Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Elijah Griffiths, 30 July 1802

From Elijah Griffiths

Philadelphia July 30—1802

Dear Sir,

Mr William Dewees, a practitioner at our Bar, has been advised by his friends to apply for the appointment of Commissioner of Bankruptcy. I have long known this gentleman; his principles & practice has been in unison with the friends of Elective Goverment; his connections are respectable; & his character as a professional man, Stands unimpeached.

Should Mr Dewees be approved of, it will gratify a number of your friends here, who are satisfied the trust will be discharged with ability & integrity; it will be particularly pleasing to the citizens of the county of Philadelphia, where he proposes to reside; & I take the liberty of adding, it will very much oblige your friend & Huml. Sert.

E. Griffiths

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr. President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 5 Aug. and “Dewees Wm. to be Commr. bkrptcy” and so recorded in SJL.

TJ saw two other recommendations in favor of WILLIAM DEWEES, a member of the Philadelphia bar since 1799 (John H. Martin, Martin’s Bench and Bar of Philadelphia [Philadelphia, 1883], 263). Benjamin R. Morgan wrote Madison on 29 July, noting that the Dewees family had “long been establish’d” in Philadelphia and that Dewees, a reputable attorney, was moving to the county of Philadelphia, where the late John W. Vancleve had resided (RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR; endorsed by TJ: “Dewees Wm. to be Commr. bkrptcy”). In a letter to Madison, dated 16 Aug., John Dawson recommended Dewees as “a gentleman of character and of reputation in his profession as a lawyer” (RC in same; endorsed by TJ: “Dewees Wm. to be Commr. bankrupts vice Vancleve”).

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