To John Marshall
Mount Vernon June 16th 1799
By the last mail I was favoured with your letter of the 12 instant, and feel much obliged by the attention of Colo. Carrington and yourself to the subject mentioned in my last letters to you.
I am very glad that you did not forward my letter to Colo. Cropper.1 At the time of writing that letter I was aware of the circumstances which you mention, with respect to the relative rank of Officers in the actual and eventual Army, and was apprehensive that it might have an effect in the minds of some persons, who otherwise would have no objection to the appointments proposed. Yet I conceived, that, if any event should make it necessary to raise the Troops provisionally authorized, every friend to our Country and its Government would hold himself in readiness to step forward with his personal services, and that those who did not mean to continue in the service beyond the pressure of the exigency which might call them forth, would not hesitate to hold any station where their talents and influence could be made useful to their Country.
Upon further consideration, I have, however, thought it best to write to Colo. Cropper in a way that will lead him to make a tender of his services, if he should be inclined so to do. And, at the same time, draw from him information respecting Characters for other grades. This letter shall be forwarded for your inspecti[o]n & transmission—In the mean time I will thank [you] to return that which is in your hands.2
Altho’ all the persons you have mentioned cannot be appointed to the Command of Regiments within the number alotted to Virginia; yet a choice of Characters is desireable on every account, and if any others occur I will thank you to forward their names, marking their relative qualifications as they stand in the estimation of yourself and the other Gentlemen applied to on this subject.
In the Death of Mr Henry (of which I fear there is little doubt) not only Virginia, but our Country at large has sustained a very serious loss. I sincerely lament his death as a friend; and the loss of his eminent talents as a Patriot I consider as peculiarly unfortunate at this critical juncture of our affairs. With very great esteem & sincere regard I am Dear Sir Yr most Obedt Servt
P.S. Colo. Cropper would have been brought forward among the late appointments; but as he had never made any application, and it not being known whether he would be willing to serve or not, his name was omitted.
Df, in Tobias Lear’s hand, DLC:GW.
2. GW wrote Marshall the next day, 17 June: “Dear Sir, Enclosed is the letter for Colo. Cropper which I informed you I should take the liberty of forwarding to your care—It is left unsealed for the inspection of yourself, Colo. Carrington and Colo. Heath [Heth], or either of them, if they should be in Richmond. If there appears no objection to its being transmitted to Colo. Cropper, I will thank you to close and forward it without delay. With very sincere regard, I am Dear Sir, Your most Obedt Servt Go: Washington” (LS, CSmH; Df DLC:GW). Marshall replied from Richmond on 21 June: “An accidental absence from town prevented my returning by the last mail the inclosd letter. I am extremely happy that the liberty we have taken to suspend its transmission to Colo. Cropper has not displeased you. Your second letter [of 17 June] to that gentleman is just receiv’d & will be immediately put in the post office with a proper direction” (DLC:GW). On 1 July GW wrote: “Dear Sir, Whilst I acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 21st ultimo, returning the first letter which I wrote to Colo. Cropper, I pray you will accept my thanks for your attention in forwarding the second, and beleive me to be, With very sincere regard, Dear Sir, Your most obedt Servt” (Df, DLC:GW).