From William Helms
Washington 30th April 1802
By the Judiciary Law just passed the two houses of Congress, the appointment of Commissioners of Bankrupcy is with the President of the United States, permit me to mention the name of John W. Van Cleive Esquire as a person whose Appointment would be satisfactory, This gentleman is originaly from Jersey where I was well acquainted with him, and know his principles to be good, and his integrity unimpeachable—
With due respect Your Obedt. Servant
RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); at foot of text: “The President of the U.S.”; endorsed by TJ as received 30 Apr. and “Van Cleive John W. to be a Commr. of loan” and so recorded in SJL but as “Commr. bkrpt.”
Born in Sussex County, New Jersey, William Helms (d. 1813), a Revolutionary War veteran, served in the New Jersey General Assembly in 1791 and 1792. He was one of five Jeffersonian Republicans elected to Congress from New Jersey in 1800 and served in the House of Representatives from 1801 to 1811. He then moved to Hamilton County, Ohio (Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989, Washington, D.C., 1989 description ends ; Prince, New Jersey’s Jeffersonian Republicans description begins Carl E. Prince, New Jersey’s Jeffersonian Republicans: The Genesis of an Early Party Machine, 1789–1817, Chapel Hill, 1967 description ends , 63–5).
New Jersey congressman John Condit also recommended Vancleve, as recorded on an undated scrap of paper, probably by Meriwether Lewis: “John Van Cleave who is recommended for some appointment is thought to be by Dr. Condit a proper Character” (MS in DNA: RG 59, LAR, 7:0194; Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989, Washington, D.C., 1989 description ends ).