Thomas Jefferson Papers

Memorandum from Thomas Munroe, [15 June 1802]

Memorandum from Thomas Munroe

[15 June 1802]

City of Washington Dr. to The State of Maryland

to 1t. Apl to 1. July
1802. 1802
Interest on $200,000 Loaned, from
1t. Jany. 1801.
$15,000. $18,000
Ditto on $50,0000   from
1t. Octr. 1801.
$ 1,500.  2,250
$16,500  $20,250
principal becoming due 1t. november 1802 $50,000 
Interest on Do. as above to
1 July 1802
Do. from 1 July to 1 novem   $ 1000    3,250  $53,250

The terms of the Loan of $200,000 are, Interest to be paid quarterly & principal Reimbursable at any time after the year 1803 by instalments not exceeding one fifth of the whole sum borrowed in any one year

RC (DLC: District of Columbia Papers); undated; endorsed by TJ as received from the Washington superintendent on 15 June and “state of debt to Maryland.”

Thomas Munroe (1771–1852), son of Annapolis merchant William Munroe, settled in the District of Columbia around 1791. He held the office of postmaster for the city of Washington from 1799 to 1829. He served as clerk for the District of Columbia Commissioners, before the dissolution of the board. “Reposing special Trust and Confidence” in his “Integrity, Skill and Diligence,” TJ signed a commission, dated 2 June 1802, appointing Munroe superintendent of the city of Washington, the new office created by Congress. The superintendent was to be appointed by and under the control of the president. Munroe remained in the position until 1815. He was also actively involved in the financial, business, and cultural affairs of the city. He became a founding trustee of the Washington public school system in 1805 and was one of the incorporators in 1808 of the Washington Bridge Company. He served as a director of the District of Columbia branch of the Bank of the United States and of several other local banks, becoming president of the National Bank of Washington in 1830 (Latrobe, Correspondence description begins John C. Van Horne and Lee W. Formwalt, eds., The Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, New Haven, 1984–88, 3 vols. description ends , 1:260–1; RCHS description begins Records of the Columbia Historical Society, 1895–1989 description ends , 8 [1905], 28–9, 31, 38; 46–47 [1947], 282–3; National Intelligencer, 17 July, 7 Aug. 1805; Stets, Postmasters description begins Robert J. Stets, Postmasters & Post offices of the United States 1782–1811, Lake Oswego, Ore., 1994 description ends , 107; U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, Boston, 1855–56, 8 vols. description ends , 2:175–6; FC of commission in Lb in DNA: RG 59, MPTPC).

On 11 June, TJ received an “Estimate of Debts Due to City of Washington” from Munroe, listing the names of those indebted to the city and the amounts of money owed. By Munroe’s calculation, a total of $34,394 remained due to the city, including $18,500 for lots purchased by Uriah Forrest, Benjamin Stoddert, John Templeman, and Gustavus Scott, as well as $1,850 for lots from William Thornton. The estimate specifically excluded some $65,000 due from Robert Morris and John Nicholson and an additional $8,000 owed by the heirs of Walter Stewart. Regarding these latter debts, Munroe predicted that “there is no probability of collecting otherwise than by resale of the property purchased” (RC in DLC, undated, endorsed by TJ as received from the Washington superintendent on 11 June and “state of debts”).

About the same time, Munroe prepared an “Estimate of Debts Due from the City of Washington,” excluding the loans from the United States and the state of Maryland. The estimate totaled $4,882, including $2,500 due to the Bank of Columbia “early next month,” $1,120 to Leonard Harbaugh “for building Executive Offices,” $508 to James Hoban for the balance of his salary as superintendent of public buildings, $230 to John Thomson Mason in attorney fees, $160 to Robert King for wages as surveyor, $96 to Samuel Harrison Smith for advertising, and $45 to William Brent for his salary as “Assistant Clerk to December last.” At the foot of the estimate, Munroe added a query “as to balance of about $2250 due for square purchased by U.S. for Marine barracks” (MS in same; undated).

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