Invoice dated 1791, for goods purchased on board the Sloop Merrimack, as shipped by Captain Henry Masters for Newbury consigned to Merchant Moses Brown.
Document is two pages, each with a nicely penned account of good purchased and sold; along with a brief note from Samuel Caotes. 9"x14". Fine condition, signed by twice by Samuel Coates (Once on front and once on back). This item is over 217 years old.
AMONG the merchants of Philadelphia who united the traditions
and experience of the ante-revolutionary period, with the stirring
activity and commercial excitement which followed the establishment
of peace, Samuel Coates for many reasons deserves mention,
He was in some sense a representative man, who kept up during
his life, in business matters, a full show of what commerce and
business had been in Philadelphia, in the good old time. He represented
that elass of merchants, of whom there were in former times
a large number in the city, who made business not only a means of
support merely, but enabled them 'to contribute largely to objects
of philanthropy and public benefit. After the signature of Samuel
Coates might properly have been written "philanthropist and
merchant." For although as a business man he was faithful and
discreet, yet during many years of his life, business was with him
of secondary importance to the prosecution of plans which were
for the benefit of others.
The Coates' are an old Philadelphia family. Thomas Coates, the
grandfather of the subject of this sketch, came to the city in 168-t,
from Leicestershire, England. As usual with the men of means of
that da}:, he became a landholder in the infant colony. But being
also of business education, he became a merchant, being exem-
porary with Samuel Carpenter and other enterprising citizens of
young Philadelphia. The father and mother of Samuel Coates
died whilst he was yet a child, and they left but small means. But
the boy found a friend in his uncle, John Reynell, and he was taken
into his family. Under the generous care of this patron, he was
carefully educated in the English branches, and received a very fair
elassie instruction, which controlled his tastes in afterlife.
directed the thoughts of his protegee to mercantile pursuits, and
he was secured an excellent business education. The confidence
of Reynell in the solid qualities and prudence of Samuel Coates,
was such, that in the year 1768, Samuel being then but nineteen
years old, he was furnished with a small capital, and trusted to
carry on business for himself. For three years this very young
merchant conducted his own affairs. The experiment was in every
way satisfactory, and in 1771 he was removed to a larger sphere,
being taken by his friend Reynell as a partner. This connection
was soon rendered of but little practical value by the events of tho
American Revolution, and after lingering through several «lull
years of the struggle, it was closed, in 1782, by the withdrawal of
John Reyiu'll, leaving .Samuel Coates in possession of the business.
A partnership of short duration was then formed by Samuel Coates
with his brother, Josiah Langdale Coates, but the latter soon withdrew
from the connection, and in 1785 to find that Samuel was in
business alone in a building at the northwest corner of Front and
Walnut streets, (still in existence,) and Josiah, as u grocer, in
Church alley, between Second and Third streets. In 1791 Samuel
was located as a merchant at 82 South Front street, at the corner
of Walnut street, which was the place of his business for many
years afterwards. He died in and was buried from this place.
After the close of the Revolution Mr. Coates devoted himself to
the establishment of a business with New England. Newburyport,
Mass., was at that time a place of active trade, and Coates opened
a correspondence with Moses Brown, and the Bartlett brothers.
Among other houses with which he had transactions, extending
over many years, were Benjamin Willis of Portland, Maine, and
John A. Curtis Bolton. of Savannah, Georgia.
The fearful epidemic of 1793 found Samuel Coates among the
few citizens of means who remained in the city. He was appointed,
together with Benjamin "W. Morris and George Rutter,
upon an assistant committee to the principal committee of citizens.
It was the duty of this sub-committee to seek out and recommend
suitable objects for relief. The boundaries of its jurisdiction was
from the south side of Walnut street to the north side of Spruee
street. During tho continuance of the epidemic Mr/ Coates was
earnest, useful and faithful. His duties at this time seem to have
directed his attention to matters of kindness and usefulness to his
fellow men; although before that time he had become connected
with some important institutions. He was elected a manager of
the Pennsylvania Hospital, in 178Л, in the place of George Mifflin,
deceased. Of this institution ho became an active and conscientious
supporter, serving in various offices, devoting his time to its
prosperity, and never failing in readiness to answer every demand
for his assistants. His fellow'.v managers testified their sense of his
services. in 1812, by electing him President of the Board, whir
office he was afterwards compelled to resign, upon account of physical infirmity, after forty-one years of unremitting attention to
the interests of the Hospital. His portrait, by Sully, is in the
possession of the institution, and honor well merited by his many
years of devotion to the interests of the aflliated.
A service nearly as long as that given to the hospital was extended
by Samuel Coates to the body entitled "Tho Overseers of
the Public Schools, founded by charter in the town and county of
Philadelphia;" which body was the ruling authority managing
what were called "the Quaker Schools," so long located on Fourth
street, below Chestnut. Mr. Coates was nominated and appointed
to be an "Overseer" in 1786, and resigned his position in 1823,
after a service of thirty-seven years.
In 1800 he was elected a Director of the first Bank of the United
States, and served in the Board with Thos. Willing, the President,
Elias Bnudinot, Samuel В reek, Arehibald MeCall, Wm. Bingham,
Robert Smith, Isaae Wharton, Thos. Ewing, Jeremiah Parker, and
others. The first Bank of the United States was managed on very
different principles from the second. It was one of the few banking
corporations in the country which ever wound up successfully
on the expiration of the term for which it was chartered; all its
debts were paid; the stock was paid in full, and in tho end—about
1811—every stockholder, beside his annual dividend, received
$197..12 for every 8100 invested. Mr. Coates' ideas of banking
were prudent, and if followed at this day could not result in anything
but a successful issue. His maxims on tho subject were as
1. A bank cannot bear the shadow of suspicion.
2. A bank is created to fulfill commerce, and has nought to
exist for any other purpose. [When these opinions were uttered,
manufactures had not become as important as they ПОЛУ are. The addition of "manufactures" to "commerce" would at this time
meet the theory of Mr. Coates.]
3. The proper check on the imprudent management of a bank
consists in a deadline of the market value of its stock.
4. No reasonable man will give money for the stock of a bank
at any price at all, if it was used for any other purpose than facilitating
commeree [or manufactures.]
5. Or if it to at a place that is not commercial [or a manufacturing
6. Or if its capital is out of proportion to the business of the
History from Biographies of Successful Philadelphia Merchants By Stephen Noyes Winslow
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