Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Zalegman Phillips, 1 October 1803

From Zalegman Phillips

Rhodes Hotel Washington
October 1st 1803

Respected Sir,

I take the liberty to solicit the appointment of Commissioner of Bankrupts for the District of Pennsylvania, in the place of John W Vancleve Esquire deceased or of Mr Joseph Clay, who will resign his Commission in the course of a few Days, I enclose a certificate from some Gentlemen of known respectability, which I trust will be sufficient to establish my Character and Principles. I have a letter of Introduction from General Muhlenberg of Philadelphia, with which I shall have the honour of presenting myself to you on Monday next,

I am with Respect Your most obedient very humble Servant.

Zalegman Phillips

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); at head of text: “To his Excellency Thomas Jefferson President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 1 Oct. and “to be Commr. bkrptcy Pensva v. Clay or Vancleve” and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Certificate, dated at Philadelphia, 5 Sep. 1803, recommending Zalegman Phillips, attorney, to the president as a suitable person to fill the position of bankruptcy commissioner for the District of Pennsylvania; signed by Moses Levy, Israel Israel, John Purdon, Mathew Carey, James Gamble, Lewis Rush, George Bartram, William Duane, David Jackson, James Ker, Thomas Procter, William P. Gardner, and six others, all “very well acquainted, with the Character & Principles” of the candidate (MS in same; in Phillips’s hand, signed by all).

A Philadelphia native, Zalegman Phillips (1779-1839) entered the University of Pennsylvania in 1795 and four years later was admitted to the Philadelphia bar. He established a thriving practice in criminal law. In 1805, he married Arabella Solomon of a prominent Jewish family in Baltimore. A Jeffersonian Republican noted for his support of democratic causes, Phillips became an ardent advocate of Andrew Jackson as early as 1822. He wrote an address “To the Electors of the Second Congressional District,” published in Philadelphia in 1828, when he ran unsuccessfully for Congress as a Jacksonian Democrat. A leader in the Jewish community, he served as president of the Mickvéh Israel Congregation from 1822 to 1834 and of the United Hebrew Beneficent Society of Philadelphia, founded in 1822 (Henry Samuel Morais, The Jews of Philadelphia: Their History from the Earliest Settlements to the Present Time [Philadelphia, 1894], 45, 49, 143, 431; Edwin Wolf II and Maxwell Whiteman, The History of the Jews of Philadelphia from Colonial Times to the Age of Jackson [Philadelphia, 1957], 219, 296-8, 350-1, 471; Harold D. Moser and others, eds., The Papers of Andrew Jackson, 9 vols. [Knoxville, 1980- ], 7:53-5; Jewish Quarterly Review, new ser., 45 [1955], 620; Daily National Intelligencer, 14 Nov. 1823, 24 Aug. 1839; Philadelphia Inquirer, 7 Oct. 1829).

letter of introduction: see J. P. G. Muhlenberg to TJ, 22 Sep., which Phillips presented to the president on Monday, 3 Oct.

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