George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Stephen Bloomer Balch, 22 November 1785

To Stephen Bloomer Balch

Mount Vernon 22d Novr 1785.

revd Sir,

The expence attending the residence of my Nephews at Georgetown so far exceeds the idea I was led to entertain when they went there, that, in behalf of their Guardian, I am compelled to remove them.

When they were sent to the Academy under your management, I was informed by Colo. Fitzhugh, that the charge for schooling & Board (if I am not mistaken) was £31 each—Cloathing if judiciously applied & properly attended to, I knew could not be a very great expence, for boys of their standing. But to my surprize, I have already paid Mr Stoddert £67.18.6—Mr Bayly £55.5.2—& yesterday in a letter from the latter, I am informed that there is half a years board due to him for each—& an accot of cloathing besides, yet to be exhibited.

The leading motive Sir, which influenced me to send them to Georgetown was, their boarding with you; & I expected from what had passed between us, after the intervention which had occasioned the suspension of it, they would have returned to you: but now Mr Bayly writes me that he also declines boarding them after the 24th inst: & points out a third person.

These several circumstances combining, added to a conviction founded in experience, that I cannot restrain the profuse & improper advances of Goods for them at a distance, have induced me to bring them to Alexandria, where I shall be a witness to their wants, and can supply their necessities upon more advantageous terms, than they have been hitherto.1 I am revd Sir &c.

G: Washington


1GW wrote in his diary for 23 Nov.: “Sent Mr. [William] Shaw through Alexandria, to agree for the Schooling & Board of my Nephews George & Lawrence Washington now at the Academy at George Town & thence to the latter place to conduct them to the former for the purpose of going to School at the Alexandria Academy.” Two days later he wrote: “Mr. Shaw returned, having removed George & Lawe. Washington to the Alexandria Academy & fixed them at the Widow Dades [probably Parthenia Alexander Massey Dade]” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 4:236, 241). See GW to William Bailey, this date.

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