JH Livingston Letter
Albany 23 Nov. 1778
It has been so long since I have given myself the pleasure of sending you a line that I have made you the first in the list of correspondents to whom I purpose to devote this Evening. your kind letter which I found at Hurly after my return from POkeepsie must not be passed unnoticed notwithstanding I knew its contents before it was opened. the proposals were so kind so full of integrity & brotherly affection that while they claim my thanks they increase my esteem for. the Man who made them. But they came too late. the resolution had already past and my Quarters were fixed in the North. a very prosperous passage brot us to this place and after some trouble to find proper Lodgings I at last have got a very warm genteel Room in the House of Alderman John Beekman in the main street between the Market & ye Church. we moved last fryday and find our situation very agreable and equal to our highest expectation. but nothing can compensate our regret for not spending the winters with you, but the sense of duty in following the call of an Affectionate and numerous people joined to the prospect of obtaining at the same time our daily Bread. here while I am poizing the Ballances and weighing duty & Interest against thoise & pleasure you must permit me to use unequal weights and throw a visit from you when good riding commences into my present scale and the whole difference may be thus adjusted. I know your inclination will lead you where we are to be found, perhaps your Business may permit, I am sure sister will accompany you and I need not say that we shall be very happy to see you.
the devastations at Cherry Valley are marked with such scenes of Cruelty as surmount perhaps Any attempt of the kind during the War. the city militia returned from Schohary (which they guarded while Col. Butler went with his Men to meet the Enemy,) last Saturday Eveng-. Col. Alden is killed, the Lieut Col. a prisoner, between 30 & 40 women & children butchered in the most unheard of Manner. there is an Anecdote of the famous Brant upon this Occassion which deserves to be made pUblic & if true reflects immortal infamy upon the Tory rabble who have fled among the Savages & upon every occasion prove themselves worse than the heathen. it is said when their party came out, their Orders were read by young Butler. upon which Brant turned [himself is crossed out] round & wept and then recovering himself told Butler he was going to make war against America but not to Murder and Butcher; that he was an Enemy from principle but he wod never have a hand in Massacreing the defenceless Inhabitants upon which the bloody department was committed a Seneca Indian while the noble Brant with another party attacked the fort. had the British leaders or the British King been actuated by sentiments of this sort the American War wod not have been stained with such unparralelled cruelty, nor the name of Briton so justly excerated throughout these States. the savage Brant stands foremost in the List of Heroes where Howe, Burgoyne, Clinton and even George are named.
but the Clock strikes & warns me to close by letting you [know] that both of us sincerely love you both. May he whose Love is stronger than Death protect & Bless you. I am your own JH Livingston
SOURCE: MANUSCRIPTS AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, DOC. NO. RGPN 40, NEW YORK STATE LIBRARY, ALBANY, N.Y..