From Burgess Ball
Leesburg [Va.]—17th Decr—93.
I recd yours of the 24th Ult: with a Bank note of 200 dollars, and ought e’er this to have acknowledged the rect thereof, but have thus long delay’d writing, that I might be able to give you some satisfactory Accot respecting Buck wheat. I am now satisfyed that I shall be able to procure the quantity you want, as I have got about 300 Bushells, and the Ball: I may be sure of obtaining. I cou’d not have conciev’d this Grain wou’d have been so difficult to procure, but, the scarcity of Corn, and the quantity which had been consumed (of Buck wheat) in fattening Hoggs, has been the Cause of much difficulty. ’Tho I had circulated Advertizements, and sent my overseer about, little or no Success cou’d I obtain ’till I went about myself. I can’t get it for less than 2/6 Bush:, and, the Expence of Waggonage will be (at least) one shilling more—The Buck wheat is this Year very heavy, weighing from 50 to 54 lbs. which is nearly equal to the other wheat in general—For some time past and (I expect) to come, it has been, and will be impracticable to have the B: wheat haul’d down, but, as soon as the Roads will permit, it shall, as fast as possible, be carryed to Mt Vernon. You may rely on my best Exertions for your Interest, and that nothg but extraordinary Accident shall cause a disappointment. The Situation of Fanny for some time past, (expectg to be laid up) and the Small Pox being all around us, has kept me close at Home; but, she being a few days ago happily deliver’d of a fine Boy,1 I shall now be able to go about more, & to attend particularly to getting the Buck wheat, in which I take great pleasure, as I shou’d be sorry your System of Husbandry shoud be deranged thro unsuccessfull attempts of mine, and (more especially) as I had led you to think this Grain cou’d so easily have been obtain’d here.2
When you’ve an Opporty you’ll oblige me exceedingly by forwarding the Clover Seed (of wch I gave Mr Dandridge a Memdm) to Mt Vernon, or Alexandria, as I wish to sow it on the last Snows in February or March.3 The friends to Governmt here, are much pleas’d to find the Proclamation approved of by Congress—Those of the other Stamp (of which in this County I fear there are many) are on the other hand much disappointed.4 That Philada shou’d be sufficiently cleansed, of the dreadful malady under which it had labour’d, for the reception of Congress, was a filicity little expected indeed, and an Event which probably may prevent an accumulation of Parties. We hear very frequently from Colo. Washingtons—They are well, and as usual.5 The Ladies join in wishing you & Mrs Washington every filicity, and I am Dear sir with the highest Esteem Yr Affect. Hbe servt
1. Charles Burgess Ball (1793–1823) was born on 14 December.
4. Ball was referring to GW’s Neutrality Proclamation of 22 April. For the congressional approval, see the United States House of Representatives to GW, 7 Dec., and the United States Senate to GW, 9 December.
5. Charles Washington and his wife, Mildred Thornton Washington, were Ball’s father- and mother-in-law.