George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Parke Custis, 18 August 1771

From John Parke Custis

Annapolis August 18 1771

My Dear Sir

I am exceedingly thankful for your Remarks on my Letter, which I am sorry to say, are but too just1 It is however really true, that I was in a hurry, when I wrote; and though undoubtedly I might have found more time, I am obliged to own, that I am one of those who put off every thing to the last. And how it should or does happen, I know not, but so it is, that tho. I can certainly write as good English, & spell, as well as most people yet when hurried I very seldom do either. I might perhaps account for it in a manner less reproachful to Me, but, as you have attributed it to Carelessness alone, & as Appearances are so much against me, I suppose it is so. All therefore that I can now do is to p[r]omise to be more attentive & watchful for the future: your gentle yet very striking observations shall have their due weight with me; they shall by no means deter me from writing to you every opportunity & I desire you would whenever you find a mistake point it out to me to the end, that by discovering my errors, I may endeavour with more success to amend, and at length be capable of holding a Correspondence with you, more agreeable than at present, on account of my incapability. I am glad that Wells dealt with you, which may perhaps be a means of introducing your stock to a better market, & I think I may venture to say, you might were you to come over, find persons, who would give you 20/ I am sure they may afford it when they can sell it again at 6d. pr pound.2 Mr Boucher presents his Compliments to you & Uncle Bassett & kindly offers to your acceptance a Room in his House, it being almost impossible to get a Room at any of the ordinaries, the Rooms being preengaged to their customers, which puts strangers to a very great inconveniance in attending the Races. Mr Boucher begs you would let him know as soon as you are certain whether you are a comeing or not, as he expects many acquaintances here at the Races whom he would be glad to serve should you not come.3 I am dear Sir your most effectionate & dutiful Son

John Parke Custis


1Letter not found. See Jonathan Boucher to GW, 19 Nov. 1771, for the reaction of Custis’s schoolmaster to GW’s letter.

2Wells may be Daniel Wells III, a large landowner who lived in Annapolis. GW may have been looking for a wider and more lucrative market for his sheep, a number of which he had been selling recently for fifteen to sixteen shillings. See Cash Accounts, JuneAugust 1771. On 23 May 1772 GW wrote Jonathan Boucher that he was unable to furnish Boucher and another Maryland man with any wethers because of recent heavy losses from a distemper.

3GW went to the races at Annapolis in September and stayed with Jonathan Boucher. See Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 3:54–57; see also Cash Accounts, September 1771, n.11. GW’s diaries do not indicate that Burwell Bassett came up to Mount Vernon in August, and GW did not visit Eltham.

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