James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Frederick Bates (Abstract), 28 May 1805

§ From Frederick Bates1

28 May 1805. “I had yesterday the honor of receiving your letter of  day of 2 covering a commission as Judge of Michigan territory, and am greatly flattered by the high confidence which the President, with consent of senate has been pleased to repose in me. Permit me thank you personally for the obliging terms, in which you have chosen to make this communication.

“I fear that my abilities have been too favorably estimated, yet I entreat you to be persuaded, that for my many & serious deficiencies, I will endeavour, in some degree to compensate, by an unwearied study of my duties, and a cautious circumspection in their discharge.”

FC (MoSHi). 1 p.

1Frederick Bates (1777–1825) was born in Goochland County, Virginia, where he studied law. In 1797 he was appointed to the army quartermaster’s department in Detroit, where he was named receiver of public monies and land commissioner in 1804. He moved to St. Louis in 1807 when he was named recorder of land titles, land commissioner, and secretary of Louisiana Territory. He also served on several occasions as acting governor. Bates continued to perform all these duties in the Missouri Territory after it was created from Louisiana Territory in 1812. He was elected second governor of the state of Missouri in 1824 and died in office (Marshall, Life and Papers of Frederick Bates [1975 reprint], 1:3, 6–7, 9, 18, 27, 30–31, 32, 33, 38, 39).

2Blank spaces in FC. On 22 Mar. 1805 JM wrote Bates: “The President of the United States being desirous of availing the public of your services as a Judge of the Territory of Michigan, I have the pleasure to inclose your Commission” (MoSHi; 1 p.; in a clerk’s hand, signed by JM; printed in Marshall, Life and Papers of Frederick Bates [1975 reprint], 1:63). Bates’s 3 Mar. 1805 commission is printed in Carter, Territorial Papers, Michigan, 10:12.

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