James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Richard Taylor (Abstract), 3 March 1805

§ From Richard Taylor

3 March 1805, Louisville, Kentucky. “My Son William D. S. Taylor has a desire to enter as a Midshipman on Board one of the Frigates belonging to the United states, & as I [am] a Stranger to all the Officers of Government Except yourself, I have Taken the Liberty to ask the favour of you to mention the mater to the Secretary of the Navy as I expect the appointment must come from his Office. I suppose it will be necessary for me to gave you some account of William or you wou’d be at loss how to give any account of him, and it is natural to suppose that a Father will speak favourably of a Son, He is Twenty years old & has been bred to the Law but when I Expected he was nearly ready to enter on the practice he Informed me that he was so averse to the profession that he coudnot think of Following it in every other respect he is like most other young men, if you can with conveniency drop me a line on the Subject you will Oblige a friend.”1

RC (DLC). 1 p.; docketed by JM.

1Revolutionary war veteran Richard Taylor (1744–1829) was an Orange County, Virginia, native and distant cousin of JM (they shared a common great-grandfather in James Taylor [1673–1729]), who moved his family to Kentucky in 1785. William Dabney Strother Taylor (1782–1808), Richard Taylor’s second son, served as a midshipman from 20 June 1806 until his resignation on 10 Feb. 1807. On 24 Feb. 1807 Henry Dearborn appointed him second lieutenant in the army artillery regiment where he served until his death at Fort Pickering in Tennessee. William’s younger brother was the future president Zachary Taylor (Holman Hamilton, Zachary Taylor: Soldier of the Republic [Indianapolis, Ind., 1941], xv, xvi, 21, 22, 24–25, 259 n. 4, 264 n. 10; Knox, Register of Officer Personnel, 54; Senate Exec. Proceedings description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, D.C., 1828). description ends , 2:52).

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