Philip Livingston

Signer of the Declaration of Independence

1716 Born in Albany, New York
1737 Graduated from Yale College, Connecticut
1759-69 Served in the New York Colonial Assembly
1765 Delegate to the Stamp Act Congress
1766 Trustee of Queen’s College (Rutgers)
1768 Served as Speaker of the Colonial Assembly
1774-78 Delegate to the Continental Congress
1776 Signer of the Declaration of Independence
Member of the New York State Senate
Benefactor of Yale College and
King’s College (later Columbia)
1778 Died in New York.


As Signer of the Declaration of Independence, did Philip Livingston’s ideas come from the atheistic “Enlightenment?”

Philip Livingston was a graduate of Yale College, of which he became a benefactor, as well as of King’s College, New York. In “The Religious Constitution of COLLEGES, especially of YALE-COLLEGE, in New Haven, in the Colony of Connecticut,” by Thomas Clap, A.M., President of Yale-College, published in 1754, we read of this College’s purpose and function. It was founded by ten Ministers of the Christian Protestant Religion, their main Design being to educate Persons for the Ministry of those Churches, commonly called Presbyterian or Congregational;” and “for public Employment in Church and State:

“YALE-COLLEGE in New Haven, does not come up to the Perfection of the Ancient established Universities in Great Britain; yet, would endeavor to imitate them in most things, as far, as its present State will admit of.
It was FOUNDED, A.D. 1701 by Ten Principal Ministers, in the Colony of CONNECTICUT; upon the desire of many other Ministers, and People in it; with the License, and Approbation, of the General Assembly. Their main design, in that Foundation, was to educate Persons for the Ministry of those Churches, commonly called Presbyterian or Congregational, according to their own Doctrine, Discipline and Mode of Worship.
The first Act, or Charter, of the General Assembly, is predicated ‘Upon the Desire of several well disposed persons, of their sincere Regard to, and Zeal for, the Upholding, and Propagating, the Christian, Protestant Religion; by a succession of Learned and Orthodox Men;
That Youth, through the Blessing of God, might be fitted for Public Employment in Church, and State;
And that all due Encouragement might be given to such pious Resolutions; and that so necessary and Religious an Undertaking may be forwarded;
Full Liberty is given to the said Ten Ministers nominated, (and to their Successors, chosen by themselves) to FOUND, Erect, Order and Govern, a Collegiate-School;
In all Ways, and Manners; and by such Officers appointed by them, as shall, according to their Discretion, be most conducive, to attain the Ends aforesaid.’
And in the Charter 1745, it is particularly mentioned; ‘That they shall have Power to choose Professors and all other Officers, usually appointed in Colleges or Universities.’
The Act, 1753, has this Preamble: ‘Whereas, one principal End, proposed in Erecting and Supporting Yale-College was, to supply the Churches of this Colony with a Learned, Pious and Orthodox Ministry; to which Purpose it is requisite, that the Students of the said College should have the best Instructions in Divinity; and the best Patterns of Preaching set before them.
And Whereas, the Settling a Learned, Pious and Orthodox Professor of Divinity would greatly tend to promote that good End and Design.’
The Founders, at their first Meeting in 1701, make a Formal Foundation of the College, by an Express Declaration; and giving a Number of Books for a Library; and declare, that, ‘Their End and Design in it is to propagate the Blessed, Reformed, Protestant Religion, in the Purity of its Order and Worship.’…1

To learn more, click here. (Founders’ book)




Clap, Thomas, A.M. President of Yale-College. The Religious Constitution of Colleges, especially of Yale-College in New Haven, in the Colony of Connecticut. New London: Printed and sold by T. Green, 1754. Library of Congress, Rare Book Collection.


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