Philip Livingston, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, was a descendent of a Scotch minister who left Scotland in 1663 to settle in Rotterdam where he passed away. Philip's father, Robert Livingston, emigrated to America soon after the death of his father. He was granted a large tract of land located along the Hudson River and was known as Livingston's Manor. Philip was the oldest of three sons and became heir to the property upon the death of his father.
Philip was born on January 15, 1716, in Albany. He completed a preparatory course of study and then entered Yale College. There he did well in his studies and graduated with distinguished honor in 1737. He had an "extensive and lucrative business" in New York City and was known and respected in the community for "his integrity and upright dealings."
He started his public service as an Alderman for the East Ward in New York City, serving satisfactorily in that position and winning reelection for nine years. Philip and his brother Robert were elected at the same for seats in the General Assembly where Philip became a leader among his fellow public servants. Philip was also a member of a committee established to communicate with Edmund Burke while he was serving as an agent for New York in England previous to the American Revolution.
Philip was elected as a delegate to the first Continental Congress in 1774. He was still serving in the Continental Congress and supported the fight for independence. He voted for and signed the Declaration of Independence.
When New York formed its first state government, Philip Livingston was elected to be a member of the first Senate of the state. Even though he was experiencing some problems with his health, he left home to perform his duties in the Senate. He had a premonition that he would not return home and bade his family and friends farewell. He died on June 12, 1778, while serving in the Senate. Henry, his eighteen-year-old son who was living with the family of General George Washing, was the only family around when Philip passed away.
Philip was very concerned about the public welfare and was one of the founders of the New York Society Library and the Chamber of Commerce. He also promoted the establishment of King's College (now Columbia). He left "a name and fame that kings might covet."
Facts and quotes are from Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, 67-70.
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