George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Jonathan Boucher, 11 April 1771

From Jonathan Boucher

Annapolis 11th of Apl 1771.

Dear Sir

I do very cordially sympathize with M⟨rs⟩ Washington in the uneasiness I can easily suppose She must necessarily be ⟨un⟩der during this State of Suspence. Her Son was, last Monday Ev’ning, inno⟨cu⟩lated in Baltimore: and tho’ there really be in his Favour Every Thing ⟨th⟩at could be wish’d for, yet, I know She will be anxious & impatient till it be over. All I can do to ensure Success She may depend on: & I can with Truth ⟨d⟩eclare, that, at present, there is but a bare Possibility of his having it unfavourable. In Truth, They make so very light of it in Baltimore, that one is almost asha⟨med⟩ even to mention a Suspicion of a Possibility of Failure. We went up on ⟨th⟩e Monday; & for Fear of his possibly catching it in the natural Way, I had Him innoc⟨u⟩lated immediately; more especially as He was very eager for it, & in high Spirits. T⟨he⟩ Pill He took that Night made Him a little sick; & Joe complain’d that His ⟨purg⟩ed Him very unmercifully. I left Him yesterday at the Doctor’s, where every Th⟨ing se⟩em’d agreeable to Him; I purpose being with Him again on the Monday, as his ⟨Fever⟩ will likely be a coming on, on the Tuesday or Wednesday & Eruption on Thursday: all w⟨hich⟩ Time I will be there. The Doctor promis’d to write to You as You requested. An⟨d sho⟩uld any Occasion arise, You may depend on hearing from Me, ev’n by Ex⟨press⟩: So that, if You do not hear from Me, to the Contrary, Mrs Washington may r⟨est a⟩ssur’d All is well—as I give You my Word & Honour, that, if there be but ev⟨er so⟩ distant an Appearance of any Thing unfavourable, I will not fail to comm⟨unica⟩te it to You immediately.1 There is a young Gentleman there (& but One, tho’ mo⟨re are⟩ daily expected) from Northampton County, of the Name of Savage; a modest, well-⟨beha⟩v’d Man, & I believe the Clerk of a County there. He promised to be a Companion ⟨to J⟩ack, & ⟨I dare⟩ say will be an acceptable one.2

If any Thing shou’d be the Matter with ⟨His mutilated⟩, They are to send Express to Me; & if They do, I shall have an Oppty of letting ⟨You⟩ know of it by the Post—if I do not, conclude All is well. Shou’d I not write, ⟨mutilated⟩ Week from Baltimore, which yet I intend to do, be not uneasy. This will be bro⟨ug⟩ht to You by Mr Templeman, & being written in a Hurry in a crowded Store, mu⟨st⟩ I fear be confused.3 All I am & wish is to make You & Mrs Washington easy; & I hope You will be so, in Confidence that if there really were any Appearance of Danger, I wou’d not, from a mistaken Tenderness, Conceal it from You.

I beg my afft. Compts (as Jack also d⟨i⟩d) to his Mamma, Sister, yrself & Mr Washington, & am, very truly Yr most obedt Hble ⟨Ser⟩vt

Jonan Boucher

ALS, DLC:GW. The mutilated words in angle brackets are taken from Hamilton, Letters to Washington description begins Stanislaus Murray Hamilton, ed. Letters to Washington and Accompanying Papers. 5 vols. Boston and New York, 1898–1902. description ends , 4:50–52.

1For reference to Boucher’s other letters regarding John Parke Custis’s inoculation, see GW to Boucher, 4 April, n.1. The following advertisement appeared in the Maryland Gazette (Annapolis), 14 Mar. 1771: “Doctor Henry Stevenson Informs the Publick, That he continues Inoculation the Year round after the most approved American Manner; his Patients are not at all confined to the House nor disagreeably restrained in their Diet. Those who incline to put themselves under his Care, are requested not to alter their Way of living before they come to be innoculated, as a long Course of successful Practice has shewn it hurtful instead of beneficial. Negroes are insured at Five per Cent on their Value.

N. B. Two and Twenty Persons have happily and easily passed through the Small-Pox lately, notwithstanding the very inclement Weather, by Inoculation in the above proposed Method, under the Direction of Mr. Moses Hasslett, Assistant to Dr. Stevenson, and this Province can afford several Thousand Witnesses, of the Easiness, Propriety and Safety of the Method.”

2Littleton Savage (c.1740–1805) of Northampton County served as clerk of neighboring Accomack County on Virginia’s Eastern Shore until his death in 1805.

3Mr. Templeman has not been identified.

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