Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Robert Brent, 4 February 1803

From Robert Brent

Feby 4th 1803


I take the liberty of enclosing a Memorial which has this day been presented me Soliciting my recommendation of Mr. Samuel Speake as a Justice of the peace, for the reasons therein stated—

I will add nothing to what has been stated in the memorial—which I am sure will have its full weight with you—when ever you may enter upon further appointments then those in Commission—

With Sentiments of Esteem & respect I have the honor to be Sir Your Mo Ob Sert.,

Robert Brent

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); endorsed by TJ as received 4 Feb. and “Speake to be justice of Columbia” and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Thomas B. Morriss and others to Robert Brent, Washington, D.C., 29 Jan. 1803, stating that although there are already several justices of the peace commissioned in the city, experience has found that it is “often very inconvenient to them to attend to the various Plaints and numerous Causes in this City”; this has led to frequent delays and inconvenience to suitors, “particularly so to the Poorer Class of Citizens”; the petitioners therefore ask Brent to recommend Samuel Speake’s appointment as a justice of the peace to the president, believing that Speake will be able to carry out his official duties “without material injury to his Domestic Concerns” (same; signed by Morriss and ten others).

samuel speake did not receive an appointment from TJ. A member of the Washington, D.C., militia, Speake later worked as an auctioneer and operated a boarding house patronized by members of Congress. He died in 1817 (Perry M. Goldman and James S. Young, eds., The United States Congressional Directories, 1789–1840 [New York, 1973], 42, 46, 49; Washington Federalist, 20 June 1803; National Intelligencer, 29 May, 27 Nov. 1807; Washington, D.C., Monitor, 19 Nov. 1808; City of Washington Gazette, 26 Dec. 1817).

Index Entries