George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 30 June 1768]

30. Went to Mr. Bouchers. Dined there and left Jackey Custis. Returnd to Fredericksburg in the Afternn.

Jonathan Boucher (1737/8–1804), son of a poor English schoolmaster, came to Port Royal in 1759 to earn his living by tutoring gentlemen’s sons. He soon began incurring heavy debts, a habit that would plague him for most of his life, but his fortune took a turn for the better in 1761 when he was offered the rectorship of neighboring Hanover Parish in King George County. During the following year he took holy orders in England and, returning to Virginia, was confirmed as Hanover’s rector. He later moved to his present position as rector of St. Mary’s Parish in Caroline County, where he had a busy bachelor existence, preaching, working his plantation, and running the school for boys that Jacky had come to attend. Boucher was a genial and often witty man, but he also had traits that frequently led him into difficulty, as he readily admitted in his Reminiscences: “There was nothing quite ordinary or indifferent about me; my faults and my good qualities were all striking. All my friends (and no man ever had more friends) really loved me; and all my enemies as cordially hated me. Women, in particular, were apt to be pleased with me, because I had a natural gallantry and attachment to the sex which made them secure of my good-will and friendship. . . . In most respects, when thwarted and opposed, I was obstinate and mulish; yet there was nothing which I might not be coaxed into. A woman might do anything with me. . . . As to my conduct in life, it was of a piece with the rest of me: no man took more pains, or laboured harder, to earn money, but I took no adequate care of it when I had earned it. I always intended well, but often acted ill” (boucher [1] description begins Jonathan Bouchier, ed. Reminiscences of an American Loyalist, 1738–1789: Being the Autobiography of The Revd Jonathan Boucher, Rector of Annapolis in Maryland and afterwards Vicar of Epsom, Surrey, England. Boston, 1925. description ends , 80–81; see also clark [3], 19–32).

Index Entries