Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Michael Leib, 28 April 1802

From Michael Leib

Washington April 28th. 1802.


The power of appointing Commissioners of Bankruptcy being very properly delegated to you by a law, which has just passed the Legislature, I take the liberty to name to you two gentlemen, who are, in my apprehension, well calculated, both as to character and qualifications to fulfill this trust—John W. Vancleve and Samson Levy are the gentlemen to whom I allude—They are respectable practitioners of the law, independent in their circumstances, and disengaged from all mercantile or speculating connections—

I have taken the liberty of recommending men of this description, because they are not likely to expose the Executive to censure by the commission of acts of Bankruptcy themselves; because the practise has heretofore obtained of appointing Commissioners not engaged in commerce; and because I feel a persuasion, that they will be acceptable to our friends—

As I have no other object in view in this nomination, than the promotion of our common cause, the general good, I trust you will pardon the liberty I have taken in offering to you my opinions—

With sentiments of sincere respect I am, Sir, Your obedient servant

M Leib

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); at foot of text: “The President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 28 Apr. and “Levy & Vancleve to be Commrs. bkrptcy Phila.” and so recorded in SJL.

In June 1802, TJ appointed JOHN W. VANCLEVE, a member of the Philadelphia bar since 1797, a general commissioner of bankruptcy for the district of Pennsylvania. Admitted to the Philadelphia bar in 1787, SAMSON LEVY was among the Republicans who signed the memorial to the Senate against repeal of the Judiciary Act of 1801. He was not appointed a bankruptcy commissioner (John H. Martin, Martin’s Bench and Bar of Philadelphia [Philadelphia, 1883], 287, 319; Higginbotham, Pennsylvania Politics description begins Sanford W. Higginbotham, The Keystone in the Democratic Arch: Pennsylvania Politics 1800–1816, Harrisburg, 1952 description ends , 42–3; Gazette of the United States, 5 Feb. 1802; Appendix II, Lists 1 and 2).

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