James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John R. Smith, 3 February 1810

From John R. Smith

Philada: Feby 3d: 1810


Mr. Robert Smith1 one of the Directors of the Bank of the United States who will hand this letter to you, is one of a Committee appointed by the Bank to proceed to the Seat of Government on the Subject of the renewal of their Charter.2

He wishes Sir to pay his personal respects to you, & to communicate his sentiments freely on a Subject much involving the financial interests of the United States & which he is not the less anxious to promote from his very early & continued exertions through our revolutionary Cause.

Not having the honor of a personal acquaintance with you he requested a line from me mentioning his name & the object of his journey & from my knowledge of his truly respectable character & the known liberality with which every thing tending to the public welfare will always be received by you, I have taken the liberty of furnishing him with this letter. With Sentiments of the highest respect I have the honor to be Sir your very obedt: servt.

Jno: R: Smith3

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1Robert Smith was a merchant with premises at 58 South Front Street (Robinson, Philadelphia Directory [1811 ed.], p. 261).

2The charter of the Bank of the United States was due to expire in 1811. The bank’s stockholders, anxious about that prospect, petitioned Congress in 1808 for some reassurance. Gallatin thought their concern premature and urged a delay. His report of 3 Mar. 1809 recommended a renewal of the charter. “Congress then neglected the matter till January 1810, when the House considered it desultorily for a few weeks and in April dropped it” (Bray Hammond, Banks and Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War [Princeton, N.J., 1957], pp. 209–10).

3John R. Smith, an attorney who lived at 53 Walnut Street, was the brother of Samuel Harrison Smith, editor of the National Intelligencer (Robinson, Philadelphia Directory [1811 ed.], p. 260; John R. Smith to JM, 29 Jan. 1808 [DLC]).

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