James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Samuel Latham Mitchill (Abstract), 12 June 1805

§ From Samuel Latham Mitchill

12 June 1805, New York. “This will be delivered to you by Mr. Robert L. Patterson,1 who visits Washington for the purpose to solliciting a renewal of the Commission of Commercial Agent in favour of his Brother William D. Patterson now residing in that Capacity at Nantes. The reasons wherefore this request is made of the Secretary of State at this Time, to conform with the new Imperial style of France, can be sufficiently explained to You, by the gentleman who bears this and sollicits the new Commission. I need not assure you that Mr. Patterson is worthy and amiable, since his manners and appearance are sufficient to create a prepossession on his favour.”

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

1Robert Livingston Patterson (1776–1862), the son of Catherine Livingston and British army officer John Patterson, was a New York merchant and ship chandler who went bankrupt following the Panic of 1837 and the subsequent recession. In 1845 he was one of the founders of the Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company of New Jersey and served as its first president until his death (Albert W. Atwood, The Great Stewardship: A Story of Life Insurance [New York, 1945], 14, 15, 17; Edward J. Balleisen, Navigating Failure: Bankruptcy and Commercial Society in Antebellum America [Chapel Hill, N.C., 2001], 291 n. 4).

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