Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Robert Brent, 10 September 1801

From Robert Brent

Washington Sepr. 10th 1801.


Having understood that Mr. Meredith has resigned the office of Treasurer of the United States I take the liberty of informing you that I beg leave to be considered as a Candidate to fill this vacancy.

In imparting this wish to you, I cannot forbear assureing you that If I should be honored with the appointment, nothing shall be wanting on my part towards a proper discharge of it’s duties—fully to justify your confidence and to meet with credit the utmost responsibility of the Station. But if the superior Claims of some other person, (and I am by no means sanguine, myself,) eventually shall induce you to prefer him for the appointment in question, be assured, Sir, that this Circumstance will not in the smallest degree diminish my attachment for your person, or lessen my zeal in your Administration: for on this, as on all other occasions you will have done, I am persuaded, what you think most conducive to the advantage of your Country. If however you should think favorably of my application, I would in that case procure abundant and the most respectable Testimonials in my favor if required.   In the mean time it may not be amiss to inform you that during the greater part of my life I have been much employed in the detail of Accts. having been trained to them from my Youth, and that I am at this time, & have long been a Director of the Bank of Columbia

I have the Honor to be, with great and respectful attachment, Sir, Your Most Obt Servt

Robert Brent

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); endorsed by TJ as received 17 Sep. and so recorded in SJL with notation “Off.”; also endorsed by TJ: “to be Treasurer.”

Robert Brent (1764–1819), son of Robert and Anne Carroll Brent of Aquia, Virginia, had been a director of the Bank of Columbia since at least 1798. Brent resided with his father-in-law, Notley Young, in Washington, D.C., and was a justice of the peace in Washington County. In 1802, TJ appointed Brent to be the first mayor of Washington. TJ and his successor, James Madison, appointed Brent annually to this position until it became an elective office in 1812. In 1806, TJ appointed Brent to be a judge of the Orphan’s Court for Washington County (Washington, Papers, Pres. Ser. description begins W. W. Abbot, Dorothy Twohig, Philander D. Chase, Theodore J. Crackel, and others, eds., The Papers of George Washington, Charlottesville, 1983–, 48 vols.: Presidential Series, 1987–, 12 vols. description ends , 9:20; Washington Gazette, 17–24 Mch. 1798; Bryan, National Capital description begins Wilhelmus B. Bryan, A History of the National Capital from Its Foundation through the Period of the Adoption of the Organic Act, New York, 1914–16, 2 vols. description ends , 1:467, 573; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828, 3 vols. description ends , 1:388, 404, 2:33; RS description begins J. Jefferson Looney and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series, Princeton, 2004–, 4 vols. description ends , 1:12n).

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