Letters to and from William Brent concerning
the position of personal secretary to President Thomas Jefferson
Letter from William Brent to Meriwether Lewis, 25 February 1803, concerning the position
of private secretary to President Thomas Jefferson
Washington, 25th Feb’y 1803
I have naturely maturely considered the offer with which the President has honored me, through you. With every disposition to serve the President, I lament that I cannot have the pleasure of accepting the appointment of private secretary to him, without rearranging[?] very materially, plans which I have formed, and Business in which I am engaged, with views to a permanent establishment in the mercantile line.
My time is already occupied in attending to a variety of small concerns in which I am engaged, so much, that I find I have very little leisure to devote to others pursuits.
If, under the circumstances, I have mentioned it would be a convenience to the President to accept my services for a short time, until he shall have an opportunity of supplying my place it will afford me infinite satisfaction to be useful to him by aiding him from time to time, when my leisure will permit.
I beg you will accept my best thanks for the very friendly manner in which you have communicated to me the desire of the President and assure him of my gratitude for the kindness he has ??? me, of my respect and my sincere desire to render him service in any manner which may be in my power.
I am, Dear Sir,
with very great esteem & respect,
Yr mo: Ob Servt.
In 1805 William Brent took over as clerk of the circuit court for the District of Columbia and held that office until his death in 1848.
In an unrelated matter, William Brent wrote a letter to Jefferson in 1806 requesting the President’s acceptance of a pair of Bantam fowls. William had learned that Jefferson had expressed a wish for some chickens from this breed. The breed is “genuine” and the male is two years old and the female 20 months. Where he managed to find these is unknown.
William Brent, 1775-1848
Col. William Brent, notice of death, 1848
Gravestone of William and his second wife, Elizabeth Neale, Forest Glen, Maryland
Letter above from William Brent to Meriwether Lewis, 25 February 1803, is from the Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress Repository, Manuscript Division, http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/mtj.mtjbib012178
Anne Healy's Genealogy, Created October 2002
Photographs and web page content,Copyright © 2002-2009, Anne Field, all rights reserved.
Please feel free to link to my web page. For permission to use any pictures or content on my web pages, please email me at
|8 June 2020