George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Timothy Pickering, 19 July 1796


Department of State July 19. 1796.


This morning I received the inclosed letter from Mr Dayton, expressing fully his opinion of Mr Israel Ludlow, whose application for the office of Surveyor General I had the honor lately to transmit to you. While it must be acknowledged that Mr Dayton is perfectly competent to pronounce accurately on the character of a man so well known to him as Mr Ludlow must be, it is proper for me to mention, that I have understood that he & Mr Ludlow have been closely connected in land affairs in the northwestern territory, where I believe Mr Dayton has speculated largely. In this very service Mr Dayton may have experienced Mr Ludlow’s skill & fidelity to their common interest. This common interest may be further extensively promoted by the appointment of Mr Ludlow to the office of Surveyor General. This suggestion I respectfully submit to your consideration. At the same it may be doubted whether any very competent person for surveyor general can be found, who will not improve the opportunity presented by his station, of making or advancing his fortune in lands over the Ohio. If Congress intended to exclude the Surveyor General from any land [   ], his pay should have been so increased as to induce a proper character to submit to the restriction. The defect of compensation was a principal reason of Mr DeWitt’s declining the office. I also recd to-day the inclosed letter from Robert Morris Esqr. the Judge of the District Court of New-Jersey, on the same subject. With the highest respect, I am, sir, Your obt servant

T. Pickering

DNA: RG 59—ML—Miscellaneous Letters.


Elizabeth Town July 18th 1796


A letter received this morning from Mr Israel Ludlow informs me that his name is placed upon the list of Candidates for the appointment of Surveyor General. He requests me to inform you what I know of him and his family, & I undertake it with pleasure, because my acquaintance with them has been long, and is such, as to enable me to speak of them very satisfactorily.

His father, a Colonel of the Militia, was very active in the course of our War with Great Britain, a good Whig, a decided federalist, and is highly respected.

As to the gentleman in question, he is much esteemed by all whom I have heard to mention him—He is truly exemplary in his general deportment & moral character; temperate, diligent, enterprizing & faithful, he joins to a thorough knowledge of the duties of a practical Surveyor, that of portraying or drafting neatly and correctly.

This recommendation is not, I assure you sir (as too many are) a thing of course a mere act of friendship without any idea of responsibility, but such is my knowledge of, & confidence in, Mr Ludlow, that I should not hesitate to become responsible for his discharging the duties of this office, with ability, fidelity & general satisfaction. With sincere respect & regard I am sir Your very hum. servt

Jona: Dayton


New Brunswick July 18th 1796


Mr Israel Ludlow of the North Western Territory is a son of Col: Ludlow of Long hill in the county of Morris, a very respectable citizen of this State.

Mr Ludlow early in life went into the North Western Territory in the capacity of a surveyor, & Settler, where he has principally resided. Little of his conduct therefore has fallen within my personal observation: But every account I have heard of him bespeaks him a young Gentn of good character & understanding and of great activity & enterprise, and I am happy in adding that as far as I have known him he has verified this description.

I am intirely unacquainted with, and uninformed of his professional ability. With great respect I am Sir, Your very humble Servt

Robt Morris

Index Entries