- Lispenard was born on December 14, 1714, in New York City.
- His father was Anthony Lispenard and his mother was Elizabeth Huygens De Kleyn.
- His sister, Abigail Lispenard, married Jacobus Rutger Bleecker. Their son was Anthony Lispenard Bleeker, who was a prominent merchant and banker.
- His grandfather was Antoine L’Espinard, a Huguenot refugee, who emigrated to New York in the middle of the 17th century and became a successful merchant.
- In 1741, Lispenard married Alice Rutgers. They had three children together.
- Her father, Anthony Rutgers, inherited one-third of the property from a grant made by King George II. Lispenard eventually bought the other two-thirds, and the property became known as Lispenard Meadows.
- Lispenard and his family lived in a mansion on Lispenard Hill, which overlooked an area known as St. John’s Park.
- From 1750 to 1755, Lispenard was an assistant alderman from the North Ward.
- From 1756 to 1762, he was an alderman.
- In 1765, he represented New York at the Stamp Act Congress.
- From 1765 to 1767, he was a member of the New York Provincial Assembly.
Delegate to the Stamp Act Congress
On March 22, 1765, Parliament passed the Stamp Act, which required a stamp to be placed on all legal documents and many printed materials in the colonies.
In May, news of the new law reached the colonies. There was immediate opposition, including riots in Boston, Massachusetts, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Savannah, Georgia.
On June 8, 1765, the Massachusetts Assembly sent a circular letter to the legislatures of the other colonies, inviting them to send delegates to a congress in New York to discuss a unified response to the Stamp Act. The precedent for such a meeting had been set by the Albany Congress in 1754.
Nine of the 13 colonies, including New York, chose to send delegates to the meeting, which was held in New York City. Lipsenard was elected as a delegate from New York, along with Phillip Livingston, William Bayard, Sr., John Cruger, Jr., and Robert “The Judge” Livingston.
The Stamp Act Congress convened on October 7, 1765. On October 19, the Stamp Act Congress issued a Declaration of Rights and Grievances. Congress sent petitions to the King and both houses of Parliament and asked for the Stamp Act to be repealed.
Lipsenard voted in favor of the Declaration of Rights and Grievances, however, the delegates from New York were not authorized to sign their names to the official documents of the Stamp Act Congress.
On November 1, 1765, the Stamp Act took effect, but there were no stamp masters available to distribute the stamps. They had resigned or refused to perform their job due to violence and intimidation against them.
On March 18, 1766, Parliament repealed the Stamp Act, primarily due to protest from British merchants who believed it would damage their prospects of doing business in the colonies. However, on that same day, Parliament passed the Declaratory Act, which declared it had the “full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America, subjects of the crown of Great Britain, in all cases whatsoever.”
New York Sons of Liberty
- Lispenard was a leader of the New York Sons of Liberty.
New York Committee of One Hundred
- On May 1, 1775, Lispenard was elected to the Committee of One Hundred that preceded the New York Provincial Congress.
- The Committee considered itself loyal to the Crown but opposed to the policies of Parliament.
General George Washington Visits Lipsenard
- In June 1775, George Washington visited Lispenard at his home while he was on his way to Boston to take command of the American forces that had surrounded the city.
- While Washington was at Lipsenard’s home, he received a letter informing him of the Battle of Bunker Hill.
New York Provincial Congress
- In May 1775, he was elected to the First New York Provincial Congress.
- He was the Treasurer of King’s College (Columbia).
Society of the New York Hospital
- Lispenard was one of the original members of the Society of the New York hospital.
- From 1770 to 1777, he served as one of its governors.
- On February 15, 1790, Lispenard died in New York City.
- Several streets in Lower Manhattan are named after members of the Lispenard family, including Lispenard Street.
Leonard Lispenard is important because he was a delegate from New York to the Stamp Act Congress in 1765. He was also a prominent member of the New York Sons of Liberty.