George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 4 May 1772]

4. Rid to the Mill and Ferry Plantations, and to the Fishery at the Ferry. J. P. Custis returnd to Mr. Bouchers, and Mr. Ballendine came in the afternoon.

John Ballendine, now out of Fairfax County’s debtor’s prison (see main entry for 16 April 1770), had been encouraged by Virginia’s recent Potomac navigation act and was rounding up support for a trip to England to study canal building there. He came to Mount Vernon today to ask for GW’s support and for letters of introduction to leading men in Maryland, including Governor Eden, who might be persuaded to back him. GW obliged, but he warned his Maryland friends that although “Mr. Ballendine has a natural genius to things of this sort . . . I cannot help adding, that his Principles have been loose; whether from a natural depravity, or distress’d circumstances, I shall not undertake to determine” (GW to Jonathan Boucher, 5 May 1772, CSmH).

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