Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Daniel Carroll Brent, 21 January 1803

From Daniel Carroll Brent

Washington, January 21st. 1803


I now enclose you the account and copies of the Contract and Bill of particulars respecting the Jail directed at the last Session of Congress, to be built in this City.

Although every effort was made to complete the Plan adopted for the Sum appropriated, it could not be done:—it was then determined to finish only certain parts of the Building, and to keep the amount for such as should be finished within the appropriation—Messrs. Huddlestone & Nesmith contracted to complete all the Building except the interior of the west wing and the Iron grated Doors which were at first contemplated to be put in, for the Sum of Dollars 7,426. and Mr. George Hadfield, whose Plan was adopted was appointed to superintend the erection of the Building.—An Estimate of the Sum necessary to complete the west wing in the same manner as the east wing, is herewith transmitted which amounts to the Sum of two thousand five hundred & seventy seven Dollars leaving out all the iron grated Doors—if a Kitchen should be built, and one is absolutely necessary, the further Sum of about three hundred Dollars will be wanted—

The Contractors have completed their Work, except a few articles which will be done.—In the 6th Article of the Contract, it is stipulated that such alterations or additions to the mode of building the Jail as could not be adjusted by the Parties, was to be left to reference—Some alterations were considered as proper and directed by the Superintendent, and one respecting the cell Doors was directed by me. The Contractors claim for extra Work, the Sum of one thousand and ninety eight Dollars:—on this subject however, there is a considerable difference between the Superintendent and them.—They claim for many things as extra work—which he does not admit to be extra. There is also a difference of opinion between them on the amount of the deduction that ought to be made in the Iron work—If he is correct in his opinion, there remains the Sum of Dollars $449. for extra work only to be examined, which will be seen by a reference to his Letter to me a copy of which is sent. The Contractors under the 5th Article of the Contract, claim a right of reference upon those subjects. If all these claims should be established & congress determine to finish the Jail and build the Kitchen, the Sum of Dollars 3,70266/100 in addition to the Sum of Dollars 27234/100 of the Sum appropriated which is in hand, will be requisite.—

When I appointed Mr. Hadfield the Superintendent, I agreed to give him for his services the Sum of two hundred Dollars, and this is the amount of his claim against me; but he states that he thinks this Sum too small a compensation for his trouble—he has, in drawing Plans, making out Bills of particulars & Estimates and superintending the work, been closely engaged for seven months, and that two Dollars per day for his services cannot be thought unreasonable—and I must do Mr. Hadfield the Justice to say, that I think the Sum of $200 is not a sufficient compensation for his trouble, and I believe he has been very attentive—If it should be thought proper to come up to Mr. Hadfield’s idea, the Sum of $220 more will be wanted on his account.

with sentiments of the highest respect I am Sir yr. obt sert

Daniel C. Brent

RC (DNA: RG 233, PM, 7th Cong., 2d sess.); in a clerk’s hand, closing and signature in Brent’s hand; addressed: “The President”; endorsed by TJ as received 22 Jan. and so recorded in SJL; endorsed by a House clerk. Tr (DNA: RG 46, LPPM); in Meriwether Lewis’s hand. Enclosures: (1) Statement of account between the United States and Brent, 21 Jan. 1803, listing payments made by Brent from 26 July 1802 to 20 Jan. 1803, recording a balance of $272.34 remaining in Brent’s hands, and a list of warrants drawn on the Treasury Department from 20 Aug. to 12 Oct. 1802 from the appropriation of $8,000 for the Washington jail, recording a balance of $2,200 not yet drawn (MS in DNA: RG 233, PM, in a clerk’s hand, signed by Brent; Tr in DNA: RG 46, LPPM, in Lewis’s hand). (2) George Hadfield to Brent, Washington, 19 Jan. 1803, informing Brent that the new jail is finished except for a few items that may be completed at a later time; Hadfield believes the work has been done “with fidelity to the Contract” and describes the structure as “plain but the work is strong substantial and firm”; some extra expenses have unavoidably arisen, either for work deemed “greatly advantageous to the Building” or other unforeseen contingencies; in consequence of these additional articles, the contractors have brought $962 in extra claims, of which Hadfield rejected $253 as unfounded; the remaining $709 is for iron work and “other Articles ordered for reasons as above mentioned”; Hadfield deducts an additional $260 for the omission of the iron frames, leaving a remaining sum of $449 for “extras to be examined”; Hadfield presumes that if Brent approves of the building, he will receive it and close the contract with the undertakers without delay, leaving the business of the extra claims to be settled at a later time; in a postscript, Hadfield adds a list of “Articles to be completed by agreement,” which includes painting the cornice of the north side and two ends, pointing in slating, finishing painting the inside and outside bars, fixing the grate in the jailer’s room, and repairing any plaster damaged by frost; Hadfield closes by stating that another claim by James Maitland amounting to £52.4 “is positively inadmissable” (Tr in DNA: RG 233, PM, endorsed by a House clerk; Tr in DNA: RG 46, LPPM, in Lewis’s hand). (3) George Hadfield, “Estimate of the expence necessary for finishing the interior of the West side of the new Jail in the City of Washington,” dated Washington, 18 Jan. 1803, estimating a total cost of $2,577 for labor and materials, with a notation in Brent’s hand at the foot of text, “Iron Grated Door in this Estimate is not included, or is the Kitchen, which if built will cost about 300$” (MS in DNA: RG 233, PM, endorsed by a House clerk; Tr in DNA: RG 46, LPPM, in Lewis’s hand). Printed in Message from the President of the United States, Transmitting Sundry Documents, Relative to the Affairs of the City of Washington, in the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C., 1803), 13–17. Other enclosures not found. All enclosed in TJ to the Senate and the House of Representatives, 24 Jan. 1803.

For the construction on the new jail in Washington, D.C., see Vol. 37:138–40, 665–6, 694–6; Vol. 38:155–6, 164–5. Congress appropriated $8,000 for the purpose on 3 May 1802.

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