James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Isaac Robertson, 17 March 1804 (Abstract)

§ From Isaac Robertson1

17 March 1804, Jefferson County, Kentucky. “Having it in contemplation to become a resident of Orleans and knowing that a law has or will soon pass establishing a Territorial government,” desires to enlist JM’s influence with the president to obtain an appointment there. “Being personally acquainted with no one I deemed influential with the Executive I am obliged to have recourse to those who from an acquaintance with my Father might (if I came properly recommended) feel inclined to assist me.”

“I have been informed that some part of your education you received from Mr Donald Robertson2 of King & Queen County Virginia who for you had formed the warmest attachment; that Person sir was the Father of the one who now addresses you, wishing, however to stand or fall by my own merits I have mentioned this by way of apology only and with a hope that if you can agreable to the duty you owe your Country you will befriend me. The death of my Father at an early period of my life prevented me from receiving the advantage of parental lectures yet Sir I was not nexlected [sic] but in fact had every oportunity I could have wished for, after advancing considerably in literature in the best schools in Virginia I was sent to Princeton some few years ago to compleat my education where the honors I received and the improvements I was supposed to make are best attested by the records of College of the Whig society of which I was a Member and allso by Doctor Smith, who has since corresponded with me after my return from College I read Law with judge Roan of Virginia and did about two years ago commence Practicioner of law in this state with what success can easily be certified by the judge who rides through the Circuits I attend.” Desires an appointment as either judge or district attorney for Orleans; “or if neither of those could be obtained for me I should be happy in receiving any other appointment which might put me in the way of preferment and not interfere too much with my practice as an Attorny such for instance as Member of the Legislative Council &c.” Should JM be able to obtain an office for him, he can be addressed at Middletown, Jefferson County, Kentucky. “And if you think a recommendation necessary I would refer you to John Hoomes of the Bowlingreen. Colonel John Taylor of Caroline,3 Robert G Robb4 Senator for said County Doctor John Taliaferro5 of Fredericksburg. Francis W. Taliaferro of Orange6 and allmost every other respectable person in the vicinity of Caroline for my youthful improvements and standing in that state either as a firm determined republican or as a youth of letters. Colonel Anthony New altho but slightly acquainted with me has certainly heard of my progress in science and my principles, there are here acquaintances of yourse from Orange who will with pleasure recommend me, [(]to wit the Taylors) but as they are connected with me by marriage (for I married a daughter of Commodore Richard Taylors) I will if others would have more wait get others. In this letter Sir I have been forced into particulars which I hope you will excuse and attribute to a wish to have my conduct or capacity canvassed so that you in assisting me may act with that uprightness your duty to your Country demands.”

Is going to Orleans because “a southern climate suits my constitution which has been injured by leading too sedentary a life, but as my pecuniary circumstances are confined without some appointment I can not leave my practice in this state.”

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