George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Ballendine, 18 November 1760

From John Ballendine

18th Novr 1760


Inclos’d I send you a Letter that I sent to yr house Last winter,1 but you being out some way, the Bearer brot it back & understanding you intended to prosecute me for a fraud I had the inclos’d deposition taken as I really did believe there was 2 Tons of Iron when I told you of the number of Barrs that was counted to the waggoners believing the Iron was Justly weighed that came down Last, as you’l understand by Grimmitts deposition & depending so much on him & the weights I knew to be Just, was the true reason of my being so sure there was no mistake2—I wou’d have waited until the Iron was weigh’d with yr Stillards but you know what bitter weather it was & the Time it wou’d take me to weigh such a Quantity of Iron & 40 Miles to ride that Evening to discharge the Undertaker of The work then with me—As Jos. Stevs. [Stephens] repaid the £7.0.0 recd of his Bro[the]r that you Settled with me for3 I knew the difference in our Accots cou’d not be great altho’ there was so Large a deficiency in the Iron, otherways I wou’d have sent you the Iron Long agoe, according to your own Accot but in the whole I hope you will forgive & Excuse the mistake if you desire the Iron to be sent you wanting by your Accot it shall be done, otherways it can be discounted to yr Satisfaction & whatever I have done amiss I begg your pardon & altho’ I clear my consience of an inte[n]ded fraud yet my Caricter cou’d not been hurt much more had I robb’d yr house of so much money for whenever my name is mention’d it’s not without the injury done you & in the worst Light represented,4 but I hope that time will better clear up these Suspicions & perhaps my future conduct may entitle me to a greater Share of yr good opinion wch I shall hearafter strive to embrace at every oppty offerd to Sir Yr obedt hble Servt

John Ballendine

Dr. To cash repaid R. Stevs. £ 7.0.0 
To Smiths Accot 6.3.0 3/4
£13.3.0 3/4
By Iron wantg

ALS, DLC:GW. The letter is docketed by GW “Jno. Ballendines Letter & Paper’s—respectg the Iron he delivd short in 1760,” and also in GW’s hand are figures calculating the amount of the shortage of iron delivered to him.

1Ballendine’s earlier letter is included as an enclosure.

2In a deposition dated 23 Jan. 1760 (DLC:GW), Robert Grimmitt, Ballendine’s overseer, claimed that he “was ordered by Mr John Ballendine at the occoquan forge, to send Down to the landing a ton of Bar Iron for Coln. washington to be put on board a flatt Belonging to Messrs Carlyle & Dalton with a ton before Delivered to the sd flatt & weighed and Rect Given by the Skipper of the sd flatt Derby pendergrass which said two tons of Iron I understood was for Coln. washington But the River being froze up, the sd Iron was Delvered to two waggons to Go up by Land, & Do further Certifie that the Last ton of Iron was Delvered to the Carter out of the Iron house by me and was not weighed But Immagind it was weighed by the forge man, as it lay up in the Corner of the house; & so sent it to the Landing for the flatt to take in; which was landed at The new furn[a]ce warf, where the flatt Lay, & was From their taken in By the Dutch wagonners.”

4For earlier correspondence on the shortage in Ballendine’s iron bars, see George Johnston to GW and John Carlyle to GW, both dated 8 Jan. 1760.

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