Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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PINTARD, Lewis, merchant, born in New York city, 12 October, 1732 ; died in Princeton, New Jersey, 25 March, 1818. He was descended from a French Protestant family that fled to this country on the revocation of the edict of Nantes. At the age of sixteen he succeeded his father in a large shipping and commission business with the East Indies and London. During the Revolutionary war he was agent for American prisoners, and administered the scanty funds that congress was able to supply toward mitigating the sufferings of the captives with fidelity and economy, for which he received the thanks of General Washington. After the war he was the chief importer of Madeira wine into the United States, and exporter of flaxseed to Ireland, but, owing to the failure of his consignee in Dublin, his cargoes were seized and bills drawn to the amount of £20,000 were sent back protested. He then engaged in the importation of sugar and molasses from the West Indies, which he carried on with much success until the interference with American vessels by British cruisers in 1812 led to his retirement. He withdrew to Princeton, New Jersey. where he spent the latter part of his life. Mr. Pintard ranked as one of the great merchants of his time, and was one of the incorporators of the Chamber of commerce, which was established by George III. in 1770 and by the New York legislature in 1784. He married Susannah Stockton, sister of Richard Stockton, and was connected with many of the best families in this country.--His nephew, John, philanthropist, born in New York city, 18 May, 1759; died there, 21 June, 1844. On the arrival of the British troops in New York city he left Princeton college and joined the patriot forces, but returned in time to receive his degree in 1776. Subsequently he served on several military expeditions and then became deputy commissary of American prisoners in New York under his uncle, Louis. In this capacity it was his duty to examine and relieve the wants of the prisoners, and he continued so engaged until 1781. After peace had been established he turned his attention to the shipping business, having inherited a large fortune from his mother, which he subsequently lost by engaging with William Duer in Alexander Hamilton's scheme for funding the national debt. In 1787 he was sent to the legislature, and for a time he was also translator of the French language for the government. He edited the New York '" Daily Advertiser" in 1802, but he soon relinquished it and visited New Orleans on business. The knowledge of the province of Louisiana that he acquired there led to his being called in 1803 by Albert Gallatin, then secretary of the treasury, to express his views as to the natural resources of this colony, and he responded favorably. Indeed, his exact information concerning the value of tile province was beyond doubt the most important consideratiou submitted to the authorities, and the one that led to its purchase. For many years after 1804 he was first city inspector, and during the war of 1812, owing to scarcity of change, he was authorized by the corporation to issue notes of fractional denominations. He was secretary of the Mutual assurance company fronl 1809 till 1829, and in 1819 he originated the first savings bank that was established in New York city. serving as its second president from 1823 till 1842. From 1819 till 1829 he was secretary of the New York chamber of commerce, and it was principally through his interest that that body was reestablished after the war. Mr. Pintard was treasurer of the Sailors' Snug Harbor in 1819-'23, and he was instrumental in the purchase of property on Staten island, where the home is now located. In 1804 he was active in founding the New York historical society, to which he presented many valuable works on colonial history, and he was likewise instrumental in establishing the Massachusetts historical society in 1791, winning the title of "father of historical societies" in this country. Mr. Pintard was also active in the foundation of the American Bible society, served as its secretary and then as its vice-president, and was tile first sagamore of the Tammany society. He was manager of lotteries in New York city when such were fashionable, and it is believed that Columbia college received the grant of the Botanic gardens, containing twenty acres, by his intervention and the aid of De Witt Clinton and David Hosaek. On 19 February, 1805, with others, he began the efforts that resulted in the present free-school system of New York city, and he was also active in all the movements that resulted in the building and completion of the Erie canal. Mr. Pintard projected the plan of streets and avenues that is now in existence in the upper part of New York. From 1800 till near the close of his life there were few enterprises of public utility that he did not further by his pen and purse. Mr. Pintard was one of the chief supporters of the General theological seminary, devising ways and means for its removal from New Haven to New York city, and presenting it with many valuable works. In 1885 Pintard Hall, one of the dormitories of the seminary, was erected in his honor. The degree of LB. D. was conferred on him by Allegheny college in 1822. He published an account of New Orleans in the" New York Medical Repository," and a notice of " Philip Freneau" in the "New York Mirror" (1833), and translated the " Book of Common Prayer" into French for the Huguenot church in New York city, of which he was a vestryman for thirty-four years. His version is still used.
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