were equally busy in carrying on with them peaceful negotiations. A raid in which the French and the Indians pounced upon an Albanian village, massacred the inhabitants, and carried off a number of prisoners, brought matters to a head. Leisler, the Governor of New York State, was furious, laid the blame on Livingston, and determined upon his arrest. The threat was never carried out. Livingston pointed out that matters would never be right until an attack was made upon the Canadian French. At a meeting held with the Iroquois chiefs at Albany, largely through the instrumentality of Livingston, the Indians were conciliated, and agreed to stand by the English in the proposed struggle. In the circumstances in which he was placed, Livingston had advanced a large sum for the security of Albany, where he held his various official positions. The Governor of New York State being an enemy of Livingston, and refusing to give him any interest on his advances, he had no alternative but to sail for London, and lay his case before a Committee of the Lords of Trade. When his cause was tried there was one William Kidd, the master of a brigantine, who appeared as a witness in Livingston's favour. The result of the deliberations of the Lords of Trade was that Livingston got all he asked, and something more. He received £3000, and in acknowledgment of his services was ordered to receive a pension of £100 a year, to be paid from the funds of the New York State.
To Livingston an idle existence was insufferable, and, while his case was dragging its slow length along before the Committee, he planned in London a scheme for the suppression of the numerous pirates that then preyed on our colonial merchantmen. There being a French war, none of the vessels of the navy could be procured for the undertaking. Along with Richard Coote, Earl of Bellomont, the Adventure Galley was fitted out as a privateer, and William Kidd was appointed captain. Kidd had done a bold stroke of seamanship when New York was threatened by the pirates, and had received from the State for that service an honorarium of £150.
Kidd was fairly well known to Livingston, and probably the latter may have been prepossessed in his favour from the fact that Kidd was a Scotchman, and had been born in Greenock. Bellomont fitted out the vessel, and, in the case of the project proving unsuccessful, he received from Livingston a bond of £10,000 and from Kidd another bond of £20,000. Kidd's commission was to fight with pirates wherever he could find them, despoil them of their goods, and bring them to justice. Kidd had chosen his crew, but the press-gangs boarding his ship forced the very best of them into the King's direct service. This being so, he had eventually to take such seamen as he could get. There can be no doubt his crew was composed for the most part of desperate men-men of ruined reputation, and eager for any chance, however questionable, of establishing their broken fortunes. Kidd sailed from Plymouth in the month of April, 1696. He steered his course for New York. Arrived there, Governor Fletcher allowed Kidd to beat up for volunteers, with the result that he got a contingent of men of a still lower grade than even those he had embarked at Plymouth. When Kidd found himself afloat it is more than probable that such a company of rascals and cut-throats never before, and certainly never since, sailed under the British flag to prosecute a cause receiving the direct sanction of the Sovereign.
About the time Kidd left Plymouth, Livingston sailed for New York. A keen man of business, and living with his eyes open, Livingston had been engaged in a far more magnificent enterprise than the fitting out of the Adrenture Galley, an enterprise which was now coming to fruition. At that time land with a frontage to the Hudson was in great demand, and the position of the land-owner was such as well to make it an object of
ambition. The land-owner was endowed with baronial honours, and held courts whose judgments were final. His tenants rendered him military service. He had the power of a feudal chiestain, and was the autocrat of his territory. Such a position livingston was anxious to secure, that he might lay the double foundation-stones of influence and fortune. On his frequent journeys between Albany and New York, Livingston had noticed that there was only one valuable tract of land with extensive river frontage still unheld by any white man. It was forty miles south of Albany, on the east side of Hudson River, and near Catskill. The Indians being willing to sell, on the 12th July, 1683, an estate of 3000 acres passed into his hands. After Livingston got a footing his estate rapidly increased in size, till finally, in 1715, the river frontage was 12 miles long, the extent equal to 160,000 acres, and the boundaries running 19 miles inland right up to the Massachusetts territory. Not for a while was it all plain sailing with our eager and speculative Scotchman, but still, thus by one of our own countrymen was founded on the Hudson the famous American manor of Livingston. The Earl of Bellomont was appointed Governor of New York, Massachusetts Bay, and New Hampshire, in 1697, with strict instructions for the suppression of piracy. Fletcher, the former governor, having refused to carry out the instructions of the Lords of Trade regarding Livingston, one of Bellomont's first acts was to see justice done by his friend. He had, however, scarcely assumed the reins of office when ugly rumours began to be circulated about the doings of Kidd, of whom little had been heard for the past three years. Bellomont and Livingston were shocked when they found the rumours prove true. Kidd having been unable to come up with the pirates, his crew, who were to have