Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from George Davis, 19 July 1802

From George Davis

Philadelphia July 19. 1802.


From the late death of my friend J. W. Vancleve Esq. I take the liberty of introducing myself to your attention for the purpose of filling the Office of a Commissioner of Bankrupts now become vacant in this district—I have the honor of being well known and on terms of acquaintance say friendship1 with the five surviving Gentlemen, added to which my early attention when I was first placed out to pursue the Law, was directed particularly to that department of the Sollicitors practice in England, where I served a regular Clerkship, and for many years afterwards acted in the profession as an Attorney at Law with reputation—I am and have been long a Citizen of the United States, have been resident in Philadelphia upwards of Eighteen Years—ten of which were industriously and honorably spent in the Superintendance of the Office of the prothonotary of the Supreme Court of this State—Since which I have followed mercantile Affairs, confining my self chiefly to the importation and sale of Law Books. I beg Sir you will be pleased to pardon the freedom I have assumed by these Communications, and that your goodness will permit me to look towards the grant I sollicit.

I have the honor to be most respectfully Sir Your Obedt. hble Servt

Geo Davis

I have made free to inclose you a late Law Catalogue, and shall be extremely thankful for your Commands.

G D.

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); at foot of text: “His Excellency Thos. Jefferson Esqr.”; endorsed by TJ as received 20 July and “to be Commr. bkrptcy” and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Biblíotheca Legum Anglíae. Davis’s Law Catalogue for 1802. . . 1803, of Latest English and Irish Editions (Philadelphia, 1802; Shaw-Shoemaker description begins Ralph R. Shaw and Richard H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801–1819, New York, 1958–63, 22 vols. description ends , No. 2118).

Davis may have been an assistant clerk to Edward Burd, who served a long tenure as PROTHONOTARY of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania during the time of Davis’s residence in Philadelphia. Davis operated a law bookstore on High Street in Philadelphia and served for many years as secretary of the city’s Society of the Sons of St. George (John Hill Martin, Martin’s Bench and Bar of Philadelphia [Philadelphia, 1883], 26; Gazette of the United States, 15 Dec. 1795; James Robinson, The Philadelphia Directory, City and County Register, for 1802 [Philadelphia, 1801], xxvii).

1Preceding two words interlined.

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