George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Jonathan Boucher, 20 July 1769

From Jonathan Boucher

Caroline [County, Va.] 20th July 1769.


In Consequence of your Lr, Mastr Custis now waits on You; & as this is a pretty busy Time with Us in School, I shall be glad He may set off back again at the same Time You do for the Springs.1

Enclosed You have his Acct for the last Year, which as You were so obliging as to offer Me when I was at Mount Vernon, I will beg the Favr of You now to send by Jack.2 I hope it will not appear too high to You; it being just what I charged the only Boy (Mr Turner)3 I ever had living wth Me in the same Manner He does. For my own Part, I must own to You, I charge his Horses merely by Guess, havg never very nearly attended to the Expence of maintaing a Horse: Those I have mentioned the Matter to here, think it too low: You, probably, may have had Occasion to consider the Matter, & therefore I beg Leave to refer it entirely to Yrself. I have yet to mention to You on this Subjt, that, perswaded by my own Experience, I have lately come to a Resolu[tio]n of takg no more Boys for less than £25 pr Ann: There are now four upon these Terms, & more expected soon. Unless therefore You object to it in Time, You must expect next Year to find your Son charged so too.

I have a Pleasure in informing You that I please myself wth thinkg We now do much better than formerly: You will remr my havg complain’d of Jack’s Laziness, which, however, I now hope is not incurable. For I find He will bear driving, which heretofore I us’d to fear He would not. He has met wth more Rigrs since I saw You, than in all the Time before, & He is the better for it. This I mean only as to his Books; in other Matters He is faultless. His new Boy too is infinitely fitter for Him than Julius; & if He be not spoil’d here, which, in Truth, there is some Danger of, You & He & I too will all have Cause to be pleas’d at his having made the Exchange.4

Miss Boucher was very intent on going to the Springs, but being now convinced that She cannot, consistent wth Associa[tio]n Principles, She is contented to drop it.5 She begs her respectful Compts to Mrs Washington & Miss Custis may be join’d to Mine, heartily wishing Them ⟨illegible⟩ well an agreeable Jaunt, as that They may reap all the Benefit They expect from the Waters. I am, Sir, very respectfully, Yr most obedt & most Hble Servt

Jonan Boucher

I had forgot that the Dancing School is to be at this House next Friday. He has already miss’d two, & shd not therefore, I think neglect attending this.6 J.B.


1See GW to Boucher, 13 July. John Parke Custis seems to have left Mount Vernon on 27 July to return to school. This was four days before GW and the others departed for the springs. See Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 2:168, Boucher’s receipt, 28 July, ViHi: Custis Papers, and Cash Accounts, July 1769.

3Mr. Turner was probably Thomas Turner (1751–1787), an orphaned grandson of Col. Thomas Turner (d. 1758) of Walsingham in King George County. Jonathan Boucher was brought to Virginia in 1759 as tutor to Harry and Turner, the two young sons of Capt. Edward Dixon, Col. Turner’s son-in-law and executor of his estate. Colonel Turner, in his will, provided that his grandchildren be given, at the expense of his estate, the “best education to be gotten in Virginia” (Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 20 [1912], 439–40; 21 [1913], 107–8; Zimmer, Boucher description begins Anne Y. Zimmer. Jonathan Boucher: Loyalist in Exile. Detroit, 1978. description ends , 37–38).

4Custis’s new “boy” was named Joe.

5Although in 1775 Boucher emerged as a confirmed Loyalist, in 1769 he strongly supported American opposition to British policy and the nonimportation association the colonies had formed to limit imports from Britain. Five days after writing this letter, he wrote the Rev. John James in England: “. . . I do think the American Opposi’n the most warrantable, generous, & manly, that History can produce. . . . The People here really astonish Me. I am personally acquainted w’th by far a Majority of our House of Assembly, who, singly considered, seem almost to deserve the Contempt with w’c our Lords and Masters the Parliam’t treat them but, collectively, w’t Hon’r have They gain’d? I refer you to y’r public Papers for th’r Resolves, associa’n Peti’ns to the King & w’c are universally admir’d” (Maryland Historical Magazine, 8 [1913], 43–45). For material relating to Virginia’s association, see GW to Mason, 5 April, and Mason to GW, 5 and 28 April, and notes to those documents.

6See GW to Boucher, 13 July. The “P.S.” is written on the letter cover.

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