Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Daniel Carroll Brent, 18 March 1801

To Daniel Carroll Brent

Mar. 18. 1801.


Being to appoint a Marshall for the district of Columbia it has been intimated to me by a mutual friend that you might perhaps be willing to accept of that office. on this suggestion I take the liberty of proposing it to you. as a court is to be held here on Monday next, it becomes necessary for me to ask the favor of an answer by the bearer, mr M[ason]’s servant who goes expected for this purpose, because should you decline it, I shall still have to make an appointment before Monday. my anxiety to place in the offices men who will give weight to them & command the public confidence inspires an earnest desire that this may be acceptable to you. I am Sir

Your most obedt. sevt

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); faint and blurred; at foot of text: “Daniel Carrol Brent esq.”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso.


Daniel Carroll Brent (1759–1814) was the son of Eleanor Carroll and William Brent of Richland, a plantation on the Potomac River, at Aquia Creek, in Stafford County, Virginia, and brother of Congressman Richard Brent. In 1782, Brent married Anne Fenton, daughter of Thomas Ludwell Lee. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1785 to 1787, 1799 to 1801, and 1812 to 1813. Winning a hard-fought campaign to serve as elector in 1796, Brent cast his vote for TJ. As a nephew of Daniel Carroll, one of three commissioners appointed to superintend the construction of the new Federal City in 1791, Brent had a long-term interest in the development of Washington. He served as U.S. marshal for the District of Columbia for almost seven years, submitting his resignation in Nov. 1807. When the militia for the District of Columbia was organized in 1802, TJ commissioned him as a lieutenant colonel, commandant of the first legion, including militia companies north of the Potomac (Leonard, General Assembly description begins Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619-January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, Richmond, 1978 description ends , 157, 162, 217, 221, 271; Robert A. Rutland, ed., The Papers of George Mason 1725–1792, 3 vols. [Chapel Hill, 1970], l:xxviii, xxxvi; Washington, Papers, Pres. Ser., 2:354; VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1893-Washington, Diaries Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds., The Diaries of George Washington, Charlottesville, 1976–79, 6 vols. description ends , 17 [1909], 194–5; RCHS description begins Records of the Columbia Historical Society, 1895–1989 description ends , 50 [1948–50], 387–8; Brent to James Madison, 4 Nov. 1807, in DNA: RG 59, RD; Vol. 29:193–5, 197n).

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