James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Abraham Bishop, 23 May 1813 (Abstract)

§ From Abraham Bishop1

23 May 1813, New Haven. “Judge Edwards, having requested me to express to the President my opinion of the capacity of Jesse Atwater esq. for the office of district attorney, I beg leave to say, that if Mr. Atwater should be appointed, he would do or cause to be done the duties of his office with ability & propriety.

“Wm. Bristol esq, having been named to the president for the same office, I addressed to him an enquiry, whether he still wished to be considered a candidate. His answer is with his permission inclosed.”2

RC and enclosure (DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1809–17, filed under “Atwater”). RC 1 p. For enclosure, see n. 2.

1Abraham Bishop (1763–1844), a native of New Haven, was a classmate of Joel Barlow at Yale, graduating in 1778. He studied law and was admitted to the New Haven bar in 1785, served as clerk of several local courts, and gained a reputation as a politically radical writer and orator. When his father, Samuel Bishop, was named collector of New Haven in 1801, it was understood that the appointment was to reward Abraham Bishop for his support of Thomas Jefferson and that he would actually carry out the duties of the office. New Haven merchants protested on the grounds of the younger Bishop’s alleged incompetence and poor character, but when his father died in 1803, he succeeded him as collector and held the office until 1829 (Dexter, Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College, 4:17–20; Noah Webster to JM, 18 July 1801, PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (8 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends , 1:436–41).

2Bristol’s letter, dated 22 May 1813 (1 p.), stated that he was not a candidate for district attorney and recommended Atwater for the office.

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