Richmond Octo. 10. 1796
Previous to your Offer of the Office of Surveyor General to Genl Wood, some communications had taken place between you & General Marshal as to a proper person to fill that appointment which, as has been usual between him & myself, were made known to me—it was agreed in our examinations of characters within our knowledge, that Colo. Wm Heth would do great justice to the Office, and Genl Marshall mentioned it to him, but he, at that time, was not inclined to accept it. a few days ago he came to Town, on hearing of the refusal of Genl Wood, in order to confer with Genl Marshall on the subject of a proposition on his part, being now disposed to accept, if he can have a little time to prepare for leaving his present situation. Genl Marshall being absent, he has mentioned it me, with a request, that If I could take the liberty of inquiring whether the office is still vacant, I would do so; in the mean time he is further reflecting on the propriety of soliciting the appointment. As you have, on several occasions, done me the honor of asking for information in cases of this kind, I feel no difficulty in, at once, communicating to you the inclination Colo. Heth now has. If the office is still vacant, I believe his acceptance may be counted on should you think proper to have him spoken with in regard to it. I believe Genl Marshall has given you his opinion as to his fitness for the Office; and I, with more confidence than usual, would undertake to vouch for his fulfilling every duty requirable, being as well qualified, scientifically, as any person you will, probably, have an opportunity of obtaining; and having an unusual ambition for excelling in whatever character he assumes, which will spur him in applying his talents to such further acquisitions of professional skill as may be necessary. It can with truth be added, that he may indubitably be relied on, for conforming, most rigidly, to any restrictions annexed to his Office. I have the Honor to be Dear Sir, with the greatest respect, Yr Most Ob. st
DLC: Papers of George Washington.