William Patterson
Submitted by Pattie Causey

Please note that there is tape over the edges of some of the pages of the will book and some sentences are therefore missing, because they are illegible.  Please excuse any mistakes in my transcription.  Where a word or a few words are illegible I have question marks.  Where several words or sentences are illegible I have put multiple periods.

 
"Preliminary Introduction to my Will. 
Having lived beyond the common period alloted for man (being now in the seventy fifth year of my age) and having seen much of the world, it may be gratifying to some & useful to others of my descendants, to give them some account of myself, as well as to notice some cursory remarks that have struck me in the course of my life, and I have therefore thought it not inconsistent or improper to commence this my last Will & Testament with the following sketch.
 
My Family were of the Episcopal church, the established Religion of Ireland, in which I was born & brought up with great care & attentions and from the religious impressions which I then received, I am under the guidance of a divine & kind providence indebted for my future conduct & success in life.  my Father was a Farmer in the Country with a large family, his name was William, my mother's name was Elizabeth (her maiden name was Peoples), they were both descended from a mixture of English & Scotch families who had settled in Ireland after the conquest of that Country.  I was born on the first of November old stile in the year seventeen hundred & fifty two, at the place called Fanat in the County of Donegall Ireland, and was sent by my family at the early age of fourteen years to Philadelphia for the prospect of being brought up to Mercantile pursuits, where I arrived in the month of April 1766 and was placed in the counting house of a Mr. Samuel Jackson an Irish Merchant who was pretty extensively concerned in the Shipping business, and who in company with others of his friends usually built a new Ship or vessel almost every year.  this gave me an early knowledge & attachment to that business, a passion that has followed me through life, and although? I may be said to have been fortunate, I would not advise any young friend to engage in or to follow the shipping business, without great caution & in a limited degree to gain experience, without which it is impossible to succeed.  Commerce in the Shipping trade is one of the most dangerous pursuits that can possibly be engaged in.  I have known the trade of this Country for upwards of sixty years & I am persuaded that in that ?? (corner torn) not one in fifty shipping merchants have succeeded, either in New York, Philadelphia or Baltimore.  this is a lamentable consideration but I believe no less true.  I ?? at Philad'a as far back as the year 1773 & 4 and have continued very largely in the business ever since with various success.  I have transacted business as a Shipping Merchant under four different governments, namely  the British at Philad'a.before the Revolution, the Dutch at St. Eustatia, & the French at Martinique both in the early part of the Revolution, and lastly at Baltimore from the time of my arrival in the year 1778 to the present time.  When the American Revolution commenced in which I took great Interest it appeared to me that one of the great difficulties we should experience was the want of Powder & Arms, in consequence of the great precautions taken by the British government to prevent their being brought to this Country from other places.  this induced me in the year 1775 to embark all the property I then possessed in parts of two vessels & their cargoes, destined from Philad'a. to France for the sole purpose of returning with Powder & arms, and in one of which I embarked myself, one only of these vessels got safe back to Philad'a. where she arrived in the month of March 1776 with the cargo intended, and in a most critical time when it was said that General Washington then before Boston with the Army had not powder sufficient to fire a salute.  On my way from Europe I slept at the Island of St. Eustatia in the month of February 1776 and I was persuaded by some of my friends to remain and carry on business with America, and which I was the more induced to do on account of the great intercourse that soon took place, affording the Americans the opportunity of collecting & shipping arms & ammunition & almost everything necessary for carrying on the war.  I remained at St. Eustatia for about eighteen months & finding that the Dutch government (altho' perfectly well disposed) was ?? able to protect the Americans & their trade against the British I thought it most advisable to remove from thence to Martinique where I continued in business until my return to Baltimore. (Note 1)
 
Having had some valuable friends & connexions in Europe & America, I established myself with great advantage at St. Eustatia & M/que. and I soon made what was then considered (Page 2 Wm. Patterson) a fortune of about? sixty to eighty thousand Dollars, but as the trade with America was ?? with great hazard & no insurance could be effected, I lost by British captures & sea ?? in little more than a month, nearly one half of what I was then worth.  This ?? gave me considerable concern, and brought me to the determination that if ?? live to come to America (being then in bad health) that I would certainly ??ize one half at least of what I might possess, and sport with the other half ?? commerce? as a prudent Gambler would do at games of chance for I did then and ? do consider commerce in the Shipping line as a hazardous & a ?? game.
I arrived in Baltimore from M/que in the month of July 17 ?? and brought with me in fast sailing vessels, Cash & Merchandise more than ?? hundred thousand dollars value rated at the standard value of gold ?? continental ?? money was then the only currency in circulation (bottom corner torn)..........
............the first thing I thought of after my arrival was to put my former resolution into practice by investing about one half the proceeds of my property in real estate.  And? this I accomplished as soon as practicable, and the purchases I then made remain in my possession to the present day, having made it a rule never to purchase real property on speculation with a view to sell again, & never but when I had the money to ?? without running into debt, & by adhering to this rule I have from time to time increased my purchases of real property as fast as I made money by commerce, never risking more at any time than one half what I was worth, considering that were I even to lose that half I had still left a sufficiency to make myself & my family comfortable & independent.  a merchant possessing a fortune should never put more at risk than one-half what he is worth, & should he have the misfortune to lose that half (which is more than probable) he ought to retire immediatly from business, or it is fifty to one that he will lose the other half & be left a beggar.  Want of this precaution has been the cause of many failures after people had made fortunes, but unfortunately merchants consider thenselves entitled or rather disgraced, unless they will trade not only up to their capital but as far beyond it as they can obtain credit.  What better is this than a Gambler staking his ?? on games of chance & doubling his betts every time he wins: it is true that chance may? favor him for a time, luck however (as it is termed by the thoughtless) must change ? is soon broke & ruined, & such is the fate of Merchants who make use of all their capital & credit in commerce in the Shipping line, nor have I ever known one to succeed ? this principle for any length of time.
 
I am perfectly sensible that had I have placed my spare money at Interest instead of investing it in real estate that it would have been much more productive in my own life time.  this however was not my object, because ? life was uncertain & I might have a young family to take chance in the world, considering myself therefore acting for my posterity, I have thought it better to have more real Estate than money or stocks, the two latter being too easy parted with, whilst the former is more likely to stick by them, & is the last thing that young people think of selling after everything else is disposed of. ~
 
In the course of an active & extensive pursuit in commerce for more than half a century, it now affords me some pleasure, to believe & to say, that in the course of that ? I have made the fortunes of some, saved others from ruin, and have found employment & Bread for thousands of my fellow mortals, and I can further say with satisfaction, that no one could ever come to me & say, Neighbor, or friend, you got the advantage of me.  I was uninformed of the late news & the rise of the market, nor could any one ? say to me, you acted unfriendly or ungenerously by me, first in taking advantage ? necessities by resisting me for the moment & afterward in obtaining my property at a..............
.............In order to get through the world with ease & satisfaction in large concerns, It is not only necessary to be always just but often generous, nor is there any thing lost by this when it is considered, that those who act on this principle will generally have a prefernce in all their dealings with others. ~
 
In early life at Philad'a. I experienced considerable inconvenience in not being able ti find young people suitable for companions.  they were almost all more or less tainted with folly or vice and did not seem to suit my turn of mind.  this obliged me to associate with people much older than myself, & to take to the study of Books to fill up my time, both of which I found of great advantage as it led to warm friendships that lasted through life without a single exception.  at this time I applied myself pretty much to the study of natural Philosophy for which I had a great propensity, & had I then possessed an independence of two thousand dollars a year, Neptune should never have sported with my fortune & feelings in future life. ~
 
On my arrival in the West Indies in the year 1776 it opened quite a new scene to me for which I was little qualified, for I had previously lived all my life among religious people of correct principles, and it was quite the contrary with most of my new acquaintances & those I had to transact business with.  no one came there to settle for life, all were in quest of fortune to retire & spend it elsewhere, character was little thought of, of course it required the utmost circumspection & caution to steer clear of difficulties, a kind superintending providence in this as in many other concerns of my life enabled me however to surmount every difficulty young & inexperienced as I then was.
(Note 2)
 
I have never sought for Offices of Honor or profit, when I have in any way acted in a public capacity.  it was from a sense of duty which I could not well avoid, for I considered that every good Citizen should contribute more or less for the good of Society when he can do it without too much ? inconvenience to himself.  I always considered it a duty to my family to keep ? as much as possible under my own eye so that I have seldom in my life left home either on business or pleasure since I had a family.  my great desire to keep my sons in view induced me to pass them all (seven in number) through my own Counting house, this was a kind of useful finish to their education as it gave them a knowledge of accounts & business, & qualified them ? future life be their pursuits what it might, and ever since ? it has been an invariable rule with me to be the............ see that the fires & lights were secured before I retired..........I found two advantages.  one was that there was little.........under my own roof, and the other that it induced my family to keep regular hours. ~
(Wm. Patterson Page 3)
 
I inherited nothing of any consequence from my forefathers, nor have I benefited any thing from public favors or appointments.  what I possess is solely the fruits of my own Industry & labour, and what I shall leave my descendants ought to satisfy ? in a Country & under a government like ours, where industry, frugality & merit are the only sure and certain road to respect & consequence.
 
I think it was Doctor Franklin who observed, that he would have no objection ? live his life over again provided it was so ordered.  in this I cannot altogether agree with the Doctor, my life has been attended with too much care & anxiety, and had ?option, I cannot say that I would desire it, yet if I had my life to live over again, I am not conscious that I could improve it in any particular or at any period. ~
 
I have thought it necessary to say thus much for the benefit of my descendants, and by way of justification for the contents of my following Will, wherein it may be considered by some that I have been rather liberal in the Legacies & bequests I shall make, otherwise than to my family & connexions.
 
________________________________________________________
 
In the name of God, Amen!
I William Patterson of the City of Baltimore & State of Maryland, Merchant, being of sound & disposing mind memory & understanding, praised be Almighty God for the same, do hereby make ordain & publish this as my Last Will & Testament in manner & form following, vizt.
I do will & direct that my Executors herein after named, cause my body to be buried in ? family burying ground at my cold Strem place, opposite the centre of the middle wall that leads up from the gate or entrance, and that they cause to be erected over the grave, a small marble monument with four or six sides, for the purpose of engraving thereon my name & age, the name & age of my dear departed wife Dorcas and the names & ages of all our dear children who may have departed this life before ?.
In addition to the two squares of ground lately conveyed by me to the Mayor & City Council of Baltimore on Hamstead Hill for a public walk? I do hereby Will & devise to the ? Mayor & City Council of Baltimore & to their successors in office for the time being ? hundred & fifty shares of my United States Bank Stock in trust, for the purpose herein after mentioned, first for erecting a temple of Liberty on the two squares above mentioned, also two monuments, one to the memory of Christopher Columbus who found the way to this Western World, and the other to the memory of the ? Marquis (now General) La Fayette, who risked his life & sacrificed his fortune..........through his means & interest that France joined & continued with us in the Revolutionary War and that without their aid & assistance at the time we could not otherwise have obtained our Independence when we did, but as the value of those 150 shares of United States Bank Stock must fall greatly short of the objects I have in view of erecting a temple of Liberty & the two monuments above mentioned, I must here earnestly request & recommend of the trustees of this fund for the time being, that the said 150 shares of U.S. Bank Stock, or the value, or the proceeds thereof, be kept & continued at interest, together with the dividends & interest that may be received from time to time, until the principal & interest shall so accumulate as to reach & produce the sum of half a million of dollars, (which if well managed will take place in about sixty years after my death) after which that the Interest only of this sum shall be made use of & expended annually, first in the erction of the temple of Liberty, & when completed, then in the erection of the two monuments in the order above mentioned, and after the completion of the Temple of Liberty & the two monuments from the annual Interest of the above fund of $500,000, it is then my wish & desire that the annual Interest of the said fund of $500,000 be employed in preserving the navigation of the Harbour of Baltimore yearly & every year without breaking in upon or touching on the principal so long as the fund shall exist, or in case the Interest may not be required for the preservation of the navigastion, then it may be employed to any other useful purpose of public improvement, at the discretion of the Mayor & City Council for the time being, and it is further my request & desire, that the trustees for the said fund for the time being, shall at the expiration of two years after my decease, cause a gold medal of the value of one hundred Dollars to be provided and given to the author of the best piece Essay or production on, Liberty, not exceeding one hundred lines in either prose or verse by a native American, and that the like reward be given for the same purpose at the end of every fifth year thereafter during the existence of the fund.
3d.  I give & devise to Nancy Patterson Widow of my son William, in case she should survive me, an annuity of five hundred dollars a year to be paid her by my Executors yearly & every year during her natural life, likewise to Miss Nancy Spear on like conditions an annuity of one hundred dollars a year, but on this express condition that she shall never after my death attend any of the sessions of Congress at Washington or elsewhere, for this annuity is solely intended to provide against the calls & infirmities of old age, & not for the gratification of folly or ambition, likewise to Sarah Wheeler my present house keeper provided she remains in my service till my death, an annuity of fifty Dollars a year during her natural life.  Madam Volenbrune who lives in one of my Houses in Harrison Street paid her rent regularly for many years, but from a change in her circumstances is now owing rent for several years past.  It is my Will & desire that she shall not be called on or troubled for the rent she owes or may owe & that she shall be suffered to remain in the said House rent free during her natural life for ? able, I have no doubts but she will pay all she owes or and .has occupied a house of mine behind that of .
4th.  The Charitable Marine Society of the City of Baltimore being one of the best & most meritorius Institutions that I know of, and I cannot but here regret that so many of our wealthy Citizens who have departed this life (Page 4 Wm. Patterson) already have omitted or neglected to make any provision for this very useful Institution, I do therefore hereby give & devise to the said Charitable Marine Society of the City of Baltimore thirty (say 30) shares of my United States Bank Stock or the value thereof as provided for hereafter in the following fifth clause of my Will. ~
5th.  I give & devise to the following persons, or to such of them as may survive me, the following shares of my United States Bank Stock vizt. to my grand son William, son od William twenty (20) shares, to my grandson Jerome Napolean twenty (20) shares, to my son Joseph's three children, William, Charlotte & Joseph, each ten (10) shares, and to my Son Edward's three children, Margaret, Laura, & Edward, each ten (10) shares, and to Mrs. Providence Garvin (wife of John Garvin Esqr, of Gettisburg) ten (10) shares, and it is my will & desire that any monies borrowed or that may hereafter be borrowed on a pledge of all or of any part of my United States Bank Stock shares be paid off & discharged out of some other part or parts of my personal Estate, or at all events so, that the shares now devised to the several Institutions & individuals shall be left clear & free & unincumbered, so that they may be transferred to the several parties without unnecessary delay or difficulty, but should it so happen from any cause whatever, that the said shares of Stock here devised, cannot be made over & transferred to the several parties here intend, then & in that case, I will & devise that each & every of them shall receive out of my other personal Estate, or Leasehold property a sum in money at the rate of one hundred Dollars a share for each & every share here intended for each & every of them the said parties.  But I do not mean or intend that my real Estate shall be bound or liable in any respect for the whole or for any part of the Legacies mentioned in this my last Will & Testament.
6th.  I give & devise to my two sons Joseph & Edward in trust for the use & benefit of Matilda? Summers (Daughter of Mrs. Providence Summers, now the wife of John Garvin Esqr. of Gettisburg Pennsylvania) born at Lancaster in Pennsylvania in the month of March 1817, first the lower brick slated Store & Lot on the west side of Commerce street lately purchased from the City Bank , Second the store & Lot on the east side of South Street purchased of General John Stricker. 
 
(to be continued)
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Note 1? (on side of first page)
Hylegar? at the second and the Marquis de Buttie at the latter, they are all since dead, but to their memories to observe, that they one & all contributed great; in promoting the Interest of America in affording every facility in their power to the Americans who lived under their Governments.  Governor de Graff in particular was called home to Holland to answer for the partiality shown the American."

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