[AUTOGRAPH DOCUMENTS, SIGNED, BEING COPIES OF THE PROCEEDINGS IN NEW JERSEY FOR THE ATTAINDER OF J.T. KEMPE AND HIS WIFE GRACE, AND ON THE CONFISCATION OF THEIR PROPERTY]
by Livingston, William: [Kempe, John Tabor]
Elizabethtown, 1787. 8; 4pp. Folio. Documents creased and lightly soiled. First leaf with a few tears and some paper loss, minutely affecting text. Very good. Additional four pages: Quarto, on a folded folio sheet. Old fold lines. Light soiling, minute paper loss along some folds. Very good. In a grey half morocco and cloth clamshell case, gilt, red leather labels. Legal documents regarding the confiscation of the property of Loyalist and New York Attorney General John Tabor Kempe, the first of which is penned and signed by William Livingston, first governor of the state of New Jersey and signer of the Constitution. A reluctant politician, William Livingston nevertheless rose to prominence in colonial New York and New Jersey, in part due to his wealth and family connections. He was the first governor of the state of New Jersey, holding that office from 1776 until his death in 1790. Livingston was extremely popular with his constituents and was fiercely anti-Loyalist. "Livingston came to harbor a deep and visceral hatred of Loyalists, whose numbers and military operations posed a real civil threat in New Jersey. The governor's jaundiced reaction undermined his otherwise deep commitment to due process and his remarkable concern for the social and economic welfare of his constituents. Livingston was by nature and education a man of conservative political leanings, forced into the personally distasteful role of flamboyant revolutionary. Indeed, throughout the war he was a rebel with a price on his head. Exiled New Jersey Loyalists several times tried to arrange his assassination by offering a reward for his murder" - ANB. During this time Livingston was constantly on the move to avoid assassination, bringing him into close contact with his constituents. This sensitized him to their needs in a way few others in his station would know, additionally fuelling his desire for reforms, including the abolition of slavery. "Governor Livingston made a real effort to redistribute Loyalist land by means of a strong pioneering confiscation act, a reform that did not work well in practice, but was intended by the governor to expand New Jersey's social revolution" - ANB. John Tabor Kempe is one of those who lost his lands due to his political leanings. The first leaf is a certification of the document which follows, penned and signed by Livingston. It is embossed with the state seal of New Jersey, and the whole gathering is tied with a red ribbon. The inquisition into Kempe's property took place in 1779, whereupon it was found that: "John Tabor Kempe and Grace his wife...are offenders in manner as is described in an act of the general assembly, intitled 'An act for the forfeiting to and vesting in the state of New Jersey the real estates of certain fugitives and offenders, & for directing the mode of determining & satisfying the lawful debts and demands which may be due from or made against such fugitives & offenders and for other purposes therein mentioned'...in that this John Tabor Kempe, and Grace his wife, did go to the enemy and took refuge with them some time in April in the year  & still remain with them." The second document, listing Kempe's lost goods and property, is titled "Rough estimate of Mr. Kempe's estate & interest lost in consequences of his loyalty." Kempe estimates his losses at an excess of £117,000, primarily in lost lands and estates, totaling over 45,000 acres. An interesting and informative set of documents, showing the high price of loyalty to the British Crown in New Jersey during the American Revolution. ANB (online).
(Inventory #: WRCAM42581)
You can be confident that when you make a purchase through ABAA.org, the item is sold by an ABAA member in full compliance with our Code of Ethics. Our sellers guarantee your order will be shipped promptly and that all items are as described. Buy with confidence through ABAA.org.