Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Thomas Munroe, 9 November 1802

From Thomas Munroe

Superintendant’s office
Washington 9th November 1802


I have perused and considered the inclosed representation of James M. Lingan, the original proprietor of the Ground within an open space in front of Square No. 78 in the City of Washington bounded by Pennsylvania Avenue, 20th. Street west and I. Street north, as also the enclosed three Letters from a Committee of the Citizens and House holders in that part of the City which lies west of the President’s house; in which representation and Letters the original proprietor aforesaid, as well as all the said Citizens and Householders two, who are absent excepted, by their Committee, solicit that the said open space may be appropriated or permitted to be used as a site for a Market house intended to be erected by private Contributions and established after the 1st December next, agreeably to an act of the City Corporation—under all the Circumstances attending the subject I think it would be right and proper to appropriate the said Space as solicited, and should appropriate the same accordingly, if I considered myself authorised so to do, but as I believe the President alone is authorised to grant the prayer of the applicants I have taken the liberty to submit it to his Consideration.

I have the Honor to be with the most respectful consideration Yr. mo. obt. Servt.

Thomas Munroe

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “President of the US”; endorsed by TJ as received 10 Nov. and “Western market house.” and so recorded in SJL. Dft (DNA: RG 42, LR). Enclosures: (1) James M. Lingan to Munroe, 28 Oct. 1802, stating that he consents to and joins in the solicitation of the president to appropriate an open space west of the President’s House, bound by Pennsylvania Avenue, 20th Street West, and I Street North, for the purpose of erecting a market house; Lingan is the original proprietor of the space and holds lots and houses nearby.(2) Joseph Hodgson, Timothy Caldwell, Joseph Brumley, James C. King, and Benjamin Perkins to Munroe, 27 Oct. 1802, responding to Munroe’s “verbal request” to know whether the market scheme would meet the approbation of property owners and residents contiguous to the proposed site; the authors give their consent to the plan, excepting “Mr. Gilchrist who resides in Philada. and Mr. Key who is now absent.” (3) Joseph Hodgson to Munroe, 8 Nov. 1802, noting the approach of winter and the anxiety of the subscribers to the proposed western market, and again soliciting “the necessary appropriations of the Ground heretofore applied for”; the committee appointed to erect the market house consider it improper to proceed until the site is secured, and Hodgson will call on Munroe in the afternoon in the hope that the business can be settled today (all in same). Other enclosure not found.

ACT OF THE CITY CORPORATION: as part of an act to establish and regulate markets passed 6 Oct. 1802, the Washington city council authorized a majority of householders residing west of the President’s House to petition the mayor after 1 Dec. for the establishment of a market, provided that the market house was built at private expense. Mayor Robert Brent proclaimed the opening of the West Market on 3 Dec. 1802 (Acts of the Corporation of the City of Washington, Passed by the First Council [Washington, D.C., 1803], 20; National Intelligencer, 6 Dec. 1802).

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