James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Robert Brent, 19 May 1809

From Robert Brent

City of Washn. May 19th 1809

Dr Sir

My Appointment, as Mayor of this City will expire on the last of this Month.

I take the liberty of intimating to you, least you should think of Conferring that appointment again on me, that it will neither be proper, or in my power, to act again.

My other duties, both of a public & private nature, have heretofore prevented, & will continue to prevent me from attending to the duties of that station in the Manner they certainly merit.1 Under these impressions I have deem’d it proper to give you this timely intimation that you may have an opportunity of fixing upon my successor before my time expires.

I have the honor to be with sentiments of great respect & Esteem Dear Sir Your Mo Obt Ser

Robert Brent


1Robert Brent (1764–1819) was first appointed mayor of Washington by Jefferson in 1802. He made repeated efforts to avoid renomination for the nonsalaried position. He also served (and was paid accordingly) as judge of the orphan’s court and paymaster general of the army. He was reappointed by JM and served as mayor until 1812, when the office was made elective (Bryan, History of the National Capital, 1:467).

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