James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Tench Coxe (Abstract), ca. 11–16 April 1805

§ From Tench Coxe

Ca. 11–16 Apr. 1805. “I have the honor to write to you in consequence of an application from Mr. Clement B. Penrose, who is desirous of an appointment in the Louisiana Territory under the Government.1 He is a gentleman of about 34 years of age, married, his [sic] several children, and is a branch of two old and respectable Pennsa. families. He read law about eighteen months under the late Mr. Sergeant,2 but has not practiced. I believe he is acquainted with the French & German Languages. So far as I am acquainted with him and his Character, I presume he would fill the station of ‘recorder of land titles,’ which he seems to desire, tho I presume other objects would be acceptable if equally valuable.”

Adds in a postscript: “It is proper that I should mention that Mr. Penrose is the son of a deceased Sister of Mrs. Genl. Wilkinson.”

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1801–9, filed under “Penrose”). 1 p.; docketed by Jefferson. Undated; date assigned on the basis of J. B. McKean to Jefferson, 11 Apr. 1805, and an undated letter from William Shippen to Jefferson (ibid.), both of which are docketed as received 17 Apr.

1Clement Biddle Penrose (1771–1829) was the son of Ann Biddle Wilkinson’s sister, Sarah Biddle Penrose, and James Penrose. He was named one of the land commissioners for the Louisiana Territory in May 1805 and in December 1805 arrived in St. Louis, where he spent the rest of his life (Thomas Robson Hay, ed., “Letters of Mrs. Ann Biddle Wilkinson from Kentucky, 1788–1789,” PMHB description begins Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. description ends 56 [1932]: 34, 44 nn. 28 and 30; Carter, Territorial Papers, Louisiana-Missouri, 13:129).

2This was probably attorney and Continental Congress member Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant (1746–1793), who died in the Philadelphia yellow fever epidemic of 1793 (McLachlan, Princetonians, 1748–1768, 407–10).

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