LIVINGSTON, JAMES. (1747–1832). Continental officer. Canada. Born on 27 March 1747, James Livingston was the grandnephew of the powerful Robert Livingston. Though he did not finish college, James became a lawyer by studying with William Smith Jr. in New York City before settling in Montreal sometime in the late 1760s. When the Revolution started, James and his brothers Richard and Abraham joined General Richard Montgomery's forces invading Canada. James recruited over two hundred Canadians and led them in the operations around Chambly on 18 October 1775. On 20 November this unit was designated the First Canadian Regiment, and he was named its colonel. After the disastrous attack on Quebec, in which his forces fled at the beginning, he joined the retreat back to New York. On 8 January 1776, Congress gave him permission to recruit troops in New York. They served under Arnold in the relief of Fort Stanwix and the two Battles of Saratoga.
As commander of the garrisons around Kings Ferry, he figured prominently in the events surrounding Arnold'streason. His firing on the Vulture indirectly resulted in Arnold's exposure. Washington was suspicious of Livingston's loyalty. In the reorganization of 1780, Livingston's unit was eliminated and he resigned on 1 January 1781.
Livingston was in the state assembly in 1784–1787 and 1789–1791. He died in Schuylerville, New York, on 29 November 1832.
revised by Michael Bellesiles