To Jonathan Boucher
Mount Vernon Feby 20[–25] 1771.
When Joe, with your favou⟨r found his way⟩ to this place, I was from home, & did not re⟨turn for some days1 the⟩ High Winds and Ice, have been the cause of hi⟨s very natural⟩ disappointment of getting to Marlborou⟨gh2 as it was quite im⟩possible for him to cross the River in these ⟨storms of wind and⟩ now, it is attended with some risk. Mrs Washin⟨gton has⟩ packd up what Books the Portmanteau woud contain, ⟨be⟩fore the date of this, & of such kinds as I hope you wanted. She has given out the thoughts of accompanying me to Frederick, so that you will find her at home if I shoud not have the pleasure of seeing you here (should you be detaind by the bad weather longer than was expected). The Inclosd I shoud be obligd to you to forward by a Safe, rather than the first, conveyance that may offer.3 with very great esteem I remain Revd Sir Yr Most Obedt Hble Servt
25th Agreeable to the above date, Joe attempted to cross the River; but b⟨eing⟩ unable to effect it, has been unavoidably detaind till this time and now the River is so much choked with Ice as to render his passage precarious. Mrs Washington begs the favour of you to get her, for Patcy, another Phial of æther and bri⟨ng wi⟩th you when you come to Mount Vernon.4
ALS, DLC:GW. A section of the upper right corner of the letter has been mutilated and torn off and in its place a piece of paper has been inserted with words in a later hand. The inserted words are in angle brackets: they agree with a version of the letter printed in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine (May 1889), 729. There also are two mutilated areas in the postcript: these have been inserted in the same manner as the missing area at the top of the page.
1. GW was in Colchester 11–17 Feb. for the arbitration of the dispute between the executors of the will of Allan Macrae of Dumfries, who died in 1766, and John Graham (1711–1787), clerk of the Prince William County court. See Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 2:331–32. Boucher’s “favour” apparently asking that some of John Parke Custis’s books be sent has not been found.
2. Upper Marlboro was on the Patuxent River in Prince George’s County about halfway between Annapolis and Mount Vernon.
3. What was enclosed is not known.
4. It is not known when John Parke Custis’s servant Joe was able to cross the river with the books that Boucher wished Custis to have, or whether Boucher visited Mount Vernon during GW’s absence for his meeting with the Virginia officers in Winchester, 2–13 Mar., but Boucher and John Parke Custis did arrive at Mount Vernon for a visit on 19 March.