George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Burgess Ball, 3 February 1794

To Burgess Ball

Philadelphia Feby 3d 1794

Dear Sir,

In due course of the Post I have received your letters of the 17th of December & 21st of the last month; and congratulate you on the birth of a Son—and the passage of your family through the Small Pox.1

As you had acknowledged the receipt of the needful for purchasing the Buck Wht, and had assured me that no disappointment should follow, I have not given you the trouble of a letter until now, since I wrote from German Town; and now principally to beg that the Buck Wheat may be got down in time for early sowing; the present frost being favorable for transportation.2

I have procured for you, and it shall be sent with my own by the first vessel to Alexandria, three bushels of Clover Seed which appears to be clean, & warranted fresh. It will cost delivered at Alexandria about eight dollars a bushel. It shall be directed to the care of Colo. Gilpin to whom my own things will be consigned; as the Captn is not at liberty to land any part of his Cargo before he arrives at the Port to which he is bound. No opportunity has offered since the first frost (in december) set in, or both yours & mine would have gone e’er this. To say now when they will go is more than I am able, as the Delaware is close[d], & navigation at an end until there comes a thaw.3

With this letter is enclosed a box containing bracelets &ca for Mrs Ball, wch I hope will get safe to hand, as I have directed them to the particular care of the Post master in Alexandria—Mrs Washington and the family, join me in every good wish for you, Mrs Ball & Miss Milly, if with you,4 and with Affectionate regard I am Dr Sir Your Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

P.S. As soon as you have ascertained the amount of cost & charges of the Buck Wheat delivered at M. Vernn let me know it, & I will remit what may be due on the Acct5—The freight of the Clover Seed from hence to Alexandria, as well as the first cost of it will be paid here.


ALS (photocopy), DLC:GW , series 9; ALS (letterpress copy), NN: Washington Papers; LB, DLC:GW.

1Ball announced the birth of his son Charles Burgess Ball in his letter to GW of 17 Dec. 1793. He wrote about the successful inoculation of his family and slaves against smallpox in his letter to GW of 21 Jan. 1794.

2In his letter to Ball of 24 Nov. 1793, GW enclosed a bank note for $200 to be used for the purchase of buckwheat seed. Contrary to GW’s hopes, Ball sent the buckwheat seed in several shipments that extended from late January until early April (William Pearce to GW, 4 Feb.; Ball to GW, 13 Feb. and 5 April; and GW to Ball, 23 March).

3On the shipment of the clover seed to the care of George Gilpin, and the cost of the three bushels intended for Ball, see GW’s letter to Ball of 16 March.

4Ball acknowledged receipt of the bracelets and other items intended for Frances Washington Ball, GW’s niece, in his letter to GW of 13 February. Mildred Gregory Washington was the younger sister of Mrs. Ball and had been residing with the Ball family since the previous fall (Ball to GW, 16 Nov. 1793).

5According to Ball’s letter to GW of 27 May, the price of the buckwheat was 2/6 per bushel and the cost of transporting it was 1/ per bushel, for a total cost of £79.10.9 for the 454½ bushels delivered to Mount Vernon (DLC:GW).

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